Hebden Bridge our ‘second city’? It makes for a great debate

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Should Hebden Bridge be the UK’s second city? This week the BBC’s Evan Davies wrote a piece suggesting just this - something which has caught many people’s attention locally.

Although such a proposal - as would be clear to those who read the piece - wasn’t to be taken literally, but instead called for more inter-connectivity between Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, it does raise some interesting points.

Regional growth is something all parties are in favour but sadly none do as much as they should to make it happen.

Too much of our transport investment is based on the idea of getting to or from London quickly, not enough is based on making it easy to travel between towns and cities in the North. This is one of the reason I’m particularly disappointed the Todmorden Curve has been delayed until November as there will be tracks but no train to run on it by that point, and that we will have to wait until 2018 for the electrification of the Calder Vale line making commutes to Blackburn and Burnley more difficult.

I want to see business given the opportunity to grow throughout the country and national growth, not just growth for the square mile in London. From fast broadband to better road and rail links this means seeing the potential of Calder Valley as part of a broader region. A Bridge between Yorkshire and Lancashire, Manchester and Leeds with business specialisms of our own.

Despite the Conservative and Liberal Democrats claiming there is a recovery, the average family in Yorkshire is £1,800 a year worse off compared with 2010 - people here are entitled to ask when the so-called recovery will benefit them.

To be serious about governing for the whole country is to be serious about growth everywhere and that’s why our region needs a stronger voice in Westminster.

Josh Fenton-Glynn

Labour Parliamentary

candidate for Calder Valley