Bradford leaders call on government to extend job creation scheme

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Baroness Eaton Baroness Eaton

Pressure is mounting on the Government to extend its funding of a scheme boosting jobs in Bradford city centre.

The City Centre Growth Zone, which began in 2012, was championed by Baroness Eaton in the House of Lords last week, who called for the Government to fund it for longer.

The Growth Zone aims to stimulate business growth by offering rate rebates as a reward to city-centre businesses which are creating new jobs, and is credited for helping to secure the Westfield development.

The scheme hopes to create 2,264 jobs through Westfield and 500 jobs elsewhere.

To date, 73 firms have successfully applied for rebates after promising to create a total of almost 300 jobs.

Of these, 152 of these jobs have been verified by Bradford Council and £579,000 of rebates have been granted.

The Growth Zone forms part of a £35 million joint investment by the Government’s regional growth fund and Bradford Council in the city centre, but is due to close for applications in December.

Opening a debate on Bradford in the Lords, Baroness Margaret Eaton (Con), a former leader of Bradford Council, said the city’s economy was on the upturn, but Government support would prove crucial in the coming years.

She said: “I therefore urge the Minister to extend Bradford’s City Centre Growth Zone from December 2014 to March 2017.”

The call has been welcomed by Bradford Council’s leader, Councillor David Green (Lab), who said the scheme was proving a success.

He said: “What we have got is something that works, and while I don’t think anybody is arguing that we would want it or need it necessarily forever, we have got a situation where the Bradford economy is making progress and we would want to continue to support the economy.”

Coun Green said he thought an extension until March 2017 was a “realistic ask”.

He said: “There’s no point asking any government for something that’s open-ended because no government can grant you that, whereas a realistic ask is one that says we want the Bradford economy to be self-sustaining – but we are not there yet.”

Coun Green said the Council was also lobbying the Government for an extension.

He said: “I think we have demonstrated that the scheme works and that the local economy is benefitting from it.

“We are continuing to push that with the powers-that-be down in Whitehall.”

Bradford Chamber of Commerce also backed Baroness Eaton’s call for an extension to the scheme.

President Paul Mackie said: “It’s good to know that Baroness Eaton is still batting for Bradford and keeping our issues alive in the halls of power.

“The Growth Zone is helping to repopulate the centre and therefore give it more life and vigour.

“We welcome Baroness Eaton’s contribution and hope that the Government will listen to her request.”

Listening to the debate in the Lords was Baroness Tina Stowell of Beeston, a Minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government.

She did not commit to an extension, but said she recognised the progress so far.

She said: “It is worth noting that growth in Bradford has outstripped regional and national averages since 2008.

“As has already been acknowledged, the first way in which we are helping in this area is through the regional growth fund.

“Projects in Bradford have secured almost £22 million, including about £17 million for the Council-led City Centre Growth initiative.”

Comments (7)

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8:33am Thu 23 Jan 14

OLDLAD says...

Can someone tell me the breakdown of these new jobs as the bulk are just shops relocating from elsewhere in Bradford. I also notice no mention has been made by this paper of the latest unemployment. Why?
Can someone tell me the breakdown of these new jobs as the bulk are just shops relocating from elsewhere in Bradford. I also notice no mention has been made by this paper of the latest unemployment. Why? OLDLAD

10:07am Thu 23 Jan 14

Grumpygirl says...

OLDLAD wrote:
Can someone tell me the breakdown of these new jobs as the bulk are just shops relocating from elsewhere in Bradford. I also notice no mention has been made by this paper of the latest unemployment. Why?
Nationally the unemployment averages are looking better. However, as you would expect Bradford bucks the trend. The unemployment rate in Bradford is currently 10.5%. This is a very different from yesterday's national figure of 7.1%. For the Yorkshire and Humber region it is 9.3%.

Buried in all this are some really worrying numbers.

34% of benefit claimants have been doing so for more than a year in Bradford. This has risen by 8% in the last 12 months, whereas nationally it fell by 8%.

As the T&A reported earlier. 26% of Bradford’s 16 to 64 year old population are ‘economically inactive’ – defined as not looking for, and unavailable for work. This compares to 23% for Yorkshire and Humber and 22% for the UK.

Our youth claimant rate is twice the national average – 10% for Bradford against 5% nationally. And as the T&A also reported Bradford’s youth population is growing faster than the rest of UK.

Clearly the Tory economic miracle has yet to reach Bradford We are even further away from Cllr. Green's deluded dream of a producer city.
[quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: Can someone tell me the breakdown of these new jobs as the bulk are just shops relocating from elsewhere in Bradford. I also notice no mention has been made by this paper of the latest unemployment. Why?[/p][/quote]Nationally the unemployment averages are looking better. However, as you would expect Bradford bucks the trend. The unemployment rate in Bradford is currently 10.5%. This is a very different from yesterday's national figure of 7.1%. For the Yorkshire and Humber region it is 9.3%. Buried in all this are some really worrying numbers. 34% of benefit claimants have been doing so for more than a year in Bradford. This has risen by 8% in the last 12 months, whereas nationally it fell by 8%. As the T&A reported earlier. 26% of Bradford’s 16 to 64 year old population are ‘economically inactive’ – defined as not looking for, and unavailable for work. This compares to 23% for Yorkshire and Humber and 22% for the UK. Our youth claimant rate is twice the national average – 10% for Bradford against 5% nationally. And as the T&A also reported Bradford’s youth population is growing faster than the rest of UK. Clearly the Tory economic miracle has yet to reach Bradford We are even further away from Cllr. Green's deluded dream of a producer city. Grumpygirl

10:17am Thu 23 Jan 14

MontyLeMar says...

