It was good to hear George Osborne's glowing reference to Yorkshire in his budget speech last week. The Budget is always an unashamedly political event but never more so than in an election year and the Chancellor certainly did not let us down.
When talking about employment, Osborne referred to 'the great county of Yorkshire', citing it as being responsible for creating more jobs in the last few years than the whole of France.
At Saracen we are, of course, committed Yorkshire supporters. We've got great experience of the county having chosen to establish a base in Yorkshire eighteen months ago.
Since the inception of our Northern headquarters, which recently moved to bigger premises in Wakefield, we have doubled the number of staff in the office and are beginning to establish ourselves as a firm favourite on a high percentage of local pitch lists. In short, we 're moving in leaps and bounds.
This fast rate of progress is down to a mix of good old-fashioned hard work and the abundance of opportunities the region has to offer. Doors appear to be a lot easier to open in Yorkshire - there is certainly a willingness to listen - networking opportunities are frequent and the area is amenable to inward investment. Overall, it appears to be a fertile ground and we're looking forward to continued success in the area.
News of the abolition of employer's national insurance contributions for under 21s and apprentices (also recorded in the Budget) should help our industry with its ongoing apprenticeship problem and create more and better opportunities. Yorkshire is on the up because it is a region that is not afraid to invest in itself and we need to see more of that for our younger workers across the board.
Taking into account that the results of the general election may well change some plans depending on the outcome, it is also good to see renewed commitment to improving Tran-Pennine road and rail links - giving northern cities increased connectivity is, again, of benefit to us all.
Finally, a penny off a pint. As mentioned earlier, it is an election year. Cheers to you all.