Bradford Council came under fire for the way it is handling its “perilous financial situation” during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs).

The Labour-run council said it was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy - unless it receives “exceptional” Government support - in December.

Shipley MP Philip Davies described the situation as a “disaster” as he spoke directly to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the House of Commons. 

The Conservative politician said: “My constituents know only too well the disaster of living under a Labour regime. Just before Christmas, the Labour Council in Bradford announced that they were bankrupt and then spent the first three hours of the subsequent council meeting debating Gaza and Israel rather than the perilous financial situation they were in.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: MP Philip Davies, inset, and a view of Bradford captured by T&A Camera Club member Paul DaltonMP Philip Davies, inset, and a view of Bradford captured by T&A Camera Club member Paul Dalton (Image: Camera Club/Other)

“Will the Prime Minister support my campaign, and that’s with my honourable friend for Keighley, in getting our constituencies out of Bradford Council control, which is more urgent than ever, and will he make sure the Government deliver a swimming pool in Bingley which is something that was run down and then closed down as part of the mismanagement of Bradford Council?”

The Prime Minister responded: “My Honourable Friend makes an excellent point, whether it’s local councils in his area, Nottingham or indeed Birmingham, which has a track record of Labour mismanagement of finances in local areas. We all know when that happens and when Labour are in power it is working people that pay the price, and that’s why you’ve got to stick to our plan.”

Bradford Council on the brink of bankruptcy

A new report into the Council’s finances says that without “exceptional” Government support, the authority will have to issue a Section 114 notice – meaning the Council is essentially bankrupt.

Councils legally have to balance their budgets at the end of each financial year, and the report says Bradford Council is unlikely to achieve this.

Financial support for local authorities that the Council hoped would emerge in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last month did not happen – and the statement actually added to Bradford’s financial black hole, the document adds.

The Section 114 Notice would mean Bradford Council could make no new spending commitments – and may have to reduce the services it provides to just those deemed essential, including social care and bin collections.

The Council has said it will have to implement a “significant savings plan” – likely to include job cuts, raise income, and carry out “a plan for the disposal of Council owned land and assets.”

Budget proposals will be revealed early in the New Year.

Bradford Council bosses have blamed Government cuts and spiralling costs of children’s social care placements for the predicted overspend, which now stands at £73m for the current year.

The budget for the Bradford Children and Families Trust alone is expected to overspend by over £45m.