The dawn of a new age for Lancashire's economy
13 May 2011
Business experts from across the county joined forces as the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) met for the first time.
The meeting, which took place at County Hall, saw representatives from major businesses across the county, as well as from Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool councils and a number of other organisations, discuss how they can work together to make Lancashire the leading economy in the north west.
The creation of regional enterprise zones, details of how the partnership will operate, and how the LEP will access money from the government's Regional Growth Fund were some of the issues under discussion. Edwin Booth, chairman of EH Booths, was named as the chair of the new partnership.
Led by the private sector, with support from local councils, the Chamber of Commerce and academic institutions, the LEP aims to kick-start economic recovery and drive forward economic growth to put Lancashire on the map as a thriving business centre.
Edwin Booth DL, in his new role as chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "The pan-Lancashire LEP has been a long time in the making and it is a relief to have had the first board meeting.
"There is now an opportunity to put aside sentiment and open a new chapter in our county's economic development.
County Councillor Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Lancashire has always had a thriving and varied economy made up of a mix of manufacturing and service-based industries as well as leading academic institutions.
"Through the LEP, we want to harness the expertise we have so we can punch above our weight and become recognised as a business leader throughout the north west region.
"Yesterday's meeting was very interesting and I look forward to working with our partners to drive Lancashire's economy forward together."
Leader of Blackpool Council, Councillor Simon Blackburn, said: "Building a local economy that will provide more permanent and better-paid jobs and opportunities for the people of Blackpool will help many families out of poverty and improve their lives beyond recognition.
"Only by working as a partnership can we really market the area to investors and make sure business bosses know they have the workers they need right here in Blackpool, coupled of course with the wholehearted support of the public sector to help expand their businesses."
Councillor Kate Hollern, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "This is a positive step forward which we hope will bring benefits to all parts of Lancashire, which is important given the huge challenges we face."
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