Dear St Nick,

I hope this letter finds you in fine fettle and all geared up for your big night?

I appreciate it’s a bit late going up the chimney but I know your magical sack can hold massive amounts – and you’re going to need it for this pile of requests…

Just like in the rest of the country, it’s been a funny old year for the Bradford district but one in which it has definitely inched forward on many important fronts.

Now, though, it needs to pick up speed – but it’s going to need some help to get there. So here are a few ideas for gifts that could really help to make a difference:

JOBS. AND JOBS. AND MORE JOBS: Bradford’s economy needs to catch up with – and overtake – its growing population. We need more people working and more people creating wealth.

The city centre needs more office workers to help its shops survive and to help fill the empty ones. The departure of Inland Revenue staff for Leeds is not helpful, so how about nudging the Government into sending another department or two our way?

Perhaps it could start with the relocation of Channel 4’s HQ? The plan to shift the state-owned organisation out of London could create thousands of jobs and do for the region at least some of what Media City has done for Salford Quays. A Channel 4 programme last year controversially suggested it wanted to “Make Bradford British”. Well here’s it’s big chance…

There’s also hope on the horizon with a reboot for the Producer City initiative. Bradford is a manufacturing city and stuffed full of skilled young workers that make it a fantastic base for industry. A little help to get that message across wouldn’t go amiss, either.

AFFORDABLE HOMES: Bradford Council, unlike Leeds which is planning to reduce its house-building targets by almost 19,000 homes, has so far failed to re-address its proposals which will inevitably lead to lots of executive homes being build on our precious green spaces.

What the district must find is more affordable homes on inner city brownfield sites where they are needed now and will be needed in the future by those working in the new jobs you’re going to send us, Santa.

Perhaps now would be a good time for Bradford to think about stepping up council house building, which in much of the rest of the country has hit its highest level for four years. The Government wants it to happen so with a little help from you, maybe Bradford could find its way to the top of the list for hand-outs? Meanwhile, how about some help to get our 3,944 empty homes back into use, please?

MORE GREAT TEACHERS: It was encouraging to see Bradford leaping 15 places in the national ranking for primary school results and registering good progress in maths, reading and writing at Key Stage 2 level but there’s still a long way to go. You could help by ensuring that every underprivileged child in the district gets a book to own in their stocking this year AND help from their parents to enjoy it.

Oh, and some well-deserved success for our efforts to recruit even more dedicated, highly-motivated and skilled teachers would be gratefully received as well.

EXTRA POLICE RESOURCES: Bradford has some big crime issues which are an increasing cause for concern. The Stop the Danger Drivers Campaign is having an impact and it’s good to see it being extended but there are still too many drivers without tax and insurance on our streets.

More worryingly, there seems to have been a surge in gun crime in 2017. Most of it, we know, will never affect the ordinary citizen because it tends to be related to drugs and gangs. But where there are guns there is always the chance of harm to innocent bystanders and the extension of their use to other crimes. More cash to help police tackle the problem would be a popular present.

MORE SOCIAL CARE FUNDING: According to Which?, nine out of 10 councils will run out of care home places by 2022. Our elderly population is not going to get smaller, so we must find an answer and, inevitably, it comes down to money. And that’s just the start of our social care issues.

AUTOMATIC PROMOTION FOR THE BANTAMS: The new management and owners at Bradford City have made fantastic strides in the last year or so and the Bantams are deservedly riding high in League One. But we could really do without another play-off battle at the end of the season. Exciting as those trips to Wembley can be, do what you can to spare us the agony and get us an automatic promotion place. Please…

Of course, there are many, many more potential candidates for this list: better mental health facilities, an end to homelessness and poverty, a guaranteed high-speed rail line linking the city to Leeds and Manchester, more and better roads to name but a few.

But we’re not greedy. In fact, Santa, we’d settle for any of the above. Or maybe just a bottomless sack of cash.

Either way, I’m sure you’ll agree the district deserves a Happy Christmas.

Have a good one!