| 14.5°C Dublin

Yorkshire 'beating France on jobs'


Harrogate in Yorkshire - the county is creating more jobs than France says George Osborne

Harrogate in Yorkshire - the county is creating more jobs than France says George Osborne

Harrogate in Yorkshire - the county is creating more jobs than France says George Osborne

Not content with taking France's most famous sporting spectacle, Yorkshire is now creating more jobs than its continental rival, according to Chancellor George Osborne.

Mr Osborne delighted northern Tories in the Commons when he announced: " And which county has created more jobs than the whole of France? The great county of Yorkshire."

The Chancellor's declaration appeared to be further good headlines for the county, after it played host last year to the start of the Tour de France, when up to three million people crowded along city streets and country lanes to watch the world's greatest cyclists.

This followed Yorkshire's triumph in the 2012 Olympics - when its total of 12 medals, including seven golds, placed it 12th in the medal table, above countries such as Jamaica, Spain, Brazil and South Africa.

All this with a population of 5.2 million, less than a tenth of that of France.

But some have questioned what figures the Chancellor used for his comparison. Many on social media have suggested it is nothing more than a statement that while Yorkshire's unemployment figures dropped by tens of thousands last year, France saw its jobless rate continue to grow.

According to recent figures, unemployment in Yorkshire fell by 30,000 in the quarter to January alone leaving a jobless rate of around 6%.

Unemployment in France is around 10.4%.

But trade unions have questioned Mr Osborne's championing of Yorkshire's new economic prowess.

TUC regional secretary for Yorkshire Bill Adams, said: "There's plenty of places in Yorkshire which have never recovered from the loss of manufacturing that happened here in the 1980s and 90s.

"There may be jobs in the financial sector in Leeds but get out beyond the ring road and get down to places like Doncaster and Barnsley and I don't see any recovery at all."

Mr Adams said: "We welcome that there has been quite a reduction on unemployment over the past few quarters but we are talking about a lot of jobs which are low level, low skilled and low paid.

"Go round Yorkshire and ask people if they feel better and they just don't feel it."

He said TUC research showed people in the Yorkshire region were £1,400 a year worse off now than they were before the financial crisis.

"I was in France recently and it did seem to be better off than here," Mr Adams said.

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chair, Roger Marsh said: " Leeds City Region has a larger economy than nine EU nations, so growth in our region has the potential to impact on a large scale.

"It is pleasing that today's data shows 47,500 more people in work across the whole of Yorkshire & Humber than a year ago. I am delighted the LEP is playing a key role in enabling growth in the Leeds City Region economy, and in turn, helping Yorkshire to create more jobs than the whole of France as highlighted by the Chancellor today."

Mr Marsh said: " Following the recent announcement of £2.5bn investment opportunities in the region, we look forward to furthering our work with the private sector, to ensure the Northern Powerhouse becomes an economic reality with our region at its centre."

PA Media