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Bradford council accused of throwing money at brewery while cutting social workers

BRADFORD city council was accused today of throwing funds at a brewery to save it from closure while making hundreds of its own staff, including social workers who work with children, redundant.

Unite said the local authority helped set up Bradford Brewery in an historic industrial building in the city in 2015.

The union says the council part-funded a £400,000 grant to establish the business. Now that the brewery is struggling, the council is negotiating with it with a view to providing further help.

Bradford Council also acted as guarantor for a £12 million loan to a company planning to regenerate the city’s historic Odeon cinema building to convert it into a concert venue, said the union.

But at the same time, the town hall is implementing cuts which mean hundreds of job losses among its own staff, including vital social workers helping children and families at risk.

A Unite spokesperson said: “This shows utter disdain for the staff that work very hard for Bradford council to deliver the services amid more and more cuts and fewer resources.

“Bradford council is happy to have talks with Bradford Brewery to try and save the business, while at the same time it is doing the legal minimum it has to do to try to save hundreds of jobs.”

The council did not deny Unite’s claims.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, executive member for regeneration, planning and transport at the Labour-run authority, said: “Naturally we need to support our local economy, because without good jobs and thriving businesses our district won’t be able to fund the high-quality services we all value and rely on.

"It’s vital that we grow our business rates base to be able to afford good public services into the future and we need to promote wider economic growth that benefits as many people as possible.

"This need is urgent because the government will cut its main grant entirely by 2020. Meanwhile, we will continue to lobby the government to end its unfair austerity programme.”

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