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Friday, 19 December 2014

Cumbria LEP sets out its 2013 business plan

Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership has published its business plan for 2013, setting out how it will support growth in the county.

The document has been produced following consultation with over 1,000 Cumbrian businesses and outlines an action plan that includes:

  • Accessing finance and helping businesses to secure investment
  • Supporting roll-out of superfast broadband and improved mobile coverage
  • Establishing a Specialist Manufacturing Task & Finish Group to support businesses in winning contracts in this key sector
  • Setting up an employer-led Skills and Employment Group to identify training needs for colleges and other education providers
  • Supporting the development of Carlisle airport
  • Working on a simplified approach to planning issues in the county to support businesses
  • Lobbying for transport improvements including better rail connections to Barrow

The LEP also wants to champion work on using the Cumbria and Lake District brands more effectively in selling products such as food, drink and leisure.

It is also planning to develop a Cumbria Opportunities website to promote jobs, investment and supply chain opportunities.

The business plan identifies four sectors of the Cumbrian economy as being a priority: energy; manufacturing; food & drink and tourism.

George Beveridge, interim chair of Cumbria LEP, said: “This is the most focussed and coherent piece of engagement with business that we’ve ever seen in the county, and the first time anything of this scale has been produced for Cumbria and codified in this way.”

The business plan was produced with the help of the University of Cumbria and includes analysis by the Cumbria Economic Forecasting Panel which has mapped key economic indicators in the county through to 2026.

It envisages Cumbrian employment levels not recovering until later this year when they are likely to return to 2010 levels. Thereafter employment is predicted to increase slowly with a quickening pace after 2017.

The business plan also highlights the declining number of businesses in Cumbria. In 2011 there were 21,175 enterprises in the county, 5.4 per cent fewer than in 2008.

Read the report in full here
 

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