Liverpool and London business leaders gathered at the prestigious Mansion House today (Wednesday 17th February) to discuss unlocking private sector investment in the Northern Powerhouse.
Guest of honour Lord Heseltine addressed more than 120 dignitaries and businesses, hailing Liverpool as one of the ‘leading lights’ in the Northern Powerhouse and the gateway to the Atlantic.
Speaking at the home and office of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Lord Heseltine said: “Liverpool’s historic devolution agreement will give the city more power which will in turn unlock more of the private sector investment needed to drive growth and create jobs.
“Liverpool has a real opportunity to shape its own destiny and it will be important to set clear priorities for investment for it to really thrive as part of the Northern Powerhouse.”
Liverpool saw a record number of new start-ups in 2015 with 4,473 new businesses created. In the same year, the city also saw a 33 per cent increase in office take-up in the professional services sector.
“Continued investment is so important to further attract businesses to take up a base here,” said John Hall, chief executive of Professional Liverpool, the organisation hosting the event.
With an economy of more than £121bn, guests heard about some of the major investments in the city, spanning ports and log
istics, life sciences and low carbon. This includes the £1.8bn SuperPort plan and deep water container terminal Liverpool2, £15m Sensor City university scheme and new city health campus featuring the £25m new Life Sciences Accelerator building.
Global consumer giant Unilever has made considerable investment into Merseyside including the £6.9m project at Liverpool Science Park enabling cutting edge research into home and personal care products and the new Centre for Materials Discovery.
Addressing delgates, Dr Jonathan Hague, vice president of Open Innovation at Unilever R&D, said: “We have put significant investment into our R&D capabilities in the Liverpool City Region and have exciting plans in the pipeline such as the £68m Materials Innovation Factory and £24m Advanced Manufacturing Centre.
“The Liverpool City Region’s world class science base and strong partnership connections we have here make it an attractive location for us.”
Robert Hough, chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The City Region’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, while the case for private sector investment has never been articulated with more clarity and cohesion.
“The key growth sectors are continuing to expand and generate new high value jobs and we believe the region has a compelling offer in terms of skills, affordability and quality of life.
“The whole Northern Powerhouse agenda is also of crucial importance to those sectors as the City Region needs to maintain the best possible physical links to both existing and new markets.”
Ellen Cutler, director of Invest Liverpool, the city’s inward investment agency, said: “The city has made astonishing progress in recent years and is attracting global attention as a destination for companies wishing to capitalise on a relatively low property and employment costs combined with a workforce which is highly skilled in particular sectors. In finance, life sciences and a range of other sectors, Liverpool has a distinctive proposition which businesses in London and the South East are increasingly taking advantage of.”
John Hall added: “The lunch offered the perfect opportunity to encourage more private sector investment in Liverpool. The city is an essential driving force in the Government’s vision for a united North and we want to make sure Liverpool is firmly on the radar.”