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Strongest indicator yet of South Lakeland's economic growth

18 January 2018

South Lakeland’s multi-billion pound economy is now the fastest growing in Cumbria.

More than £100 million has been added to the value of goods and services produced across the district, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

South Lakeland’s economic activity has out performed neighbouring district authorities and overtaken the cities of Carlisle and Lancaster. 

The encouraging figures reflect an increasing confidence to invest in the area.

Councillor Graham Vincent, our Portfolio Holder for Economy and Assets, said: “This is the strongest indicator yet of the district’s growing economic emergence. South Lakeland is in this position because steady growth across much of our economy has continued to deliver successful business outcomes.

“A high level of new enterprises are starting up, we are creating a business-friendly environment and by valuing businesses as we do, companies know we will do our best for them.”    

South Lakeland’s total Gross Value Added (GVA) rose from £2.512 billion in 2015 to £2.615 billion in 2016, an increase of £103 million.

GVA is a measure of the value of goods and services and is regarded as a key indicator of solid economic activity.

“This council is committed to attracting inward investment, supporting the development of higher paid jobs and helping our towns and villages to thrive commercially. These figures prove we are attracting new businesses, encouraging sustained growth and leading the way in terms of delivering real economic success,” added Cllr Vincent.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that South Lakeland’s economy is growing faster than the neighbouring districts of Eden, Copeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Allerdale and Carlisle.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures are very positive and confirm what businesses have been telling us – that the economy is growing right across Cumbria.

“GVA is the Government’s method of measuring economic output. Healthy GVA figures point to a strong economy and rising productivity.

“South Lakeland is the strongest performer of the county’s six districts, which underlines the fact that it’s a great place to do business.

“The Chamber has been working with local authorities, including South Lakeland District Council, to ensure that businesses maximise the opportunities and remove obstacles to growth.

“It’s gratifying to see this partnership approach is paying dividends.”

New employment figures from the Office for National Statistics also show that the number of people employed in professional jobs in South Lakeland rose from 37% to 43% between 2014 and 2017. Skilled trades increased slightly from 27% to 28% in the same period and the semi-skilled workforce reduced from 27% to 13%, reflecting a reduction in retail jobs.     

“These statistics are encouraging as they show that the jobs being created are quality, higher paid jobs that may well offer a career path for continued employment,” added Cllr Vincent.

More good news is expected when the findings of the annual South Lakeland Business Premises Survey is published in a few weeks. Around 1,100 business owners have responded so far, with many indicating they feel positive about the prospects for future growth.

The survey, which is undertaken by our Invest in South Lakeland economic development team, helps to inform future strategy decisions and policy making around local business needs.