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Council 'will use local workers for building projects'
Bradford Council has pledged to help local labourers benefit from future building contracts amid claims that a “substantial number” of foreign workers are being used on the city’s current regeneration projects.
Councillor David Ward, deputy leader of Bradford’s Liberal Democrat group, said a lot of Portuguese and Eastern European labourers were working on the Heritage Streets Project, in the city centre, and the Southgate hotel scheme, at the bottom of Thornton Road.
He said: “Why is this happening when we have got such high local youth unemployment? It’s ridiculous.
“What is happening with the local labour contracts? This is not racism but legitimate concern that local people have expressed about jobs for local people. We have got this huge potential capital investment in place and we need to extract as many local contracts and as many local jobs as possible.
“If the European legislation doesn’t allow them to do it, then what are the local MPs doing about changing the legislation?”
Councillor Adrian Naylor (pictured above at the Ivegate site), the Council’s executive member for regeneration, said the Council was pushing hard for local labour clauses whenever it was legal under European Union procurement rules.
He said: “The Heritage Streets Project was announced in July 2007 and pre-dates the current procurement strategy that is running from 2008 to 2011, which includes the requirement to have local labour. There are three contractors working on that scheme, one of which employs a number of UK residents who happen to be of Portuguese origin, as well as employing Bradford people.
“Southgate is not a Council project, so the use of local labour contracts could not apply.”
But he said that had changed since the developer, McAleer & Rushe, asked the Council for a commercial loan.
Coun Naylor said: “Bradford Council will endeavour to use every opportunity not only to provide the projects for people to work on but to provide the chance for local people to gain the skills necessary.”
The City Park scheme was a strong example of a contract that required local labour clauses, training clauses, use of unemployed people and the opportunity for training.