In May 2021, voters in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority area will head to the polls for the first time to elect a metro mayor. The devolution deal will allow the area to unlock £1.8 billion of long-term funding alongside greater powers on adult education and skills, transport, housing, and finance.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority includes the primary urban areas of Bradford, Huddersfield (comprising the local authority of Kirklees), Leeds and Wakefield as well as the local authority of Calderdale. More data on the West Yorkshire economy and how it ranks compared to other metro mayor areas can be found in the factsheet and, for the individual cities and large towns in the area, in City Monitor, in the High Streets Tracker, and the UK Unemployment Tracker.

This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing the West Yorkshire economy. Beyond the immediate challenge of recovering from Covid-19, which has seen unemployment-related benefit claims increase by 53,000, they are: investing in adult education and skills, using new powers to introduce congestion charges and bus franchising as well as focusing on improving city centre office space.