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The region

Client guide

The geographical region Yorkshire Forward must service presents one of the most wide ranging challenges of any of the new RDAs. Within England's largest and mainly rural county lie extremes of wealth and deprivation.

The affluent triangle in the north of Harrogate, Ripon and Wetherby contrasts with South Yorkshire's maze of scarred and derelict coalfields. Once proud pit names like Bentley and Grimethorpe now attract only the European Union's top Objective One funding status for deprived areas by having a gross domestic product below 74% of the EU average.

Conurbations range from Leeds - Europe's fastest growing city bar Berlin - to Bradford, Barnsley and Sheffield. Dubbed the 'sleeping giant', Sheffield epitomises the region's collapse of heavy industry, leaving behind a redundant skilled workforce and infrastructure potential needing enthusiasm and cash.

Even Leeds itself - second only to London as a financial centre - has a similar two-speed economy. Just a few kilometres from city centre prosperity lie impoverished suburbs through which largely imported businessmen in suits drive to their offices.

Yorkshire Forward's response is to cater for both levels by being a dynamic company, with a board member for e-commerce and plans for a virtual reality business school, yet also a body able to swap profit for social care as its bottom line business driver.

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