Warrington means business

TWO weeks ago, respected think tank the Centre for Cities published its ‘Cities Outlook 2014’ report. It came to a startling conclusion.

TWO weeks ago, respected think tank the Centre for Cities published its ‘Cities Outlook 2014’ report. It came to a startling conclusion.

When all the cities in the country were ranked according to their economic performance over the past 12 months, Warrington was the 10th best performing ‘city’ in the UK, beating the likes of Bristol, Sheffield and Belfast.

Some of the underlying data was even more astonishing.

In the whole of the UK, there are only two cities (Reading and Gloucester) with higher employment rates than Warrington’s at 77.5 per cent. The borough is adding new jobs at a rate of 4.5 per cent per year, bettered only by London, Edinburgh and Brighton.

Warrington ranked 10th for the highest average weekly earnings, 5th for the ratio of private sector to public sector jobs and 10th for the number of business start-ups per capita.

All the evidence points to a quiet economic renaissance taking place in Warrington, which has now shed its ‘crap northern town’ image. Liverpool and Manchester continue to perform well (both made the top 10) but Warrington is starting to snap at their heels.

Most of the wireworks which made the town famous may now have disappeared, but they are being replaced by other skilled engineering jobs.

Just recently the engineering firm AMEC announced 300 new jobs would be created in Birchwood, most linked to the nuclear industry.

Omega is finally realising its potential. Brakes Ltd, Travis Perkins and Hermes have all moved in to their new premises and the giant Asda depot is now being constructed. Ombudsman Services are planning to double the number of staff they employ.

The council (both under its current and previous leadership) and its officers deserve a decent slice of the credit for this transformation. They have been willing to take long term decisions and see projects through. The regeneration of Bridge Street is the next such project on the table and I hope that will be as successful.

But the message to the rest of the UK is clear, Warrington Means Business!


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