Call for Fylde to join county’s strong business voice in region

Francis Egan of Cuadrilla

Francis Egan of Cuadrilla

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The man leading the bid to frack for gas on the Fylde has said the area has got what it takes to have a louder voice at the top table of the regional economy.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources the company behind shale gas exploration, said the county had the credentials to be able to be as influential as Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

He added that the county has more than 50,000 businesses, accounting for 20 per cent of the North West, has one of the strongest leisure and tourism offers led by Blackpool and has blue-chip firms such as aerospace giant BAE Systems, nuclear fuel manufacturer Westinghouse and the potential of a shale gas industry.

Cuadrilla is sponsoring the Construction Business of the Year award at the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, for a second successive year.

Mr Egan said: “Lancashire has a lot going for it and has many strings to its bow which other parts of the North West simply do not.

“A diverse economy is the key to a healthy economy and while Manchester and Liverpool may be strong in areas such as technology or financial services, Lancashire has strengths of its own to bring to the table.

“It is up to us in the business community as well as our political leaders and influencers to ensure we have as much of a say in what is happening with our region.

“There is a lot going on in the country now which will shape the way we do business for a long time, so we cannot afford to be timid, Lancashire must find its voice.”

The BIBAs has selected the winners of the 19 prizes which will be handed out at its prize-giving ceremony at The Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 19.

Its judging panels have selected the winners of its 17 main prize categories while winners have also been selected for its Most Inspiring Young Person Award and its lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year.

The Most Inspiring Young Person Award winner has been selected from names put forward by successful applications to its BIBAs Foundation, the awards’ charitable arm set up to award grants to groups behind youth enterprise.

This award was selected by a panel made up of Foundation sponsor, BAE Systems, the Community Foundation for Lancashire, which runs the charity with the BIBAs, and current Lancastrian of the Year, Ian Hall, chairman of Preston-based retail group, James Hall and Sons.