Judith Cummins MP welcomed businesses, trade unions, civic leaders and a senior Labour figure to Bradford for a roundtable discussion on jobs, narrowing the north-south divide and the vital importance of Bradford to the Northern Powerhouse.
Hosted by Yorkshire Water in Buttershaw on Friday (June 29), attendees heard from Bradford South MP Judith and Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd, before discussing Bradford’s place in the regional and national economy – and how to improve it.
Judith said: “It was great to continue the dialogue with local businesses, trade unions and other important figures in Bradford about how we can all work together to get the best for our city.
“It is now widely accepted that the UK’s economy is fundamentally unbalanced – it is too heavily weighted towards London and the South-East.
“Bradford, like towns and cities across the North, must develop its own way to secure economic prosperity, boost skills and protect jobs. We had a productive discussion, and there is plenty for us all to continue to work with.”
Key themes that came from the discussion were the great number of untold Bradford business success stories that more people should get to hear about, the challenges and opportunities that automation will bring and how to prepare Bradford’s young people for the high-quality manufacturing jobs that already exist in the city – as well as the ones that will be created in future.
Mr Dowd spoke of the regional disparities in infrastructure spending and said “decisions about which projects are chosen should not be based on monetary returns alone.
“At least not as it is narrowly defined in current Treasury guidance, as this tends to bias investment towards areas where wages and productivity are already high,” Mr Dowd said. “So London gets about £2,000 per head with Yorkshire and the Humber on around £190 per head. As the IPPR (North) pointed out it takes longer to get from Liverpool to Hull than it does from London to Paris.
“This imbalance has to stop.”
Mr Dowd added after the event: “It was a real pleasure to attend, especially with so many people from various sectors committed to Bradford’s future. I was really impressed with their vision for Bradford.”
Businesses from across Bradford South were represented, along with trade unions GMB, Unison and USDAW, as well as Bradford University and Bradford College.
Bradford-born David Baldwin, chair of Bradford’s economic partnership and CEO of Burnley FC, and Henri Murrison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, were also present.
Managing Director of Christeyns UK and President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce Nick Garthwaite said: “West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce was pleased to be involved in organising this meeting. There was a good mix of business sectors present, and they would be pleased to know that their MP is willing to put on an event like this, and take up any issues for them in the Commons. It was also good that Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury was happy to hear from those present, speaking approvingly of the District’s economic strategy.”