A controversial report published today which claims Bradford is beyond regeneration was today condemned by the city’s politicians and business leader.

The London-based Policy Exchange think-tank argues that Bradford, along with other northern cities such as Liverpool and Sunderland, are doomed to live in the shadow of bigger, more prosperous cities like Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

And it even suggests that a mass north-south migration to areas such as London, Oxford and Cambridge is the only answer to a decade of failed efforts to concentrate regeneration cash in other parts of the country.

But one of the report’s authors, Dr Timothy Leunig, last night admitted to the Telegraph & Argus that he and his co-authors had not visited Bradford before drawing their conclusions.

“We did not go to Bradford as part of our research but I have visited the area on a number of occasions in the past,” he said.

“The purpose of this report is not to say that nothing has improved. I’m sure there are some individual buildings and aspects which have improved, as is the case everywhere, but what Bradford hasn’t done is catch up with the rest of the country in terms of regeneration. Bradford has real challenges. Its raison d’etre is 150 years out of date and it suffers from being in the shadow of Leeds.”

The report was met with derision by the district’s politicians.

Keighley MP Ann Cryer said: “If that is the attitude we should all go home and die. We can take a pessimistic view or turn things around.

“Bradford has one of the youngest populations in the country and if those young people take up the challenge of getting a good education and getting good jobs then Bradford will go from strength to strength. It is in the hands of Bradford people. I will not tolerate this kind of talk.”

And Councillor Ian Greenwood, Labour group leader on Bradford Council, said: “It is an absolute disgrace that anyone should put such a report into the public domain.

“It shows a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of Bradford. To say anywhere is beyond redemption is outrageous. This report should be treated with the contempt that it deserves.”

Bradford Council chief executive Tony Reeves branded the Policy Exchange report ill-researched and inaccurate and pointed out that major regeneration projects were already under way.

He said: “The report is very inaccurate and has clearly been written with a lack of understanding or research into what is actually taking place in Bradford.

“The regeneration is moving forward extremely well with more and more private sector businesses and developers realising Bradford’s potential by investing heavily in a wide range of schemes.

“We have a growing population and the district is undergoing a period of massive regeneration with schemes including the £750 million Listerhills Student Village and the £320 million Broadway shopping development set to really transform the city.

“In 2007 the number of new VAT registrations in Bradford increased by 2.9 per cent compared to national growth of 2.1 per cent, while the Kickstart programme has helped 749 people planning to set up their own businesses.

“Figures show employment will increase by 28.3 per cent in the ten year period from 2006 to 2016, with 55,500 new jobs becoming available to residents.

“The district is also forecast to have the fastest rate of economic growth in West Yorkshire over the next ten years.

“Prologis has made Bradford its flagship employment park with Marks & Spencer set to become the main occupier creating between 3,000 to 3,500 jobs.

“Other examples of the regeneration taking place can be seen with planning permission granted for the £350m Channel Waterside Village, which will reintroduce water into the city centre and featuring residential accommodation, cafes, bars and offices.

“Work has also begun on the £65 million Beehive Mills development on Thornton Road and the £35 million Park Lane College campus in Keighley as part of the Airedale Masterplan.

“These are just a few of the projects that are taking place in Bradford and others, including the Canal Road Masterplan, will attract even more external investment.”

The Council’s regeneration chief, Councillor Adrian Naylor, said: “I think there is a debate to be had about how investment is handled in the north of England but to say mass migration is the answer is a nonsense.

“I also do not think Bradford remains in the shadow of Leeds. There are lots of new initiatives and new investments beginning here. The authors probably have not been further north than the Watford Gap.”

Sandy Needham, chief executive of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said there was plenty of evidence to show that regeneration and investment was happening in the district.

She said: “I do think this is a very strange tack. We have a quality of life here in the north which cannot be matched in the south of England.”

However, Liberal Democrat group deputy leader, Councillor David Ward, said he was not surprised by the report’s findings.

He said: “It’s true, we can’t compete with Leeds and we should stop pretending we can.”