TWO Cumbrian MPs are to host a special conference to help businesses and communities gear up for the ‘Olympic-scale’ industrial investment planned for the south and west of the county over the next decade.
John Woodcock and Jamie Reed said the area must ‘work together’ more closely in order to deliver successfully and maximise lasting benefit from the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ investment totalling more than the cost of the entire 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games build programme.
Development plans include:
- Construction of three new nuclear reactors at Moorside.
- £350m investment at GSK in Ulverston.
- £300m expansion of the Barrow shipyard so it can build the Vanguard successor submarine.
- Wind turbines and gas platforms in Morecambe Bay.
- £1.7bn per year decommissioning process of parts of the Sellafield site.
Working with the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the conference will bring together investors, employers, schools, colleges and councils to discuss how best to meet the challenge of delivering such massive expansion and ensuring that the investment maximises sustained jobs, skills and prosperity for Cumbria.
Mr Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: “The once-in-a-lifetime level of investment into this part of Cumbria is hugely exciting but we need to plan much more actively to avoid multi-billion pound bottlenecks that could hamper these nationally important projects. Equally, we must plan now avoid the mistakes of the past so the coming boom brings sustained benefit to the whole community, parts of which are currently suffering more despite parts of the economy succeeding.“
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Mr Reed, MP for Copeland, said: “This conference could provide a great opportunity to bring together everyone with an interest in spreading the prosperity that the investment can bring as widely as possible.”
George Beveridge, chairman of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an incredible time to be in Cumbria and we are determined to make the forthcoming era of investment a great success.
“The critically important projects on our south and west coasts is central to the county’s strategic economic vision and we are looking forward to bringing people together at this conference to pool our expertise and plan for our amazing future.”
The date of the conference has yet to be released.