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NEWS ROUNDUP: West Yorkshire unemployment falls


UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS | The number of people claiming Universal Credit in West Yorkshire decreased during October, despite tens of thousands of employees still being furloughed upon the ending of the Government’s job retention scheme.

New statistics released by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) added that the number of businesses shutting down was decreasing at the beginning of autumn, while the region’s house prices hit an all-time high.

The figures appeared in a document, set to go before regional leaders next week, but it warned the latest Omicron Covid variant and the effects of new restrictions should be monitored over the coming months.

According to the paper, there were 34,000 employees in West Yorkshire still on furlough on September 30 – the point at which the job retention scheme came to an end.

Despite this, the number of people claiming out of work benefits continued to decrease in October, while the number of PAYE employees in the region rose above pre-pandemic levels.

The document stated: “Recruitment activity is growing strongly across West Yorkshire, led by Leeds and Calderdale.

“Occupational areas hardest hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality and clerical, continue to rebound in terms of their vacancy counts.”

There were 398 business liquidations in West Yorkshire up to the week ending October 26, based on a four week moving average. Those figures showed a slight decrease from the previous four week periods. The number of new business bank accounts opened in the region stood at 808 for the month.

WYCA officers added that West Yorkshire house prices reached a record high in August 2021.

The report stated: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a central factor in the lives of the people of West Yorkshire and economic recovery a key consideration for businesses and the wider economy.

“The latest Omicron variant and the reintroduction of some measures related to international travel, the use of face masks and an acceleration of the booster programme reinforces the need to continue to carefully monitor the situation and its impact on economic recovery in the region.

“However, as reported in previous reports, in terms of the response of the combined authority and Local Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) to supporting businesses during the pandemic, the majority of interventions are now completed, or are transitioning into delivery of our economic recovery plan and to the business as usual of the combined authority and its decision-making committees.”

The paper will be discussed at a full meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority on Thursday, December 9.

(LDRS | Richard Beecham)


Work has now started on a £40million council housing development which will see the regeneration of Throstle Recreation Ground and the former Middleton Skills Centre in Leeds.


The project off Middleton Park Avenue is one of the largest being undertaken as part of Leeds City Council’s Housing Growth Programme and will be made up of 60 two-bed, 38 three-bed, two four-bed properties and four bungalows.

It will also feature an extra care housing facility for older people requiring care and onsite support, with 47 one-bed and 13 two-bed contemporary open-plan type apartments which will provide secure, well-designed homes that are wheelchair accessible and allow for future adaptability and 12 one-bed bungalows which will be built specifically for adults of working age with disabilities.

The development will provide benefits to the wider community through delivering improvements to the existing public open space and creating a recreation ground and a central area suitable for numerous leisure activities. Soft landscaping will be used to enhance the green space with a feature area of wildflower meadows; the planting will improve the aesthetics of the area and provide a space for pollinating insects and wildlife. Tree planting will further enhance the area by creating a focal point that will also provide both shade and increase biodiversity. Pathways will provide access routes for the community with strategically placed seating and natural play areas.

Created by developer Wates Construction, the site will be equipped with an underground district heating system to provide the properties with energy-efficient heating and hot water, supporting the council’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency through new energy-efficient, affordable housing options.  In addition, each property will have off-street parking and an electrical vehicle charging point.

The development is scheduled to be fully completed by autumn 2023.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council executive member for infrastructure and climate said:

"I am thrilled to see that work has now started on site to create one of the council’s largest affordable housing projects. Not only will it contribute positively towards our ambition of building more affordable housing in the city, but the new energy-efficient homes and electric vehicle charging points will also help in our efforts against the climate emergency. We know green space is important, especially in this area, and that is why a clear focus of this development is to invest in high-quality green space for people of all ages to benefit from and we will continue to work with residents in the surrounding areas to minimise disruption as much as possible. I look forward to seeing this exciting project develop over the coming months.”



Take a look inside the world’s largest mince pie factory at its busiest time of the year – when more than 2,000 mince pies can be produced every MINUTE.

Carlton Bakery churns out MILLIONS of mince pies every year to ensure shelves are stocked for Brits after the much-loved festive treat.

The 20-acre factory, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, is run by food retail firm Mr Kipling, which is part of the Premier Foods group - and produces up to 2,160 mince pies every minute.

In 2021 the factory is predicted to bake over 150 MILLION mince pies – along with countless other festive treats including Mr Kipling Frosty Fancies and Christmas Cake slices.

They even have an official operator in the factory who is responsible for tasting the pies every day and ensuring they meet top standards to satisfy the mince pie-loving masses.

The factory, which produces all kinds of cakes all year round, has 14 huge production lines - three of which are solely dedicated to mince pies.

Each mince pie production line can assemble and bake 720 pies per minute - meaning the factory can produce a whopping 2,160 mince pies per minute if all three lines are running simultaneously.

The production process is meticulously planned and broken down into 23 separate steps to make a box of pies and get it on the lorry to be transported around the country.

The Barnsley factory - one of Europe's largest bakeries - opened in 1975 and has been churning out the much-loved festive treats ever since.

(SWNS | Amy Reast)

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