THE current economic crisis "can be re-purposed to Bradford's advantage" - according to the man behind a newly published recovery plan for the District.
Yesterday Bradford's Economic Recovery Plan - a document that will shape how the area recovers from the Covid pandemic, and the economic uncertainty it has caused.
Ideas included in the document include making Bradford's automotive industry a leader in developing hydrogen powered vehicles such as vans, create a new medical school in the District and improve Bradford's image and reputation to attract more investment.
The plan acknowledges that Bradford faces a rapid rise in unemployment, a sustained gap in skills and poor connectivity, issues that have existed for some time, but have been heightened by the pandemic and extended period of lockdown.
The delivery of the plan will be overseen by the Bradford Economic Partnership which includes representatives from businesses, education and other key partners across the district.
It also highlights the need to train the huge amount of young people who have struggled to find work due to the pandemic and support business start ups.
'We don't want to go back to normal, because normal wasn't good enough' - Bradford plans post-Covid recovery
Little Germany, currently home to numerous empty buildings, could be designated a "Heritage Action Zone" to make better use of its assets and a new park could be created in the city centre.
The plan will be put before public and private sector funders as "a set of investable propositions as opportunities arise in the coming months and years."
Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Bradford, helped develop the plan. Yesterday he said: "We believe the current economic crisis can be repurposed to our advantage.
"By supporting changes to the economy and encouraging new ways of working, we have an opportunity to position Bradford better and deliver great health outcomes and wellbeing for all.
“Our ability to do this is helped by the big change in political attitudes we have seen since Covid-19 with bolder economic and social strategies dominating policy debates.
"The pandemic is our chance to reset our economy to create a healthier, more equitable and more sustainable future for all.”
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We would like to thank Professor Zahir Irani and board members for their hard work and commitment to this agenda.
“Our Economic Recovery Plan takes account of the profound changes in the public health and economic context and sets out the actions we need to take to recover the economic progress we were making before Covid-19.
“We want to inspire collaborative action and leverage support from the business community and other stakeholders and establish a clear business case for further government and private sector investment across our district. This will enable Bradford to play an important role in helping Britain to build back better.”
The plan also ties in with the Towns Fund - a £25 million pot of cash to develop towns that have recently been hit by a lack of investment.
Locally both Keighley and Shipley have been selected as areas that can each bid for up to £25m funding for a series of projects.