A BUSINESSMAN who turned a back bedroom operation into a global venture is vying to change the focus of Government policy as he takes the chairmanship of the biggest land area LEP in the country.

David Kerfoot has been appointed as the chairman of the York North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, after serving as deputy chairman under Barry Dodd.

Mr Kerfoot, who created Northallerton-based oil specialist the Kerfoot Group, takes the reins as LEPs across the country lead on the development of Local Industrial Strategies which will set out the priorities and investments needed to maximise local growth as the UK leaves the EU.

Mr Kerfoot said: “The true value of a rural economy and how the most successful cities are inevitably surrounded by vibrant rural communities is often underestimated.

“Government policy has often been city focused, but that needs to change, we need to recognise the real value of natural assets and invaluable small businesses that they give rise to.

“Whether it’s providing the supply chains for household names such as McCains, investing upstream to protect cities from flooding or providing the world class tourism offer which attracts millions of visitors every year, rural Yorkshire is an economic powerhouse.

“With York showing real ambition and leading the way with its gigabyte connections, we need to ensure rural areas are digitally connected so that we continue to lead the way, attracting new investment and innovation to accompany our quality of life.”

Mr Kerfoot also paid tribute to Mr Dodd, who is stepping down as chairman after six years, stating: “Barry has shown real leadership, not just locally attracting in excess of £250 million investment and championing transformational projects such as York Potash and Bridlington Harbour, but also nationally, being a fixture on the National LEP Network Board which has worked with government to strengthen the commitment and role of LEPs.

“We are in a great position as a LEP, having a strong track record of delivering.”