A NEW economic report is predicting the size of the economy in an area of Lancashire will grow to almost £4.3 billion by the end of 2023.
However, it has warned the Government’s “levelling-up” agenda will stall unless more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is attracted to the region.
According to Irwin Mitchell’s UK Powerhouse report, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), Preston’s economy will be £100 million larger in terms of the value and it will employ 1,800 more people by the end of 2023 compared to the last quarter of 2021.
Despite this increase, economic growth in Northern cities is expected to be exceeded by that of Southern counterparts.
The study says the South or East of England will be home to eight of the top 10 fastest growing cities by the end of next year.
Significantly, out of the 50 locations included in the study, over half of the slowest growing economies are expected to be in the North of England.
The report reveals despite the most recent stats pointing to a general fall in the number of FDI projects into the UK, the North West is in fourth place with a 10 percent reduction compared to 23 per cent falls in London and the South East.
UK Powerhouse also examines the latest trends in Foreign Direct Investment into the UK.
Partner and head of international at Irwin Mitchell, Bryan Bletso, said: “This latest UK Powerhouse report makes clear that northern towns and cities have huge potential.
“The UK Powerhouse report shows the North West is well placed to make the jump to higher performance in terms of FDI, having seen a smaller percentage change than other regions.
“The time to invest in Preston’s success is now and by doing so, the corresponding economic growth and job creation will go a long way towards safeguarding future prosperity and making levelling up a reality.
“With targeted investment for northern regions in growth areas such as the life sciences, coupled with polices and incentives to encourage new streams of FDI, many more should be able to follow in Manchester’s footsteps by recognising the transformative power of FDI on local economies.
“The North West ‘s fourth position for FDI is cause for real optimism and their performance in the coming years should prove a bellwether for the levelling up process going forwards.
“With a combination of business, local and central government backing, there’s no reason why the north can’t attract its fair share of investment still centred in the south and see the dreams of a true northern powerhouse become a reality.”