Leader of Northamptonshire County Council Cllr Jim Harker has welcomed the news that Northampton has been recognised by a government think tank as the town or city making the best recovery from recession in the UK.
Cllr Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “A tremendous amount of work has taken place to help create the necessary conditions to bring prosperity to Northamptonshire and our county town and indeed this is a major priority for the county council.
“Receiving this recognition goes to show that working in partnership with other councils and organisations which have the same ambitions can be extremely beneficial.
“The county council, Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, West Northamptonshire Development Corporation and Northampton Alive have all worked closely with the borough council, and this news is a welcome recognition of that.
“The county was recently recognised by the Government as the most enterprising place in Britain, and this new accolade further reflects the enormous effort which has been taking place.
“We want Northamptonshire to be the place that people want to come to do business and it is important that Northampton, our county town, continues to prosper as our economy starts to expand.”
The Centre for Cities think tank has released its Cities Outlook report which shows the recovery of towns and cities since 2008, and the news has been welcomed by the University of Northampton.
Ross Thompson, senior lecturer in corporate strategy and finance at Northampton Business School at the university, said: “This is very encouraging news for Northampton and the region in general and should give grounds for cautious optimism in terms of economic growth and jobs.
“Our region benefits from a number of inherent strengths including excellent communication links, a diversified local economy and a strong logistics and transport infrastructure.”
Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of The University of Northampton, said: “Northampton’s position in this report is encouraging, and the regeneration of the town can only continue with initiatives such as the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone acting as catalysts for further economic growth.
“The University of Northampton is proud that projects such as our new halls of residence at St John’s and the Daventry and Silverstone University Technical Colleges are bringing further jobs and development into the area.”
Liberal Democrat county councillor and, former regeneration cabinet member at Northampton Borough Council, Richard Church, also welcomed the report, but warned that more work needs to be done to boost low skills.
Cllr Church said “There is a lot of hard work that has gone in over the past four years from a number of agencies and political parties.
“However we must not be complacent.
“The fact that 15.9 per cent of the town’s residents have low skills is deeply concerning for future growth.”
For more information on how the county council is helping boost prosperity in Northamptonshire visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/kickstart.