The Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government, which will see an extra £17.2m invested in Lancashire between 2016 and 2021.
The Government will work with the LEP to bring together other funding, including the Public Works Loan Board, to deliver this deal. This is in addition to the £233.9m of funding committed by the Government last July.
Over the lifetime of its deal (2015-2021) the LEP estimates that up to 8,000 new jobs could be created, 3,000 new homes built and that it has the potential to generate £280m public and private investment.
The news comes as the regional director of a security specialist said business in the area must capture the attention of the rest of the country and show that the north-south divide when it comes to job creation is closing.
Paul King, regional director north west of The Shield Group, which looks after several large retail and property organisations in the Fylde area, said: “While we’re seeing a record increase in the number of start-up companies, unfortunately unemployment remains a lingering problem, particularly in the Northern regions. Like many seaside towns, Blackpool’s claimant rate (4.1 per cent) is over double the national average (2 per cent), whilst unemployment continues to cause prolonged poverty and increased crime rates.
At The Shield Group, we’re consistently aware of the diverging economic environments between the Northern and Southern cities. But we also want people to be aware that hope is not lost for the North – in fact, business growth for this region is gaining momentum.
While it’s understandable that businesses might be reluctant to invest in areas beleaguered with negative national headlines, it is in the interest of businesses to capture the attention of the customer base and develop the UK economy as a whole rather than dividing it. “
Jennifer Mein, LEP board member and Leader of Lancashire County Council said: “The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and local partners have developed an expanded Growth Deal programme, which supports the delivery of Lancashire’s long-term economic plan. The LEP’s approach to supporting schemes that will create jobs and investment in the Lancashire economy underlines the value of local partners working together in pursuit of common objectives”.