Bradford Council has worked closely with public and private sector stakeholders, VCSE and local communities to develop practical plans and projects to make an immediate difference.
Bradford council has taken a bold and ambitious approach to economic recovery. In November 2020, the Council announced a £30m capital and revenue spending plan, as part of the 2021/22 ‘Budget for Recovery and Investment’ to tackle the impact of Covid. It established an Economic Recovery Board, including civic and business leaders, chaired by Professor Zahir Irani (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford), who stress-tested an outline Economic Recovery Plan developed by the Council. The plan identifies five major opportunities for Bradford:
- Equipping its young and diverse population with skills and confidence to succeed;
- Supporting businesses to use new technologies and drive innovation;
- Leveraging cultural assets and distinctive places to spur economic growth;
- Enabling all people to lead healthy and productive lives;
- Transitioning to a sustainable, resilient and connected economy.
The council has worked closely with public and private sector stakeholders, VCSE and local communities to develop practical plans and projects to make an immediate difference, including submitting £58m Towns Fund plans for Keighley and Shipley. Bradford is establishing an Economic Growth Board to develop a long-term strategy. Demonstrating ambition and unlocking new resources (even with stretched budgets) will attract local partners and build confidence and trust.
The economic recovery partnership is prioritising risks to youth unemployment, and the importance of protecting local micro/SMEs, as well as future growth areas linked to High Speed 2, net-zero homes and hydrogen-power vehicles. Oven-ready projects have been developed with evidenced ‘outcome benefits’ linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These opportunities are designed to showcase how Bradford can become the ‘test-bed’ for central government investment in the North, as part of a £1.4bn devolution deal with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The opportunities and the potential of the city are epitomised by Made in Bradford.