The Labour Party has named Preston City Council as its most business-friendly.
The announcement was made at an annual event recognising good work achieved across the country by politicians for small and medium sized businesses. Preston was one of several councils from all over the UK nominated.
One of the highlights of the the council’s work over the last four years has been its collaboration with public institutions.
Working with the University of Central Lancashire and the County Council, Preston City Council created the Preston Co-operative Network designed to help businesses transition to co-operative status. The idea is based on the successful Mondragon Co-operative Group in Spain and aims to fill gaps in the local business supply chain.
By creating a Community Interest Company, run by enthusiastic businesses in Winckley Square, the city has also succeeded in bringing in millions of pounds of external funding grants to develop the square and now makes the buildings and infrastructure attractive for new businesses.
This work by the City Council in leading the public sector to buy goods and services locally has even been recognised by the EU with ten other European cities involved in an associated project with Preston.
The council says the EU wants to fund this for a further two years to transfer the knowledge and experience to further cities, institutions and national governments across Europe.
Councillor Peter Rankin, leader of the council, said: “We are thrilled that our initiative is recognised across not just the UK but across Europe as well.
“We are fortunate that Preston and Lancashire is home to many innovative and growing businesses. Supporting our local business community and creating jobs for Preston and Lancashire people is an important part of our work in Preston. Clearly we are ambitious and want Preston to help Lancashire become a crucial part of the Northern Powerhouse.”
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