Lancashire becomes first LEP to join Northern Powerhouse as agreement is signed

Left Andrew Percy, Northern Powerhouse Minister, with right, Martin Kelly Director of Economic Development at Lancashire County Counci

Left Andrew Percy, Northern Powerhouse Minister, with right, Martin Kelly Director of Economic Development at Lancashire County Counci

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Northern Powerhouse minister Andrew Percy vowed to be “the voice of the north in Central Governement” as he signed an agreement to make Lancashire LEP the first Local Enterprise Partnership to officially to join the initiative.

He was speaking as he addressed business leaders from across the county before visiting UCLan and Lancashire County Council bosses.

The Minister was joined at the conference at Burnley Football Club’s stadium Turf Moor by Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, Edwin Booth, Chairman of the Lancashire LEP, and councillor Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council and Chairman of the shadow Lancashire Combined Authority.

The guests were first greeted to a promotional video presented by Marketing Lancashire’s Ruth Connor, which showcased the economic and social strengths of the county.

Mr Percy, only recently appointed as the new Northern Powerhouse Minister, moved to reassure fears the project would never take off, and also that the big cities of Manchester and Leeds would dominate at the expense of the counties.

He said: “All voices are equal. I want to make absolutely clear that all areas of the north are important to the Northern Powerhouse. Lancashire is very much at the heart.”

Mr Booth said: “The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is delighted to be the first LEP in the country to confirm its position as an official Northern Powerhouse partner and to play a full and active role in the Powerhouse initiative. We wanted to mark this occasion by inviting the Minister to Lancashire so he can see for himself the continuing, credible progress the Lancashire LEP and partners are making.”