Preston City Council leader Matthew Brown told Lancashire businesses that the “Preston Model” has brought £489m back into the local economy at a meeting aimed at encouraging county businesses to follow its example.
Cllr Matthew Brown was a keynote speaker at the special event held at Samlesbury Hotel on 5th September. The “Bring Back a Billion” campaign is aimed at encouraging Lancashire businesses to spend more of their budgets locally.
Businesses are urged to sign the pledge to divert just five per cent more of their annual spend to county suppliers. The value of the county’s total expenditure is around £30bn and five per cent of that represents £1.5bn, which inspired the campaign name.
The gathering heard that almost 100 companies and organisations have now signed up to the drive, with millions of pounds already being kept in the county’s economy.
Campaign organiser Richard Slater told the meeting at Samlesbury Hotel: “This is not a badge, it’s not about a logo. It is a movement, it is a vision and it is starting to get traction. We are creating something that shines a light on the county.”
A top panel of speakers and more than 70 participants took place in the campaign’s first major event.
Preston City Council leader Matthew Brown told the meeting that the local authority’s globally-acclaimed “Preston Model” approach to doing business and community wealth building is now worth £489m to Lancashire’s economy, according to the latest figures.
Cllr Brown also told the gathering of plans to set up a community bank to provide access to finance for businesses in the county.
He said that the heart of the Preston Model was encouraging the city’s large-scale institutions to buy from local suppliers. And he added: “It is about trying to spend a bit more in Preston and in Lancashire.”
Cllr Brown said the approach was benefitting local businesses in a range of sectors. And he added: “We are trying to make procurement easier for local business and encouraging companies to take opportunities.”
He was joined at the meeting by Melissa Conlon, commercial director at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Bipin Patel, business consultant at Guide Security, Chris Durham, commercial director at Ronset, Mark Edwards, operations director at Seriun and Julian Silverwood, director at Silverwoods Waste Management.
The Lancashire business leaders from all parts of the county took part in a panel discussion on the campaign and its future.
Mark Edwards told the audience that his company was actively seeking Lancashire suppliers. He said: “As we spend more with local companies and build those relationships we are getting better service to be honest, and that makes a difference.”
He said that the business was now bringing back between £100,000 and £150,000 into Lancashire and when buying it looked to find county businesses first. He added: “The more we can push that message out the better.”
Melisa Conlon said the construction of the new AMRC building on the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone was a major opportunity for local companies and the aim was to put as much work as possible to businesses in the county.
She said AMRC in the North West was also working to get more Lancashire businesses on its supply chain framework.
And she added: “We are trying to buy local when possible. We go around and we are amazed about the things we are making in Lancashire.”
Julian Silverwood said his waste management business was spending just over £1.4m in Lancashire and was looking to work with more county-based businesses.
Chris Durham told the audience it had been buying supplies in Sussex but had now switched to a company in Preston, which meant £10,000 a year was now being kept in the local economy.
Bipin Patel said relationship building was vital for the success of the campaign. He added: “It is not just about us getting what we want, it is about giving what we can, and bringing that to the table.”
For further information go to www.buyitinlancashire.co.uk/.