Plans to give Bradford and other cities an elected mayor will fail to devolve power and must be radically rewritten, the Government is warned today.

From this summer Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood will become ‘shadow mayor’ – gaining the power to take certain decisions without the complete backing of elected councillors – and a referendum will be staged on May 3 next year in 11 of the largest cities across England.

But a report published today by think-tank Centre for Cities and Institute for Government accuses ministers of drawing up “vague” proposals that fall far short of the muscle handed to London mayor Boris Johnson in the key areas of economic development, transport, planning and skills.

The writers believe a mayor would be beneficial to Bradford.

The report says: “A yes vote for mayors could have large potential implications for local economic development policies in some of England’s largest cities.

“Previous Centre for Cities research has found that growth across these cities is highly uneven – places such as Leeds and Manchester have performed much more strongly since 1998 than places such as Bradford and Birmingham. Policy needs to respond flexibly to this uneven growth to enable cities to address the specific and varied challenges that they face.”

According to figures in the report there has been a 5.4 per cent fall in private sector job growth in Bradford between 1998 to 2008 compared with a 9.1 per cent increase in Leeds.

But the plans are also criticised for failing to allow the Leeds City Region, which includes Bradford, to opt for a ‘city-region’ mayor to reflect the reality that any “strategy for growth” needs to stretch over a larger economic area.

It adds: “The powers that a mayor will have will be substantially less than those currently held by the Mayor of London. This will limit a mayor’s potential effectiveness in supporting local economic growth.”

If Bradford votes ‘yes’ next May, the ‘shadow mayor’ will be handed extra powers – including the ability to dismiss the chief executive and merge roles.

  • Read the full story Tuesday’s T&A