When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
East Lancs parties back £7million plan for 700 jobs
AN ambitious bid to support enterprising firms in East Lancashire, which could generate 700 jobs, has united rival boroughs and MPs.
Unified support has been shown for a £7million Regional Growth Fund (RGF) application, designed to stimulate growth in the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, chemical, sustainable energy and digital sectors.
Under the auspices of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire (RPL), the Accelerating Business Growth PLUS programme is targeted at medium-sized enterprises, and should generate private investment of nearly £30million.
Small and emerging firms were catered for through an earlier successful RPL initiative, also backed by the RGF.
Blackburn’s Labour MP Jack Straw said: “This is a really important initiative, on which East Lancashire’s MPs have put aside party differences in the interests of the area’s future prosperity.”
Darwen and Rossendale Tory MP Jake Berry said: “The RGF is designed to do exactly what it says, provide regional businesses with a targeted level of financial support to kick start investment, growth and, importantly, jobs. This is a great bid, which has the potential to deliver a substantial return for everyone.”
Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “I will be talking to the Business Secretary Vince Cable about our bid and I hope it will have every chance of success.”
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones are also supportive of the bid, which should also safeguard a further 350 positions.
Blackburn Council leader Coun Kate Hollern said it was ‘critical in closing the north-south divide’ and Burnley leader Coun Julie Cooper believes the bid team can work closely with companies, colleges and universities to bolster skills levels.
Coun Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council has welcomed targeted support for medium-sized firms specifically, and Coun Miles Parkinson, Hyndburn leader and Coun Joe Cooney, Pendle’s leader, are also on board.
Dennis Mendoros, RPL chairman, said: “This programme builds on our successful RGF round two bid, which offered financial support up to £150k to small and medium-sized enterprises.
“If we are successful, Regenerate will have a package of support for all types of businesses across Lancashire.”
RPL is also behind the Lancashire Business Enterprise Programme, which also received backing in the third RGF round.