Rebalancing the Economy: Trade and Investment - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

Written evidence from the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

1.  The enquiry is designed to examine the effectiveness of government policy and actions on trade and investment. Topics the Committee will consider include; The role of BIS in providing support for exports and investment; How the Government measures success in its support for trade and investment; The Government Trade White Paper; The role of UKTI with regard to identifying opportunities in: established markets, emerging markets and key sectors.

2.  The delivery of trade and inward investment work has been carried out by Yorkshire Forward and UKTI. The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CBMDC), in common with most local authorities has not had the resources required to undertake foreign direct investment work. CBMDC's investment team, Invest in Bradford's (IIB) involvement has been limited predominantly to responding to specific inward enquiries generated that match the locational requirements of the potential investor. UKTI and YF provided this fdi enquiry feed to local authorities. The number of enquiries provided to IIB has fallen sharply in recent years but were most welcome and IIB would like to understand how this will be maintained and how current enquiries will be progressed. Bradford Chamber, Yorkshire Forward and UKTI have undertaken work specifically designed to encourage exports with IIB not typically involved.

3.  IIB's primary objectives are to encourage and assist with job creation within the district, particularly in the region's target sectors. This proactive work is carried out in competition with other locations across the world. The team access various data sources to constantly monitor for companies in the UK who may be looking to invest and then approach them. The team assist potential inward or indigenous investors with issues relating to delivering investment projects. Investment projects within the district could be triggered by a wide variety of factors including merger and acquisition and competitiveness issues, consolidation or expansion. Expansion could be driven by an increase in export business but IIB do not track this specifically as the promotion of trade is, as outlined above, been delivered by others.

4.  IIB also account manages a number of businesses within the district. The Key Account Management programme, delivered jointly with YF, targets 58 major employers within the district (employing more than 200 employees). 28 of these are ultimately foreign owned. The data collected by the KAM activity was also fed back to UKTI, presumably for them to map the overall employment and investment trends in the UK's major overseas owned businesses.

5.  Within the district there are at least 11 businesses owned by Asian business people or British people of Asian origin within the top 200 employers in the district and they employ almost 1,100 people between them.

Examples include P.E.C. Building & Shopfitting (set up by former President of Bradford Chamber, Balbir Panesar, in 1977 and now employing almost 100 people) and Dilbag Cloth House (set up in 1968 by Dilbag Singh, who had arrived from Punjab earlier in the decade, and now employing around 60 people in Bradford). There are of course many smaller BME businesses with fewer employees located across the whole district. They are involved in a variety of sectors including food manufacturing, retail and textiles.

6.  The Bradford business community is well connected with South Asia and there is a significant level of trade between Bradford and Asian countries. Bradford Chamber has run trade missions to India and Pakistan in the last four years and in October 2009, The Asian Business Development Network (ABDN), assisted by the Council organised an Asian Business Roundtable Event. The event was attended by prominent Asian businesses and key business support partners e.g. Asian Trade Link (ATL-who are based within Bradford) and was designed to help companies access support and explore joint trading between Bradford and the sub-continent.

7.  With the demise of Yorkshire Forward and the proposed "nationalisation" of inward investment work local authorities are keen to understand about the role of UKTI. Chiefly, how the enquiries which have been generated and passed to them by YF will now be facilitated and what role will local authority investment teams deliver in this process.

According to IIB's client management system, 11 international enquiries were fielded by IIB (most from YF) since September 2008. Two of them were significant enquiries from major Indian companies concerning call centre operations during the last 15 months. The enquiries could have seen 700 jobs created.

8.  In terms of the number and size of FDI projects within the district, since the start of 2008-09, IIB is aware of at least 10 FDI projects in the district, including the creation of a new Jurys Inn hotel, which opened this year, and relocation projects of Italian- owned Transmec Group and German- owned Rhenus Logistics. Their total value was £100 million.

January 2011

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Prepared 19 July 2011