University provides major multi-million pound boost

UCLan's Prof  Mike Thomas
UCLan's Prof Mike Thomas
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PRESTON’S university is “financial powerhouse” in Lancashire and the North West, according to a new report.

Latest figures highlight the major economic impact the University of Central Lancashire has not only in the city but across the region.

The newly-commissioned report shows that during 2013/14 the institution contributed £200m to the North West economy and, through a range of economic effects, supported 4,300 full-time equivalent jobs across the region.

In that time UCLan directly employed 3,290 staff, making it one of the largest employers in Preston.

UCLan, which has UK campuses in Burnley and Westlakes, Cumbria, is hailed as an important contributor to the economy as a purchaser of local goods and services.

In 2013/14 it spent £15 million on suppliers based throughout Lancashire and the North West.

With 36,000 students it is the largest university in the county and has the ninth largest undergraduate population of all UK universities and,t he data showed that the 18,390 full-time students residing in the North West spent a total of £210m throughout the region, with £155m of that being spent in Lancashire during 2013/14.

Professor Mike Thomas, UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We have known for a long time that the university has a positive impact on the local and regional economy, but to have this verified in this comprehensive report is fantastic news.

“We work very closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership and the report helps us understand how we can continue to maximise our local economic and social impacts as we implement the university’s strategy.

Prof Thomas added:“As an ‘anchor institution’ within Preston, the university has a key stake in the future of the area and generates significant levels of spend and numbers of jobs. Importantly, we help bring talented people into the region and to Preston which brings additional benefits to the visitor economy.”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, of which UCLan is a member, said: “UCLan’s contribution to the economy of Preston, Lancashire and the North West as a whole cannot be underestimated.”

She added: “To have one of the country’s best universities situated at the heart of our capital city is yet another reason for Prestonians to be such a proud group of people.”

Prof Thomas added that UCLan’s multi-million masterplan which will see the university area transformed over the next decade, will also create more jobs.

He said: “However, the university’s focus is ensuring the region has a talented and skilled labour pool so it can compete on a global level.”

The report was prepared by Regeneris Consulting,