Pendle manufacturing companies look set for rapid expansion following a ground-breaking multi-million pound deal from the Government.
A bid for £5m. of funding to help the expansion of mid-sized businesses was secured last month following intense lobbying by myself and others from the local area. The bid was made by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, chaired by Pendle businessman Dennis Mendoros OBE, who deserves huge credit for his efforts to secure the money.
Despite 1.8 million manufacturing job losses under the previous Government, our area still has a world-class manufacturing base which accounts for 28% of employment. Over the last three years, several local businesses have undergone significant expansions, including Silentnight in Barnoldswick and Woodheads in Colne.
However, many mid-sized businesses were struggling to gain the support they need to expand and create jobs.
The new funding will enable several local companies to expand, creating more than 500 new jobs, safeguarding 250 jobs and bring over £20m. of private sector investment into the area. Companies like Graham Engineering in Nelson, Merc Engineering in Barrowford or Fort Vale Engineering, who have sites in Nelson, are the types of companies who can now bid for the cash to help fund their growth plans.
This additional funding has come from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, which was set up to help rebalance the economy and provide support to the north of England. This is the same funding stream that is paying for the reopening of the Todmorden Curve in May, cutting rail journey times between Burnley and Manchester in half.
Added to the news that unemployment fell again last month to just 4.5% of the economically active population aged 16 and 64 in Pendle, this all bodes well for the months ahead.