Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood is defying an edict issued by his predecessor Eric Pickles, now the Cabinet minister responsible for local government, in a bid to protect the interests of businesses.

Coun Greenwood said Bradford Council would, for the time being, ignore the order from the Communities Secretary to publish details of every bill for expenditure of £500 or more. He told the district’s business professionals that the delay in publishing the details of invoices was to allow time for them all to be purged of any commercially-sensitive information.

He told the Bradford Professional Network the purging operation was intended to avoid giving firms outside the district information that could enable them to undercut suppliers to the Council.

He said: “There’s an obligation been put on us by the Communities Secretary to disclose all bills of £500 or above. We won’t be doing that until all the invoices have been purged of commercially-sensitive information that could enable Bradford suppliers to be undercut by firms elsewhere once the details are published.”

He said it would probably take between two and three months.

“I’m prepared to suffer the political embarrassment of defying the order to publish the bills to protect the interests of Bradford businesses,” he said. “It would be more embarrassing if an organisation from London was able to sell to the Council more cheaply than a local firm as a result of the information in the published invoices. My default position is that I want the Council to do everything we can to support Bradford businesses.”