Let's face it, if the someone doesn't do something to make city centre premises more attractive to businesses, city centres are just going to die. Many businesses now have an internet presence as well as a high street outlet. If the internet trade really takes off you may as well dump the high street shop and rent a lock-up on an out of town industrial estate where rent and rates are cheaper. The only real solution is for a root and branch reform of the business rate system in the light of increasing internet sales.
Let's face it, if the someone doesn't do something to make city centre premises more attractive to businesses, city centres are just going to die. Many businesses now have an internet presence as well as a high street outlet. If the internet trade really takes off you may as well dump the high street shop and rent a lock-up on an out of town industrial estate where rent and rates are cheaper. The only real solution is for a root and branch reform of the business rate system in the light of increasing internet sales. MontyLeMar

10:20am Thu 23 Jan 14

sorrow&anger says...

Most of the 'new' jobs at Westfield and in the town centre generally are shops changing premises. The figure we need is the net gain which Cllr. Green has always been reluctant to provide for some reason or other.

However we shouldn't be surprised, Fiddling the numbers is a national pastime as the stories on crime figures and NHS waiting times show.
Most of the 'new' jobs at Westfield and in the town centre generally are shops changing premises. The figure we need is the net gain which Cllr. Green has always been reluctant to provide for some reason or other. However we shouldn't be surprised, Fiddling the numbers is a national pastime as the stories on crime figures and NHS waiting times show. sorrow&anger

2:02pm Thu 23 Jan 14

basil fawlty says...

sorrow&anger wrote:
Most of the 'new' jobs at Westfield and in the town centre generally are shops changing premises. The figure we need is the net gain which Cllr. Green has always been reluctant to provide for some reason or other. However we shouldn't be surprised, Fiddling the numbers is a national pastime as the stories on crime figures and NHS waiting times show.
People are still going in their droves to shopping centres like White Rose, so once Broadway is open I would expect shoppers to flock to Bradford which will lead to many more jobs. Leeds will start losing out. The shops that are relocating to Broadway are going to be much larger than the old ones so they will inevitably need to employ greater numbers of staff. Once Broadway is opened a lot of the empty shops in Bradford should find a new lease of life as the city centre finally bounces back. Extending the life of the Growth Zone should boost the speed of the city's regeneration.
[quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: Most of the 'new' jobs at Westfield and in the town centre generally are shops changing premises. The figure we need is the net gain which Cllr. Green has always been reluctant to provide for some reason or other. However we shouldn't be surprised, Fiddling the numbers is a national pastime as the stories on crime figures and NHS waiting times show.[/p][/quote]People are still going in their droves to shopping centres like White Rose, so once Broadway is open I would expect shoppers to flock to Bradford which will lead to many more jobs. Leeds will start losing out. The shops that are relocating to Broadway are going to be much larger than the old ones so they will inevitably need to employ greater numbers of staff. Once Broadway is opened a lot of the empty shops in Bradford should find a new lease of life as the city centre finally bounces back. Extending the life of the Growth Zone should boost the speed of the city's regeneration. basil fawlty

4:24pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Farsley Bantam says...

basil fawlty wrote:
sorrow&anger wrote: Most of the 'new' jobs at Westfield and in the town centre generally are shops changing premises. The figure we need is the net gain which Cllr. Green has always been reluctant to provide for some reason or other. However we shouldn't be surprised, Fiddling the numbers is a national pastime as the stories on crime figures and NHS waiting times show.
People are still going in their droves to shopping centres like White Rose, so once Broadway is open I would expect shoppers to flock to Bradford which will lead to many more jobs. Leeds will start losing out. The shops that are relocating to Broadway are going to be much larger than the old ones so they will inevitably need to employ greater numbers of staff. Once Broadway is opened a lot of the empty shops in Bradford should find a new lease of life as the city centre finally bounces back. Extending the life of the Growth Zone should boost the speed of the city's regeneration.
Absolutely no chance of the city 'bouncing back' I'm afraid. I like your enthusiasm but the reality is more empty shops in the city centre as shops relocate to Broadway. These shops will not be filled by new shops.
[quote][p][bold]basil fawlty[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: Most of the 'new' jobs at Westfield and in the town centre generally are shops changing premises. The figure we need is the net gain which Cllr. Green has always been reluctant to provide for some reason or other. However we shouldn't be surprised, Fiddling the numbers is a national pastime as the stories on crime figures and NHS waiting times show.[/p][/quote]People are still going in their droves to shopping centres like White Rose, so once Broadway is open I would expect shoppers to flock to Bradford which will lead to many more jobs. Leeds will start losing out. The shops that are relocating to Broadway are going to be much larger than the old ones so they will inevitably need to employ greater numbers of staff. Once Broadway is opened a lot of the empty shops in Bradford should find a new lease of life as the city centre finally bounces back. Extending the life of the Growth Zone should boost the speed of the city's regeneration.[/p][/quote]Absolutely no chance of the city 'bouncing back' I'm afraid. I like your enthusiasm but the reality is more empty shops in the city centre as shops relocate to Broadway. These shops will not be filled by new shops. Farsley Bantam

10:14am Fri 24 Jan 14

Alhaurinrhino says...

Any jobs should be self sustaining, calling for government help suggests that these jobs aren't.
Any jobs should be self sustaining, calling for government help suggests that these jobs aren't. Alhaurinrhino

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