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Economic summit aims to capitalise on huge investment

Published on: Monday 16th March 2015
Categorised under: Work , Cumbria, Economy, Opinion

A special summit held in Barrow discussed the best ways of maximising the potential of huge industrial investment that is coming on stream in south and west Cumbria.

The South and West Cumbria Economic Growth Summit was co-hosted at the Forum at the end of February by Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock and Copeland MP Jamie Reed.

Around 200 delegates from the world of business, manufacturing, education and local government attended.

Mr Woodcock teamed up with Mr Reed to discuss the once in a lifetime opportunities coming to south and west Cumbria.

Mr Reed urged the packed out conference to "prepare to succeed" by taking note of the opportunities coming to the area and starting to take action.

Mr Woodcock reiterated this by saying we must be "alive to that challenge".

More than £300m investment is already beginning to transform BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow in anticipation of the successor submarine programme while a new biopharm factory costing £350m is being constructed at GSK in Ulverston

The biggest ever private investment in west Cumbria will see a new power plant built at Moorside near Sellafield with a price tag of around £10bn.

Mr Woodcock said: “These are exciting times for our area. Many hundreds of jobs are being created and local businesses stand to benefit from these enormous manufacturing expansion programmes and it bears testimony to the high-calibre of our workforce that employers are confident enough to make such huge commitments."

The question and answer session was facilitated by Jonathan Lee, managing director of CN Media Group (Barrow).

Members of the audience also called for a "grand master" to lead Cumbria to its Olympic scale economic boost and panelists were in agreement to look towards Cumbria LEP to take the helm.

The panellists included Tony Johns, managing director at BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines, Anne Attwood, chief executive officer and principal of Furness College, Pat McIver, GSK’s biopharm project director, Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for children’s services, and Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

Image © BAE Systems

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