FORMER Labour Leader and Shadow Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband visited Workington and described the town's port as an 'ideal candidate' for potential investment under a Labour government.

Mr Miliband was taken on a tour of the Port of Workington, accompanied by Cumberland Council Leader Mark Fryer, Workington and Whitehaven candidate Josh MacAlister and Penrith and Solway candidate Markus Campbell-Savours to look at how the port may benefit from the investment.

Speaking about the potential for the Port of Workington to benefit from Labour’s £1.8billion 'National Wealth Fund' investment, he said: “Labour has already set out plans to invest in upgrading ports – ports like the one in Workington – so that we can unlock thousands of jobs in clean energy.

"The Port of Workington is an ideal candidate for this new investment.”

Labour has committed to a £1.8billion scheme to upgrade Britain’s port infrastructure, the party said.

Investment in the Port of Workington could, say the Labour party, 'unlock more capacity at the port, enabling the port to reap the benefits of the jobs in the clean energy industry, such as installation, operations and maintenance of offshore wind in the Irish Sea'.

Labour parliamentary candidate for Whitehaven and Workington, Josh MacAlister said: “Major expansion of the Port of Workington is central to my industrial plan for West Cumbria because it opens up the potential for new industry and thousands of jobs.

"“I’ve been working with Ed Miliband to make the case for inclusion of Workington in the £1.8bn Port investment programme promised by the next Labour Government and today I was delighted to welcome him to the Port, along with Cllr Mark Fryer, to see its potential.

“Ed confirmed that Workington is in a prime position to benefit from this investment and I look forward to working with him and Cumberland Council if I’m elected to deliver it.”

During the visit to the Council-owned municipal port, which handles up to 500,000 tonnes of cargo per year, Mr Miliband heard about the council’s plans for the port including 'the drive to secure inward investment, develop the facilities and capacity and significantly improve the multi-modal transport opportunities at the site'.

He also heard how the Port is 'well placed' to benefit from wider economic developments in Cumbria, especially in the energy sector, as it already has an established presence in this market through its position in the nuclear supply chain at Sellafield, as well as in offshore renewables.

Cllr Mark Fryer, leader of Cumberland Council said: “We will continue to strive to make the Port of Workington the most sustainable port possible. We believe that the port is a key logistics asset for Cumberland, and we are keen to attract investment to provide facilities for future green growth across our region.  

"We will continue to provide a first-class service to our customers at the port, whilst strengthening our competitive position in the region and beyond.”

A more in depth report on Ed Miliband's visit will be available in the Times & Star next week.