This week's MP's column comes from Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley 

The Government’s Budget this week delivered the best possible news for Bingley. 

The Chancellor announced in his Budget speech the wonderful news about funding for Bingley.

The £14.5 million he announced for Bingley means we are going to get a new pool and also money for improvements in the town centre.

I have been working hard and lobbying hard to secure funding for this new pool, both privately in meetings with Ministers as well as publicly through raising the issue on the floor of the House of Commons at every possible opportunity. I raised it most recently with the Prime Minister in Prime Minister’s Questions just a few weeks ago.

In fact the Prime Minister has personally played an enormous role in ensuring this happens, which stems from his visit to Bingley last February when he met local businesses who made clear to him that a newly opened swimming pool in Bingley would be the single biggest route to regenerating Bingley and provide a feel-good factor in the town.  

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

It left a lasting impression on him and every time I have lobbied him about it over the last year, he has told me that he knew from his visit to Bingley how important this was for the local community. 

Since the announcement, both the Prime Minister and the Levelling Up Minister, Jacob Young, have been to Bingley to see first-hand how important this project is for the town.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Levelling Up Minister Jacob YoungLevelling Up Minister Jacob Young (Image: Newsquest)

The determination of a Conservative MP and a Conservative Government to deliver this project for Bingley is in stark contrast to that of the Labour Council in Bradford which I wouldn't trust to be able to deliver a pizza, let alone a project as important as this to the local community.

It was Bradford Council who ran down, and then closed down, the swimming pool in Bingley, and who clearly thought that a pool in Bingley was not needed even before they collapsed their finances through mismanagement.

Indeed, whilst I was busy lobbying Ministers for a new swimming pool and investment into Bingley town centre, the Labour Council in Bradford were also begging Ministers for money - not for Bingley (or anywhere else for that matter) - but just to bail them out to avoid the bankruptcy of which they had brought the council to the brink.

I was determined that Government money into the Bradford district was going to make a positive difference to my constituents and was not just going to disappear into a black hole of bankruptcy.  

Crucially the Government have ringfenced this money for Bingley. Bradford Council cannot waste it elsewhere.

I am delighted that the hard work has paid off.  Bingley can now look forward to a brighter future with a new swimming pool for future generations, but we mustn't be complacent.

Whilst the Government and I want this project to move forward quickly, it is already clear that Bradford Council do not share that urgency.

Last year I persuaded the Government to pay in full for a Shipley Eastern Bypass, at a cost of tens of millions of pounds, linking Otley Road in Baildon with Canal Road to prevent the congestion from Baildon through Shipley.  

The Labour Council - despite always saying it wants more transport infrastructure investment - has pathetically and pettily refused to carry out the scheme, despite it not costing them a penny, simply because it was me who successfully won the funding.  

We cannot allow the new swimming pool in Bingley to suffer the same fate.  It is vital that local residents and I keep the council's feet to the fire and deliver this new pool as soon as is possible.

The other fear is that even if Bradford Council do crack on with the project, there is no guarantee they won't close the swimming pool again in the future.  

That is why I will be seeking an immediate asset transfer on completion from Bradford Council to the Friends of Bingley Pool as the long-term future of the pool will be much safer in their hands.  The Friends of Bingley Pool have done a wonderful job over the years and never gave up hope of getting a pool back open in Bingley.

 I will be seeking a meeting with them soon to see if they would be prepared to take on this new asset for the town.

The saga of the swimming pool in Bingley sums up the state of local politics perfectly.  Closed down by a Labour Council in Bradford which cares only about its city centre heartlands; and now brought back to life by a Conservative MP and a Conservative government.

It is yet another reason why the Shipley and Keighley parliamentary constituencies need to break free from Bradford Council and have a truly local council instead.