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‘Five years for Bradford job market to recover’
It will take another five years for Bradford’s job market to recover from the recession, a new report reveals.
Employment levels are not set to get back to where they were before the downturn until 2018, according to a wide-ranging Council document spelling out the current state of the district.
However, over the long term, employment growth in the district is expected to outstrip both the West Yorkshire and national rates.
In the coming years, job losses are anticipated across parts of the public sector, as Government austerity continues, and within some manufacturing industries.
But other sectors are set to expand, including retail.
The report says: “Public administration employment is set to decline and employment losses are anticipated in some manufacturing industries.
“Professional and other private services, education, health and retail are expected to undergo the largest increases in employment between 2013 and 2020.”
The Understanding Bradford District report also warns around 10,000 more jobs will need to be created to keep up with the district’s growing population.
However, it wasn’t all bad news as the report revealed the signs of recovery which started appearing last year.
Comparing the number of business start-ups with the number being wound down is often used to measure an area’s economic health.
Business closures reached a high of 1,785 in 2009 but fell for two consecutive years afterwards.
In 2011, only 1,425 firms folded, compared to 1,570 start-ups.
Coun David Green, leader of the Council, said while the report gave a “warts and all” snapshot of the economy, it didn’t set out what the authority was already doing to tackle the economic problems.
He gave the example of the Get Bradford Working programme as one of the measures which had been put in place.
But Coun Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative group, said the Council should be doing more to atttract businesses.
He said: “We have got to realise that for a district of this size, we have got to encourage employment. I’m fed up of the Council doing things that turn away employers.”
He said he was also wary of reports which made such long-term predictions about the economy.
‘Officers biased towards Labour’
A senior councillor claims he was effectively gagged from speaking about the Understanding Bradford District report.
Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Tory Group on Bradford Council, said he was sent an embargoed copy.
He said he was under the impression he couldn’t talk to the press until the embargo was lifted, on Thursday, effectively stopping him from having his say in the media when it was reported on.
Coun Miller said by doing this, Council officers were being biased towards the ruling Labour group, and said he would be reporting the matter to the city solicitor.
He said: “I was deliberately prevented from commenting on the release of the document by officers of the council and I can think of no credible reason other than to allow the leader of the Council, Councillor Dave Green, to go unchallenged in his assessment of the document’s content, which amounts to officers intentionally aiding a political party, the Labour Group.”
He also said he suspected he received the report later than others.
Coun Green said: “There was no gagging.” He said the embargo meant the report couldn’t be published, but didn’t restrict councillors from talking to the press.
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