A drive to turn Bradford into a ‘Producer City’ cannot just become another talking shop, councillors have warned.
The authority’s leader, Councillor David Green (Lab), faced tough questions at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Governance and Audit Committee yesterday.
He told them while the Council would be funding the business drive at the outset, he hoped the private sector would also start to contribute resources once it was established.
The committee heard how the initiative aimed to build on the district’s solid foundation in advanced engineering and manufacturing.
Councillor Michelle Swallow (Lab) said while she liked the idea of the Producer City, she thought the plans sounded too “airy-fairy” and she had some concerns about how they would work in reality.
“Having lived in Bradford most of my life and having worked in high-end electrical manufacturing also”, Coun Swallowfailed to see how they would get businesses to contribute to the scheme.
“Yes, it is great to have a launch and to have a partnership board but we need to make sure it becomes a great resource and not just a talking shop.”
Coun Green acknowledged there was “a danger” of this happening.
He said: “Too often some of the partnerships and the groups we set up are a great place to have a cup of coffee and a chin-wag, and you see some of the minutes that come out and think, ‘What are you actually doing at the end of that meeting?’ “But everybody who is committed to this is committed to making sure it is a ‘doing’ board’, not a talking board.”
Councillor Howard Middleton (Liberal Democrat) said he thought there were too many public sector members on the board.
But Coun Green said there were more private sector members, including someone from Bradford Chamber and five chief executives of major companies.
Outside the meeting, Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservatives, said he didn’t like the fact that there would be no board member from his opposition party, saying there would be no political balance on the board.