Lancashire in good shape for future

Optimistic: Edwin Booth, right, with Lord Heseltine at the recent City Deal launch
Optimistic: Edwin Booth, right, with Lord Heseltine at the recent City Deal launch

The future looks bright for Lancashire businesses as latest figures show that the UK economy is now stronger than pre-recession levels.

That was the verdict from business leaders today after it was revealed that our GDP grew by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014.

This means that the UK economy is now 0.2 per cent above its pre-crisis peak in 2008, after the recession shrank the economy by 7.2 per cent.

Edwin Booth, Chair of Lancashire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Here in Lancashire, the LEP is working hard to create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and we have been seeing positive signs of economic recovery for some time now.

“As well as these latest GDP figures, figures from UKTI showed that foreign investment in the county secured nearly 2,000 jobs in 2013/14, which shows that international businesses share our confidence.

“With major investment in the county through the Lancashire Growth Deal and the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal recently announced, and significant infrastructure projects such as the M6 to Heysham link road now underway, the future for the Lancashire economy looks very bright.”

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of North & Western Lancashire Chamber of commerce, said: “The fact that Britain’s economy is now bigger than it was in 2008 is great news, and will provide a shot in the arm for businesses and consumers alike.

“Yet even though we’re one of the fastest-growing developed economies, there’s no room for complacency.

“Without sustained action, these growth figures could be ‘as good as it gets’ for the UK.”

She added: “The government and the Bank of England must pull out all the stops to encourage business investment, help exporters and get finance flowing to growing firms who still aren’t seen as a safe bet by the banks.

“Above all, interest rates need to stay low for as long as possible, and rise slowly and predictably when they do go up to avoid undermining the solid business confidence that’s driving the growth we’re seeing in businesses across Britain.”