Westmorland and Furness Council welcomes £200 million Barrow investment announcement

Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Westmorland and Furness Council, has welcomed today’s announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of more than £200 million over the next decade to ensure Barrow thrives as the home of UK nuclear submarine-building.

She said: “This is a momentous day for Barrow, for its communities, and indeed for the wider Westmorland and Furness area.

“We want Barrow to be even more vibrant, with a strong local retail, hospitality and cultural offer; opportunities to improve health and wellbeing through more sport, leisure, active travel and access to open spaces; a strong, diverse, affordable housing market and great transport connections across our region and beyond. And we want a strong and diverse economy which provides good work and supports our natural environment.

“As well as BAE Systems, we already have a strong economy, with particular strengths in green and renewable energy and advanced manufacturing. We want our economy to grow further and support the expansion of the area in the years to come. We know we need to work across the education and skills sectors to enable both people moving here, and our resident population to be ready to seize the opportunities we now face.

“The Government and industry commitment today to increase skills, jobs and training across the nuclear sector and to formally recognise the significance of the national endeavour is a huge boost for a place like Barrow, where one in three of our working age population already work for BAE Systems and the wider supply chain, building one of the most advanced products on the planet.

“As the home of the UK’s submarine building capability, Barrow is central to the national endeavour. The announcement today of the creation of the Barrow Transformation Fund of over £200m over 10 years is fantastic for the town and wider area. Barrow is already a great place to live, work and thrive, but it faces challenges and it still needs significant investment in its infrastructure and communities to really grow.

“The scale of this investment increases exponentially when expansion at BAE Systems is factored in. New people moving here need places to live but also good health care, access to education for their children, leisure and cultural opportunities and much, much  more, which in turn need people.

“Our Team Barrow partnership with HM Government and BAE Systems is already working to meet these challenges and this funding announced today is solid backing to ensure we can deliver.

“We welcome the establishment of the Barrow Delivery Board, which will bring together central and local government and BAE Systems, and the opportunity for local leaders to now grasp this opportunity and drive it forward, with our partners and our local community to really establish Barrow as a significant northern powerhouse town.

“Over recent years we have already secured over £50m to build a new university campus, improve our housing stock, create new community facilities and revamp our market hall to create a vibrant, modern offer.  But we know this will only scratch the surface, and if we are truly to level up our area and ensure everyone has the opportunity to flourish and contribute we need to go further and faster, and we need to work with our communities in different ways to tackle some of the issues they face on a daily basis.”

On a visit to Barrow today with Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, the Prime Minster declared a “national endeavour” to secure the future of the UK’s thriving defence and civil nuclear industry.

With Barrow central to that as the home of the UK’s Astute-class nuclear submarines – the most advanced attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy – and the new Dreadnought programme and UK AUKUS submarine production, he announced the creation of a Barrow Transformation Fund, with the Government committing an immediate £20 million and a further minimum of £20 million a year over the next 10 years to make Barrow an even more attractive place to live, work, and build a nuclear career.

The initial projects planned to begin in Barrow this financial year are:

  • a £5m Social Impact Fund to provide grants to local organisations and charities, putting Barrow’s thriving community sector on a surer footing;
  • a £5m Barrow Work and Health fund, to help tackle economic inactivity and improve health outcomes;
  • £10.59m for the completion of the A595 Grizebeck Bypass upgrade scheme.

Click here to read the government’s announcement.


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