BURNLEY’s business and political leaders embarked on a ‘trade mission’ to London yesterday in a bid to attract investment.
A delegation, including representatives from almost 30 employers from the borough, met Business Minister Michael Fallon at a private event in Westminster last night.
Burnley Council’s chief executive, Steve Rumbelow, said firms were ‘refusing to rest on their laurels’ after Burnley was named as the most enterprising area in the UK last August. The networking event was held at The Royal Society’s headquarters in Carlton House Terrace, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace.
It was attended by numerous business leaders from the capital and Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the Centre for Cities think tank.
Mr Rumbelow said: “The reason she is important is that they are very well-respected group that successive governments have listened to as economic number-crunchers.
“Their story with Burnley started 10 years ago, when they highlighted it as a place with little future – now it’s the prime example of a came back economy. Their message is that we are on the up.”
Ms Jones said: “There is some good news about start-ups in Burnley and an increase in real wages.
“There are challenges to do with skill-building but projects like the Todmorden Curve are absolutely a step in the right direction.”
Big name firms such as AMS Neve, VEKA and BCW Engineering were all present at the event, which was hosted by former Lancashire Telegraph reporter Tony Livesey.
Mr Rumbelow said: “It was about promoting Burnley and Lancashire to ministers and shareholders that we don’t normally see up north.
“With the support of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, we structured it like the Prime Minister would for a trade mission abroad.
“The leader and deputy leader of the council were here along with around 30 businesses, all talking to people. We discussed the enterprise award but it’s more about progress and opportunities to invest.
“The key thing is that from here we get on the phones and move forwards by convincing the people that Burnley is the place to invest.”