The Northern Powerhouse is about boosting growth across the North by building on its economic assets and addressing barriers to productivity including the creation of new job opportunities to ensure an economy that works for everyone. They are 7 million people in employment in the Northern Powerhouse and the North West accounts for almost half of that. Proof that the steps we are taking to support job creation schemes in the North West are working.
Small businesses are playing their part in this through access to national support through GOV.UK and the Business Support Helpline and we have invested in the creation of a network of 38 Growth Hubs (one in each Local Enterprise Partnership area), providing businesses across England with access to tailored local advice and support to help them grow. Lancashire’s business growth hub (Boost) which covers Blackburn and Darwen has worked with over 3,000 local SMEs and created over 1,300 new jobs in its first three years.
In February this year, we launched the £400 million Northern Powerhouse Fund for small businesses across the North, ensuring they access to finance they need to start-up and grow. This fund has now made 39 investments/loans into businesses in the North West totalling £7.11m (over half of that invested across the Northern Powerhouse) which are forecasted to create 409 jobs.
The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) supports eligible projects and programmes raising private sector investment to create economic growth and lasting employment. Since its launch in 2010 it has invested £2.6 billion to help local businesses grow and take on more staff across England. In the North West, 46,676 jobs have already been contracted of which 249 are in Blackburn with Darwen.
Over the past few years, we have invested over £1.5 billion through the Local Growth Fund in the North West for projects to boost local economies and Growth Deal 1 and 2 allocations aim to create over 35,000 jobs across the North West. The Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Blackburn with Darwen have now received over £320m as part of their Local Growth Funding to give businesses the support and opportunities they need to achieve their potential which aims to see up to 11,000 jobs created across Lancashire
Projects such as the Blackburn – Bolton Rail Corridor, Blackburn Town Centre improvements, Café Northcote at the Cathedral Quarter, Making Rooms Fab Lab and the Pennines Gateway initiative are just some of the locally-chosen projects in Blackburn and Darwen that are set to benefit over the next few years helping unlock new growth potential, create jobs and establish a network of centres focused on innovation and industrial excellence in key growth sectors for the whole of Lancashire.