Lancashire was today welcomed into the Northern Powerhouse “family” after the signing of a landmark agreement.
In a major leap forward for the county’s economic fortunes, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership signed up to officially become a Northern Powerhouse partner.
At an event held at Burnley FC’s Turf Moor stadium, Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy called on other businesses to pledge their support to the Northern Powerhouse to promote jobs, growth and prosperity across the region.
It comes as new figures today show that across the north, nine Enterprise Zones have attracted £1.3bn of private sector investment over the past four years and around 9,000 jobs.
Lancashire’s Enterprise Zones are sited at Samlesbury and Warton (next to BAE Systems sites), Thornton and at Blackpool Airport.
Mr Percy said he would ensure Lancashire’s voice would be heard in Westminster.
And he urged more businesses and organisations to sign up to the Powerhouse partnership.
The LEP is the first Enterprise Partnership in the country to sign up.
Mr Percy said in Burnley: “Building the Northern Powerhouse is central to our plans to create an economy that works for everyone.
“We’re backing the North with the investment and powers it needs to fulfil its huge untapped potential and I’m pleased to see businesses here, working alongside the Lancashire LEP, are pledging their support.
“Today’s figures show that Northern Powerhouse Enterprise Zones are attracting the skilled workers businesses need to help them take on the world with an extra 800 jobs in just three months – and with eight more zones due to open for business by 2017, long may that continue.”
Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire LEP said: “The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is delighted to be the first LEP in the country to confirm its position as an official Northern Powerhouse partner and to play a full and active role in the Powerhouse initiative.
“We wanted to mark this occasion by inviting the Minister to Lancashire so he can see for himself the continuing, credible progress of the Lancashire LEP and partners are making across a wide range of sectors and markets.”
By becoming a Northern Powerhouse Partner, Lancashire LEP has joined more than 30 other firms who have signed up by pledging their support.
This network champions the north’s strengths, as well as promoting jobs and growth.
With record investments in transport, strong support for science and infrastructure schemes, and more than £2.8bn invested into locally determined projects through Growth Deals – the north is thriving.
Enterprise Zones offer world-class infrastructure alongside financial incentives to help businesses grow.
Businesses moving to an Enterprise Zones also benefit from a range of tax breaks and local support, such as simplified planning, to help them grow – including business rate discounts worth up to £275,000 per business over five years.
Due to their success the government established five new Zones in the north in April, with three more due to start in April 2017, bringing the region’s total to 17.
Two of the new zones created this year are at Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse in Thornton.
Today at a ceremony in Blackpool, the Minister was signing a Memorandum of Understanding with local partners to help accelerate development of the new zones.