A decade ago Burnley BC, working with its business partners, set out an ambitious five-point plan to turn around the town’s economic fortunes and deliver growth. With hard work and tenacity it has delivered its plan, wiping away negative perceptions, attracting investment and generating tangible economic growth in terms of jobs and greater value added. It has turned a post-industrial northern town into a Northern Powerhouse bright spot. It has rediscovered its purpose, its self-belief and has the confidence and ambition to continue growing.
Cornwall Council’s public protection service is one of the biggest regulatory services in the country, with a role that protects the public and supports the business community to be regulatory compliant. The service has introduced an efficient delivery model that provides discretionary business support products and services, generates additional income and supports the sustainable delivery of frontline services. These innovative models and services are also being shared and widely communicated to other councils.
Croydon is the UK’s fastest growing economy, with an annual growth rate of 9.3% in gross value added – nearly three times the UK average increase of 3.4%. Home to more than a thousand digital, creative, and technology companies, Croydon is beginning to rival Shoreditch in east London in attracting technology companies. The council’s interventions to stimulate growth, including providing new homes, jobs and school places, improving the environment and providing business services, are paying dividends.
Darlington BC worked with local businesses and partners to create an economic strategy in 2012 that has been key to driving the town’s economy. The strategy sets the ambition for Darlington and has helped create the conditions that have led to it achieving the highest economic growth nationally outside of London in 2014.
Leicester City Council
Leicester is investing in its future. Regeneration continues to transform the city, businesses are expanding, the unemployment rate is decreasing and employers are moving into the city. Leicester City Council has an ambitious strategy for investment in the city’s economy. It is playing a central role in driving economic growth in Leicester and building on the substantial investment already made in the city. The strategy focuses on the strong entrepreneurial spirit of Leicester’s business community, its location and connectivity with the rest of the UK and the world.
Newcastle City Council
Science Central is the result of long-term, committed partnership between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University. Spanning 24 acres of prime city-centre development land in Newcastle, the project is designed to support a thriving community, rewarding jobs and scientific advances. Science Central is restoring previously run-down areas in the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne. Combining cutting-edge architecture with new public spaces, world-renowned scientific expertise and leading-edge companies, it will be an innovation hub where investors, businesses, entrepreneurs, students, scientists and citizens collaborate.
Rochdale MBC and the Rochdale Development Agency have a proven track record of leading and supporting economic growth through excellent work with the private and public sector. With ambitious plans to scale up this activity through the Northern Gateway initiative, working closely with the combined authority and local enterprise partnership, the economic growth potential is huge. Proactive work with business has fostered productive relationships that support growth, create new jobs and supply chain opportunities, and increases gross value added and business rates income.
Southampton City Council
Southampton City Council’s leadership of integrated economic development and skills has resulted in tangible, extensive and inclusive growth. More than £1.6bn of investment has already been generated towards the £3bn masterplan for the city, realising the development of sites even during recession. This has led to PwC identifying Southampton as the most improved city for “good growth”. Southampton’s alignment of opportunities for local residents has resulted in low unemployment and low levels of young people not in employment, education or training.
Telford & Wrekin Council
Telford & Wrekin has developed a unique proposition for the commercial and residential market that is driving growth in the borough. It is delivering new jobs, helping it to strengthen families, address pockets of high deprivation and create aspiration to attract jobs and diversify the housing market. A recent Department for International Trade event highlighted Telford & Wrekin’s work as best practice.
In Thurrock’s growth programme, more than £6bn of investment is driving the creation of 26,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes during the next 15 years. Building on the borough’s location, at the heart of South East Local Enterprise Partnership area and the Thames Gateway, Thurrock’s programme includes the creation of the UK’s first 21st century container port (London Gateway), Europe’s largest green technology park (Thames Enterprise Park) and the expansion of one of the largest retail destinations in the country (Lakeside Basin).
A word from the award’s sponsor
Grant Thornton is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the LGC Awards and our congratulations go to those shortlisted for Driving Growth. Changes to local government funding means that driving growth will become ever more critical for the sustainability of service provision for all local authorities. The shortlisted councils demonstrate some great examples of where this is already happening. For more information on the growth agenda in England please see our Vibrant Economy Index.
Paul Dossett, head of local government, 020 7728 3180, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Houghton, partner, Grant Thornton
Neil McInroy, chief executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategies
Neil Taylor, chief executive, Bassetlaw DC
Diana Terris, chief executive, Barnsley MBC