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Accelerating Growth in the North West

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A new private sector-led board has been tasked with transforming the growth of the North West economy, by focusing on investment in high growth innovation and large scale infrastructure projects. Atlantic Gateway currently includes the Liverpool and Manchester city regions as well as the surrounding areas of Cheshire and Warrington, and provides a significant investment opportunity to accelerate growth.

Geoff Muirhead, chair of Atlantic Gateway, said: “This vastly experienced, business-led board will position Atlantic Gateway as the best prospect for substantial job creation anywhere in the country today. Our contribution to improving economic performance is closely aligned to the Government’s objective of rebalancing the economy. Success will bring massive benefits and while we can’t under-estimate the size of the challenge we face, we’ll be working closely with the local enterprise partnerships to add value to what is already being hailed as the major UK growth opportunity outside London.”

The scheme has already attracted heavyweight national and international support, including in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Autumn Statement, where the Rt Hon George Osborne (MP for Tatton, Cheshire) welcomed the opportunity to make the Atlantic Gateway vision a reality.

The Atlantic Gateway work will focus initially on three key priorities which have the potential to transform the economy: Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, the development of the Port and Ship Canal network and the Northern Hub rail development.

Notes to editors:

Atlantic Gateway is the most significant opportunity in the UK to attract investment, accelerate growth and rebalance the economy. It is a proposition to create a critical mass to achieve a new level of growth not previously achieved in the UK outside of London. By 2030, there is the potential for some 250,000 new jobs to be created in the Atlantic Gateway area and around 140,000 of these jobs will be associated with priority projects involving £14bn of new investment.

Three key priorities have been identified initially for the Atlantic Gateway board: Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, the development of the Port and Ship Canal network and the Northern Hub rail development. These are underpinned by five main themes: growth, connectivity, infrastructure, sustainability and talent.

Geoff Muirhead is the new chair of the Atlantic Gateway board. From an early career in the construction industry, Geoff recently retired from the role of chief executive of the Manchester Airport Group, a position he held for 17 years. He was awarded the CBE in 2004, adding to his significant personal achievements which include honorary doctorates and fellowships from prestigious organisations. In addition to his chairmanship of Atlantic Gateway, Geoff is also a member of the North West Regional Leaders Board, chair of the IPPR Commission reviewing the future economic prospects for the north of England, non-executive chairman of Ask Developments and a governor at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The board members of Atlantic Gateway are:

Geoff Muirhead CBE Private sector

Dennis Bate CBE Private sector

John Downes Private sector

Peter Nears Private sector

Roger Milburn Private sector and Greater Manchester LEP

Steve O’Connor Private and Liverpool City Region LEP

Martin Ashcroft Private and Cheshire and Warrington LEP

Walter Menzies Voluntary sector – environmental representative

Cllr John Merry CBE Public sector – Association of Greater Manchester Authorities

Cllr Rob Polhill Public sector – Liverpool City Region

Cllr Terry O’Neill Public sector – Cheshire and Warrington

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