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Awards 2024
John Grainger

What does the election mean for Cumbria and BECBC members?

As I write we are in the first week of a new Labour Government and the word " Change" which was used in their successful campaign is being played out in these very early days. Cumberland like a lot of places in the north of England returned Labour MP's in constituencies which had been held previously by Conservatives. For the Business Cluster the newly formed constituency of Workington and Whitehaven has given a sharper geographical focus on where the nuclear assets are deployed as well as the majority of the supply chain. But the first business of the new Prime Minister following his visit to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales was to convene a meeting of Metro Mayors at Downing Street before flying to Washington for the NATO Meeting. Early indications are that there will be further devolved power, and the resources to go with it, handed down to the English regions. This new forum will meet regularly, and informally but clearly will have some critical input into the way forward economically. The County of Cumbria whilst not currently having a directly elected Mayor will need to move quickly to formalise arrangements with both of the Councils within the geography to ensure that a devolution deal can be agreed with or without a formal Mayorality decision.

Cumbria is extremely well placed to deliver on the Clean and Green agenda and has plans that will be able to have first mover advantage in talks with Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State. Separate to that but on the same agenda, the incoming MP for Whitehaven and Workington has stated that new nuclear is at the top of his agenda and we at BECBC have no doubt that he will be pressing for this to be explored by Great British Energy utilising the site at Moorside owned by NDA in the hope that meaningful discussions and a plan for action can be assembled as an imperative.

More will be written on how the new Government is fairing and its relevance to the ambitions of Business Cluster members, but the pace of change as I write probably means that further discourse at this stage could be obsolete by the end of the month.

Finally, if you were not already aware the phrase " levelling up" has been consigned to history by the incoming Government as just being a phrase or a gimmick, although for those of us in the north this has a continuing meaning and relevance.

John Grainger

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