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Event celebrates district's strong economy

23 March 2018

The success of South Lakeland’s economy was celebrated at a partnership event for business and community leaders.

Guests attending the annual South Lakeland Partners' Dinner, hosted by ourselves and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, heard from speakers praising the district’s strong performance in a series of recent indicators.

Lawrence Conway, our Chief Executive, told the 220 guests that three significant sets of data released recently had “shone a light on the continued dynamic growth and confidence across South Lakeland, that many of you here tonight make and contribute to.’’

Mr Conway pointed to our own business survey which had shown three quarters of respondents felt confident about the next 12 months, with the majority expecting their staffing levels to at least stay the same, and nearly 20% expecting an increase.

He went on to reference the Office For National Statistics’ recently released Gross Value Added (GVA) figures, which showed South Lakeland has become the fastest growing economy in Cumbria and north Lancashire, with a significant increase in the number of professional jobs being created.

The final data was the Grant Thornton ‘Vibrant Economy Index’, which has listed South Lakeland as one of the top five performing economic areas in the north west.

The index lists areas by economic performance, taking in to account factors such as prosperity, dynamism and opportunity and health, wellbeing and happiness, to develop a comprehensive picture of an area’s economic ‘vibrancy’.

Our Chairman Councillor Eric Morrell congratulated the assembled business leaders, and said: “You have provided the strong foundations for this area to continue in its forward thinking and prosperous future.

“You provide the employment, the ambition, the confidence for your workforce, for investment, inside your company and from elsewhere’’, adding that the council’s role was to support the business community by creating “the right conditions for growth and for continued prosperity.’’

The Partners’ Dinner is an opportunity for public and private sector organisations to come together to network and develop stronger relationships, and was attended by key figures from not only business and commerce but also representatives from education, legal, financial, arts and media organisations.

This year's event at The Villa, Levens, was the eighth time the dinner has been held.

Guests also heard from Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, and the evening’s guest speaker, Professor Andrew Atherton, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University.

Prof Atherton also picked up on the theme of South Lakeland’s prosperity, offering advice and academic insight into how the district can continue to develop and thrive.