An impressive Business Insight supplement in The Times newspaper, Tuesday 10th December, covering Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire’s big City Deal and Leyland Trucks.
The articles give a very rosy, unquestioning picture but it is said infrastructure and education are key investments to enable prosperity, and that is what is happening.
This City Deal is worth £434m and has a target over 10 years to generate 20,000 new jobs, £1bn in gross added value, 17,420 new homes, £2.3bn in leveraged commercial value, some school and health facilities. On the face of it this is growth although it isn’t clear if it makes up for any shrinkage anywhere.
It’s complemented by Enterprise Zones, Superfast Lancashire broadband project, Boost Business Lancashire and a host of local initiatives.
£334m will be for infrastructure and include four major road schemes such as the Warton link to the M55 and 4,000 homes, Broughton By-pass and 1,400 homes, Penwortham By-pass, South Ribble distributor road and 2,700 homes. An additional £100m from the Lancashire Pension Fund will be invested in housing and development.
The article says Leyland Trucks are seeking to position Leyland at the forefront of building up a major automotive supply chain in Lancashire. In this it is supported by the MD, Ron Augustyn, being a member of the government’s Automotive Council. No doubt many of the parts are imported so adding to the local supply chain should bring benefits to the plant, let’s hope it succeeds in that. Some 40% of output from the assembly plant at Leyland Trucks is exported.
The article also covers Boost Business Lancashire which is £7.2m from the European Regional Development Fund with the aim to grow the local economy by £20m and create 1,200 new jobs. 235 businesses have signed up to it this year.
City Deals put the onus onto the locality to give its best shot, it could be said that in this it beats the scrapped Regional Development Agencies in being more local. The City Deal covers the roads, houses and some schooling and health. The electrification of most of the railway in the region has already been announced. Let’s start to see some action.