BURNLEY is ‘leading the way’ in Britain’s economic recovery, Business Minister Michael Fallon has said.

Mr Fallon addressed the borough’s business and political leaders during their ‘trade mission’ to London on Wednesday evening.

Burnley Council’s chief executive, Steve Rumbelow, said the event was ‘a big success’.

And Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities think tank, said Burnley was 10th best town in the UK for creating private sector jobs.

Mr Rumbelow led a delegation which included representatives from almost 30 Burnley firms to meet ministers and investors in Westminster.

The trip was arranged on the back of last year's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills award success, when the borough was named the most enterprising area in the UK.

Mr Fallon was among those to heap praise on Burnley’s economy during a speech at The Royal Society’s headquarters in Carlton House Terrace.

He said: “Burnley has indeed a strong package to offer investors. It has a proactive and supportive business environment, a good infrastructure and highly skilled workforce.

“I think that Burnley is leading the way, where more businesses are being created than are closing down. Burnley is a championship town that was once - and we hope will again be - in the Premiership.”

Former Lancashire Telegraph reporter Tony Livesey was compère at the event, which included a quiz on the town’s heritage.

Mr Rumbelow said: “It seemed to go very, very well. We met a number of contacts that we are following up, and one or two of them have already agreed to come to Burnley and see what we can offer.

“That was one of the main objectives. It was great to see businesses meeting other businesses. That contact between people is what we want to build on.”

Referring to Burnley’s private sector jobs numbers, Ms Jones said: “This is an enormous achievement. It’s an impressive statistic and a real achievement to be up there in the top ten based on national data.”