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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbria's economy buoyant after Glaxo jobs and government pilot scheme

Cumbria is emerging as a “serious place to do business” after two landmark investment deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds were announced last week.

David Cameron photo
David Cameron at Glaxo

That’s the assessment of John Grainger, managing director of Invest in Cumbria, the county’s inward investment agency.

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline revealed last Thursday it intends to build a £350m biopharmaceutical factory in Ulverston that will create 300 jobs.

That news came just hours after the Government named Cumbria as a pilot area for its Rural Growth Network scheme.

Under the scheme, millions of pounds of Government cash will be pumped in the county to create 11 hubs for small companies to help them with networking, training, skills and IT.

It is hoped the hubs, which will also see new business premises built, will help launch 480 new companies, creating 900 jobs.

Mr Grainger said: “This is fantastic news for the Cumbrian economy.

“A £350m biopharmaceutical factory with 300 new highly skilled, highly paid jobs is unprecedented for this area and only goes to confirm what we’ve known all along – Cumbria is a serious business destination and has skills of national and international significance, particularly in specialist manufacturing.

“What is most rewarding is that the Ulverston won a beauty contest against other sites in England and Scotland.

“They clearly see our competitive advantage and our hope is that this encourages other businesses to look at what we have to offer.”

Mr Grainger praised Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership, which submitted the county’s successful bid for Rural Growth Network status and helped companies including Pirelli win money from Whitehall funding pot the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

“The LEP has meant that we can genuinely speak with one voice on a range of economic development priorities,” he added.

“By displaying this unified approach to Government, the LEP has been able to win Government cash under the RGF and ensure the county was selected as a pilot area for the Rural Growth Networks.”

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