City launches Levelling Up prospectus

The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council has launched its Levelling-up Prospectus created with social value and economic advisory support from Jacobs.

The new document underlines why Bradford District is the primary national priority area for levelling-up investment, and how delivering upon this opportunity could benefit wellbeing, resilience, and prosperity from a local through to a national scale, with the city described as offering “unique opportunity to demonstrate the power of targeted levelling up investment”.

According to Etopia’s recent Levelling-Up Opportunity Index, improving Bradford District’s performance against socioeconomic metrics to the UK average, in areas such as income, productivity and skills and qualifications, would facilitate a greater impact upon the national economy than levelling-up any other large town or city.

The council says its new prospectus shows how the district is primed to act as a national testbed and ‘pilot’ a programme of Levelling-Up Investment Areas.

Two strategic areas highlighted include the Southern Gateway, which through a Levelling-Up Investment Area approach could deliver a £30bn+ GVA uplift over ten years and create 27,000 new jobs. Bradford South is also identified an area which is largely undeveloped and offers prime opportunities for the development of housing, sustainable transport and sustainable energy provision.

The district wide ambition is also demonstrated in Keighley and Shipley’s significant Towns Fund plan, with work also progressing with partners to build state of the art infrastructure to improve health outcomes for people across the district.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: “Bradford has a strong and growing entrepreneurial economy with a young and future-ready population, and so we’ve known for a long time that the District offers incredible investment, business growth and employment opportunities. Our newly-launched prospectus underlines how we can catalyse this through levelling-up investment to unleash the potential of our vibrant, young, creative and globally-connected economy.

“The opportunity is vast – not only for our District, but for the wider UK economy. Government investment in Bradford, supported by strong private sector backing, would not only equip our District to prosper; it would go a considerable way to helping realise national ambitions to level-up the country, acting as a testbed for delivering in areas such as job creation, GDP growth and urban regeneration.”

Kersten England, chief executive officer at the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, also commented: “As a national testbed for Clean Growth, Bradford District is creating thriving, sustainable and resilient communities. The District is also a creative powerhouse heaped in cultural assets and home to a young and vibrant community set to fuel the workforce of the future – all meaning that the area has incredible potential.

“Public investment will be critical in enabling our long-term ambitions for regeneration and growth across the District, creating the conditions to provide residents with opportunity and businesses with the talent and skills they need to prosper.”

Emily King, global technology leader – Social Value Advisory at Jacobs, also commented: “By delivering solutions that create a lasting legacy, we can help reverse societal trends associated with entrenched inequalities. Bradford represents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the power of targeted levelling up investment to help cities and regions realise their economic potential, enabling people, communities and businesses to thrive.”