26 February 2016

The LEP is making ‘significant progress’

Chair Edwin Booth surveys the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s achievements over the past year in a column which first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post.

Lancashire is already an economic powerhouse, a £23.4 billion economy with over 40,000 businesses including many with world class credentials. Our economy is central, in terms of its scale and capability, to delivering the economic ambitions of the North of England, as articulated via initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse.

Lancashire has built a reputation as a national centre of excellence in the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, energy-related and food and drink sectors, while the county’s visitor economy attracts over 63 million visitors per year.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP’s) ambitious, strategic £1bn investment programme aims to make a step change in  our performance, growing the county’s business base and making our economy even more globally competitive and attractive to investors.

During the next decade the LEP will transform Lancashire’s economy, fuelling its growth by £3 billion GVA, creating 50,000 new jobs and supporting the building of 40,000 new houses, key roads and other essential infrastructure.

Over the past 12 months, the LEP has made significant progress in delivering the innovation, skills, supply-chain and infrastructure capability to achieve this transformational change.

The highlights include: 

  • Securing funding for the LEP's business growth hub, Boost, to continue operating for another three years enabling it to give vital support to thousands of extra businesses
  • The launch of our Transport Prospectus which highlights how we can unlock substantial economic potential via better transport connectivity.
  • Major milestones met in strategically important transport projects such as the £24m Broughton Bypass, where work has got underway
  • Work getting underway at BAE Systems' new £15m national training facility at our key Samlesbury enterprise zone (EZ)  site and the first tenants at our Warton EZ site.
  • Approval for LEP bids for enterprise zone sites at Hillhouse Business Park and Blackpool Airport, giving us a portfolio of four complementary EZ sites which combine to make a compelling Northern Powerhouse opportunity to potential industrial investors and occupiers.
  • The appointment of two leading agencies which have been working to communicate a compelling Lancashire economic narrative and the launch of a newsletter, twitter account and the Lancashire Business Brief to help us actively communicate and engage with stakeholders. 

After the last 12 months, no one can doubt the LEP’s ambition, appetite and determination to help Lancashire fulfil its huge economic potential.