THREE in four businesses across Shipley are backing an MP’s campaign to break away from Bradford and create a new council, according to a survey.

Responses to the survey carried out by Shipley MP Philip Davies, show 73 per cent want a new council formed with his constituency along with Keighley and Ilkley. Of the responses 19 per cent wanted to stay as part of the existing Bradford Council area and the remaining eight per cent were unsure.

The Shipley MP, whose constituency includes Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston, wants a referendum across the two parliamentary constituencies to gauge support for the move. His petition has secured thousands of signatures.

Mr Davies said: “The majority of businesses want to split from Bradford Council and this is something they have been telling me for a long time. They see first-hand how Shipley has been neglected by Bradford Council. They are telling me they want money spent on toilet facilities, improving the market and getting footfall into the area.

“By breaking away from Bradford Council we would be free to spend the money how we wanted and look at things like parking charges, which are also a big problem and are currently dictated by Bradford Council, who do not seem to care.”

He added: “What we see is the council ploughing money into projects that benefit the city centre and ignore other parts of the Bradford district. I am delighted most businesses are supportive of the campaign to break away and I will keep pushing for a referendum on splitting the areas.

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Philip Davies uses this as a campaigning tool to win votes. What he doesn’t tell his constituents is that time and time again his own Government have told me, and presumably him, that this will never happen. His Government is not interested in breaking up existing local authorities, on the contrary they are wanting local authorities to cooperate more with each other over a wider geography.

“He is trying to distract residents from the failure of his own Government’s austerity programme over the last ten years which has left the whole district with half the spending power it had. That’s hit everyone across the district.

She added:”It’s true that some wards contribute more council tax than others but it’s also true that some wards like City and Tong contribute far more in business rates than these other residential wards. The district works together as a whole and will continue to do so. In the meantime, we are getting on with delivering things people want, in spite of the financial constraints this Tory Government has left us with.”

She said some of the schemes they had delivered or were delivering included Business Development Zones in Keighley and Shipley, the £10m Hard Ings highways improvements in Keighley, the City Connect 2 cycleway between Shipley and Bradford, and New Bolton Woods, with hundreds of new homes.