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Annual report, economy

The council continues to strive to enable and deliver opportunities for sustainable economic growth. The council is continuing to undertake initiatives to increase rural and urban economy which supports the growth of more well-paid jobs in South Lakeland. For example planning approval was granted to build a new tractor dealership which has created twenty five new jobs and is expected to have an annual turnover of £18 million.

Performance on economic priorities

South Lakeland’s multi billion pound economy is now the fastest growing in Cumbria. According to the Office for National Statistics more than £100 million has been added to the value of goods and services produced across the district. South Lakelands performance has outperformed neighbouring district authorities and overtaken the cities of Carlisle and Lancaster. The districts economic success was celebrated at the partnered event for local businesses and community leaders with The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce in March 2018. It was highlighted that following data from Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index, South Lakeland was listed as one of the top five performing economic areas in the North West.

In July 2017, SLDC’s Parking Department won the ‘Concise Report’ category at the Annual Patrol (Parking Authorities Outside of London) Awards. The judging panel commented that “the report reads as an interesting account of a council that views parking controls as a way of helping communities and as part of the areas economic development”. The judges also commented in positive terms about the way that the council adapted the existing tariffs to reflect the individual circumstances experienced as a result of Storm Desmond in 2015 especially in the area of Grasmere.

To support the continuation of South Lakelands growing economy, the council has formed a partnership with Lancaster City Council and Barrow Borough Council to work jointly to identify and exploit opportunities for investment and growth across the whole Morecambe Bay Area. The organisations have formulated an action plan that sets out strengths and opportunities for investment and growth across Morecambe Bay and the Joint Promotion of the area as a great place to live, study and build a career. This initiative will become the Lancaster and South Cumbria Economic Region and will be promoted at economic conferences across the UK to encourage businesses to invest in the region.

We are committed to attracting inward investment, supporting of higher paid jobs and helping local towns and villages to thrive economically. SLDC undertook a South Lakeland Business Premises Survey in 2017 of which 1,143 businesses responded. The results showed that business owners felt upbeat about the economic future of the district. Almost a quarter of those who took part said they will be looking to change their premises in the next three years and one in six is expecting to increase staffing levels.


  • number of people employed in professional jobs in South Lakeland has risen from 37% in 2014 to 43% in 2017
  • new 'Invest in South Lakeland' website launched in 2018
  • 106 new jobs created
  • 530 new business start-ups
  • three business support events held
  • £2,596 Shop Front Grants paid
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