Business leaders in Bradford have thrown their support behind the city’s bid for enterprise zone status.

Bradford Chamber of Commerce said an enterprise zone could be the catalyst for major investment, creating jobs and regenerating the city and wider region.

Firms within the boundaries of a zone will be offered full business rate discounts, superfast broadband and fast-track planning.

Councillor David Green, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration and the economy, yesterday revealed details of Bradford’s case, which they claim would kickstart £1 billion of city centre projects.

More than 5,000 jobs may also be created if the Bradford scheme is given the go ahead by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Bradford Chamber vice-president Stephen Wright said: “There has been a loss of jobs from the city centre over the last few years and enterprise zone status would turn that around and speed up the revitalisation of the area.”

Mr Wright, chief executive of Bradford pneumatics firm Thorite, said land in the city centre was “oven ready” for new businesses.

He added: “A clear red-lining of the city centre area for a zone provides a strong focus whereas other potential zones throughout the country have included two or even three sites.

“We all know that there are sites that could attract new business if the conditions were right and enterprise zones could be the catalyst.”

Peter Crook, chief executive of Provident Financial, told the Telegraph & Argus he was “convinced” of the business case for creating the zone in Bradford.

The credit firm confirmed its confidence in Bradford by announcing this month it was to create 250 new jobs at its call centre in Thornton Road.

Mr Crook said: “Becoming a local enterprise zone is just the kind of initiative that would help persuade other businesses to locate to the city and benefit from what Bradford has to offer.”

Bombay Stores Group managing director Saleem Kader has co-founded the Positive Bradford campaign to bolster people’s sense of pride in the city.

He said a zone in Bradford would boost investor confidence and a more positive perception of the city.

“Creating an enterprise zone to show that the city is ready for people to invest in it will give exactly the right signals,” he said.

Rival bids have been submitted by three other authorities: Leeds City Council, Wakefield Council and Selby District Council.

The Leeds City Region LEP Board, which includes Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood, will make a decision on June 15 after recommendations from a private sector-led task group.

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