Council plans to invest £12.8 million to aid post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Posted on - 27th August, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Politics, Preston News
Geoff Driver retained his Preston North seat and is leader of the Lancashire Conservatives
Preston North Councillor, Geoff Driver

A £12.8million economic recovery and growth programme aimed at tackling some of the economic impacts of COVID-19 has been unveiled by Lancashire County Council.

The proposed funding, which will be discussed by members of the cabinet next week, will be used to accelerate projects and schemes designed to support the county’s economy.

Work will also take place to fully understand and tackle the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses and communities.

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Already the council has submitted a recovery plan to the Government to redefine and re-invigorate the local economy.

And In July, Lancashire secured £34.1m from Government towards ‘shovel ready’ projects as part of strategic development and infrastructure pipeline projects.

The new proposed finance will support projects that have the dual benefit of tackling the immediate impacts of COVID-19 together with unlocking economic recovery and growth in the longer term.

County Hall in Fishergate Pic: Tony Worrall
County Hall in Fishergate Pic: Tony Worrall

It is proposed that the funding will be allocated to projects by the end of March 2021, with the aim of completing the majority of schemes by March 2024.

The move comes as officers have already started to identify major projects that could bring billions of pounds into Lancashire.

The county council’s own major project and strategic development plans also have the potential to deliver a significant portion of investment to the area.

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Preston North Councillor, Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the council, said: “At the beginning of the year we were in the process of bringing forward ambitious plans for economic growth together with setting out our vision for the whole of Lancashire to become the UK City of Culture in 2025.

“Work had already begun on plans for major development and infrastructure to transform our economy and fully realise our potential for the benefit of all our residents, businesses and communities.

“Unfortunately we are all aware of the huge impact coronavirus has had in Lancashire since then, both in terms of the tragic human cost as well as the economic impact.

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“But we are determined to build on the foundations we already had in place to help our towns, attractions, countryside and destinations, while supporting industry, stimulating business growth and creating new jobs.

“In fact we are not looking to return to business as usual, but be even more ambitious for our county and future prosperity.

Read more: Preston coronavirus rates are decreasing amid local restrictions

“There are many exciting schemes we are now looking to progress and these additional funds will enable us to continue with those plans as well as helping the county’s economy recover from COVID.”

The proposed funding is due to be discussed by members of the cabinet at their meeting on Thursday 3 September. For more information, click here.

Read more: Latest news and updates from Blog Preston

What do you think of the council’s economic recovery plans? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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