The steelmakers and associated suppliers of Yorkshire & The Humber have taken a battering in this recession, as the region attempts to undergo a transition from traditional industries to new, high-growth sectors such as digital media and clean energy. But it's a region of two halves: north Yorkshire and the Humber area are primarily rural, with a cluster of services and heavy industries around the Humber ports, while South and West Yorkshire are mainly urban.
Yorkshire & The Humber has an economy worth £87bn and is home to 300,000 businesses. The chemical industry is integral to the regional economy, contributing 10% of the UK's output, and the region has a long history in metals engineering, continuing with initiatives such as the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley. Yorkshire & The Humber has more food and drinks businesses than anywhere else in the UK, while its RDA, Yorkshire Forward, is driving one of the country's largest public-sector-led open-access broadband projects. After London, the region claims to be the fastest-growing in the digital and new-media sector. It has made environmental technologies a priority sector, investing £8.7m in an Environmental Energy Technology Centre, an incubator building to support more than 30 enterprises.
The region's central location allows more than 25 million customers to be reached within two hours. With a large network of motorways, the biggest port complex in the UK and three international airports - Leeds Bradford, Humberside, and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield - Yorkshire & The Humber is a gateway to potential customers in Europe.
Wage costs are 7% or so below the UK average. Yorkshire & The Humber has one of Europe's largest concentrations of universities, with 206,000 students and 39,000 staff in 14 higher-education institutions. The University of York was recently ranked 6th out of 172 institutions for research, and runs a five-star-rated department of computer science. The University of Bradford is consistently ranked top for graduate employment in Yorkshire, and holds joint first place in the North of England. Only universities in London spend more on research than those in Yorkshire & The Humber.
Morrisons, Asda, Northern Food, Drax Power Station, Cattles, Yorkshire Bank, Sheffield Forgemasters, Severfield Rowen, Shepherd, Pace.
Quality of life
The region spans three national parks across 1,000 square miles of terrain. Its coastline includes the beaches of East Yorkshire, Scarborough - named 'most enterprising town in Europe' - and the popular tourist destination of Whitby. Yorkshire & The Humber's stadiums, arenas and open-air parks attract events and festivals encompassing digital arts, film, antiquarian books, jazz, comedy and music. The region has six major theatres, 300 performance venues and 180 galleries and museums, including the Leeds City Art Gallery, a centre for 20th-century British art, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, one of Europe's leading open-air galleries. The region boasts five Michelin-starred restaurants.
Offices: Leeds, £26 per sq ft; Sheffield £18. Industrial rents: Leeds and Bradford, £5.50 per sq ft. Land prices: Leeds, £210,000 per acre; Bradford, £200,000 per acre.
Yorkshire Forward has invested £15m in the Industrial Research and Development scheme to encourage large firms in Yorkshire & The Humber to carry out R&D projects, providing an injection of finance. A Grants for Research and Development scheme provides finance to SMEs in the region, and a voucher scheme encourages them to use academic support to help develop new and improved products and services in the face of current economic challenges.
Capitol Park, next to Junction 6 of the M18 north of Doncaster, a site that is home to BMW, Isotron and Omega. Thorpe Park, a business park in partnership with Leeds University, includes 600,000 sq ft of office space, four-star hotel and spa. The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Waverley offers office/workshop space for high-tech engineering.
Little known fact
The only UK region with an agreed target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2016, Yorkshire & The Humber is well placed to capture and store carbon - nowhere in Europe is there such a large number of power stations so close to redundant gas fields in the North Sea.
Yorkshire Forward - 0113 394 9600; www.yorkshire-forward.com
Government Office for Yorkshire & The Humber - 0113 341 3000; www.gos.gov.uk/goyh
Business Link Yorkshire - 0845 6 048 048; www.businesslink.gov.uk/yorkshire.