The proposed merger of the University of Bradford and Bradford College into a "Civic University" is a very sensible idea.

It has been clear for some months that something would have to be done in view of the fall in the number of young people applying for places at the University, largely as a result of last year's riots. There is also a need to attract more young Bradford people from non-middle-class backgrounds into further education in the city. This move, if it goes ahead, should tackle both those issues head-on.

The merged institution with its substantial number of students hopefully would be able to attract new funding to finance a major building programme. It would also help to make further education much more inclusive of the district's post-school population at all levels.

There is clearly a lot of work still to be done. Staff and students have to be consulted. A business plan needs to be drawn up. Government funding institutions have to be approached to work out how the new institution will be financed (although the Higher Education Funding Council is already reported to be making sympathetic noises).

We wish the plan every success. The merger of the two would be a good move for Bradford and its young people. We need many more of them to pursue their education beyond the school years if the district is to expand its pool of talent to attract new businesses.

It would also be another "first" for Bradford, adding to its long-standing reputation as a pioneering city in the field of education.