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Vibrant South Lakeland economy one of the region's best

15 March 2018

A ‘Vibrant Economy Index’ has listed South Lakeland as one of the top performing economic areas in the north west.

The district’s top five ranking in the Grant Thornton Vibrant Economy Index is this week being used to promote the UK as a place to do business at a major international event to attract inward investment.

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’.

In the north west South Lakeland is ranked fifth overall, just ahead of Lancaster in sixth and Manchester in eighth and behind top four performers Cheshire East, Trafford, Cheshire West and Warrington.

South Lakeland is the only district in Cumbria to make the north west top 10.

The Vibrant Economy Index ratings are being used this week at the MIPIM conference, a global property and real estate event in Cannes, France, to attract investors and trade partners from around the world.

The index has been drawn up by Grant Thornton in partnership with the local government magazine the Municipal Journal (MJ) to find a new way of measuring economic wellbeing, which the MJ says is “now an imperative given growing economic and social uncertainty post the Brexit referendum.’’

The MJ has included lists of the most vibrant economies in each region in its ‘Inward Investment Guide to the UK’, produced for the MIPIM event in Cannes.

Councillor Graham Vincent, our portfolio holder for the Economy, welcomed the index results, saying they provided further evidence of South Lakeland’s strong economy.

Councillor Vincent said: “The recently published figures from the Office for National Statistics have already showed South Lakeland’s economy to be the fastest growing in Cumbria. Now this vibrancy index is being used to demonstrate to a global audience at the MIPIM conference that South Lakeland is a great place to invest.

“To be ahead of places like Manchester in a measure of economic vibrancy is quite something, and proves that our business strategies, business support, highly skilled industries, strong communities, low unemployment rate and fantastic quality of life is a winning combination.

“In particular, the index shows that South Lakeland offers a superb environment for business and lifestyle, with the district ranking 33rd out of 324 UK local authority areas for ‘health, wellbeing and happiness’.

“To have both Lancaster and ourselves in the top 10 for the north west shows how strong this area is and why we are working together with Lancaster and Barrow on economic development strategies through the Morecambe Bay Economic Partnership.

“The combined Morecambe Bay area has a £6.4 billion economy, making it one of the largest and fastest growing in the north west, and this vibrancy index is further evidence of how important Morecambe Bay is regionally and why we can play a key role in the Northern Powerhouse.’’