ACTION is needed to halt the “youth brain drain” and attract more high paid jobs to the Ryedale area, according a leading councillor.

Cllr Luke Ives, chair of the district’s policy and resources committee, made his call after it was revealed that the vast rural district - the biggest in the country, yet with a population of just 54,000 - had the third lowest weekly earnings rate in the Yorkshire region - £455.10, compared with the regional figure of £502.50.

In addition a report on the economic state of Ryedale showed that while it had the fifth biggest employment rate in the region, on average working people expect to pay around 8.8 times their annual earnings to buy a home.

Cllr Ives said: "Despite the high employment rate, wages are significantly below the national average which is concerning given that we have some of the highest house prices in the region. We must do more to improve the cost of living.”

He added: “Too often young people are moving out of the area to find better paid jobs elsewhere.

"To create better paid jobs, we need to improve our infrastructure to attract more businesses to the area.”

One of the biggest factors, he said, was to have the A64 dualled between York and Malton.

“The current state of the trunk road continues to strangle growth and repress productivity," he said.

He welcomed the doubling of train services from Malton later this year, but insisted that improvements to road systems were equally important.

“It’s time that Government made good its promises and give the funding necessary to create a true Northern Powerhouse,” said Coun Ives.