A PLAN to change the name of a West Yorkshire ‘supercouncil’ just underlines its bias towards Leeds, critics have claimed.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which brings together six local councils, is set to be rebranded as the Leeds City Region Combined Authority, with bosses saying the Leeds name has greater national and international appeal.

But senior Bradford councillors have objected to the move.

Councillor Simon Cooke, the leader of Bradford Council's opposition Tories, said: "What purpose does it achieve, other than to irritate people? We just got used to calling it the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Why change the name?"

Cllr Cooke, who sits on the Combined Authority's main committee, said it was symptomatic of a wider problem - that Leeds is getting too much of the organisation's attention.

He said: "To be quite honest, when you look at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, it just underlines what’s already happening.

“Overwhelmingly, the discussion and debate - whether it’s about transport issues, inward investment, new business initiatives - it’s always about Leeds. Everything is focused on Leeds.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the leader of Bradford Council's Liberal Democrats, said they needed to "stick up more for ‘brand Bradford'".

Cllr Sunderland, who has only recently stepped down from the Combined Authority's main committee, said: "I’m increasingly concerned about the amount of centralisation.

“The whole idea of devolution was to devolve powers from Government down to the city regions. Now what we seem to be having is Labour councillors sucking power towards themselves and being manipulated by Leeds.

“Bradford’s got a strong identity and the Yorkshire brand is stronger than the Leeds brand."

But Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe, a Labour member of the Combined Authority's main committee, took a different view.

She said Bradford was a "major player" in the Leeds City Region and had received significant funding through the Combined Authority.

She said: "What we are talking about here is a political committee. I'm born and bred in Bradford. I'm proud of the place and confident enough in our future to know that whatever this committee is called is not going to dim our reputation."

Cllr Hinchcliffe said she was more worried about getting more funding from the Government, and added: "The West Yorkshire name isn’t even accurate as it’s not just West Yorkshire authorities. York is a member and the remit covers Harrogate, Selby and Craven as well. We need to have the guts to change it. Regardless of the name of this committee, we'll always be Bradford and we'll always be Yorkshire."

The Combined Authority was set up in 2014 to bring together leaders from Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale and York to handle devolved powers over transport and economic development.

A report going before its top committee next week says rebranding the body around its ‘core city’ could improve its perception further afield.

It says: “Following substantial engagement with key regional businesses, Leeds is considered by those businesses to have stronger recognition and brand perception nationally and internationally.

“Adding ‘City Region’ enables the WYCA, as it does at present, to leverage the strengths of the core city brand while also making clear the significant scale, opportunities and assets of the wider region, including the unique selling points and distinct characteristics of Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale, Kirklees, York and the wider region.

“West Yorkshire meanwhile is felt to have more limited recognition and brand perception outside of the region.”

A final decision will be taken at the meeting in Leeds on Thursday.