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The role of buses in County's future

05 Mar 2019

Businesses are being given the chance to air their views on a document which could have significant ramifications for the county.

Yesterday and today, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership ran a series of four events asking people for their views on its draft local industrial strategy.

The feedback from the meetings will be taken into account by the LEP as it produces a final version of the document, which will be used to make a case to the Government and private sector for investment until 2030.

About 30 people attended the penultimate event at the Westmorland Hotel, in Tebay, today.

LEP chief executive Jo Lappin said the economic strategy was the "county's key strategy for growing our economy, improving productivity and making sure that all of our people benefit from economic growth".

The Government had put a major focus on increasing productivity, she said, and the draft strategy looked at ways the county could increase productivity, while at the same time making sure everyone in the community benefited.

"We want to be very much about inclusive growth and we don't want anyone left behind in Cumbria," she said.

In particular, the strategy spelled out how the county could play on its significant strengths in the areas of renewable energy production and innovation, she added.

Economist Stephen Nicol said the challenges to the county included the fact that its productivity levels - in terms of gross value added - lagged as much as 15 per cent behind the national average. The ageing population and relatively low number of people with graduate level qualifications were also causes for concern.

Coun Graham Vincent, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for economy and assets, told the meeting he thought at present the draft strategy put too much focus on nuclear, when it should concentrate more on renewable energy.

Mark Whitelocks, managing director of Stagecoach in Cumbria, said the strategy needed to seriously consider the role of buses, which helped many people get to work and helped drive local commerce.


The full draft of the strategy can be found here  

This article first appeared in in-Cumbria.