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Cameron must offer more to regions on jobs
Last week, our survey of 20 top East Lancashire companies revealed that many are planning to take on new staff in 2011.
As a boost to the economy (and especially in job numbers), it may be relatively insignificant but it does at least show that our biggest and best firms are capable of creating some of the positions needed to make up for the public sector misery expected this year.
Meanwhile, Mike Damms, the chief executive of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and a optimistic yet pragmatic supporter of our economic area, believes there are about 200 high-growth small and medium-sized businesses who will come up with new jobs in the next few years.
It is worth looking at this because last week the Prime Minister, accompanied by cronies like Lord Heseltine, visited the North West, popping into Liverpool and Manchester, although not East Lancashire.
When he stopped in Manchester, Mr Cameron gave what was clearly intended to be a rousing call-to-arms speech to a few hundred business leaders, some of which were doubtless from our part of the region.
I have lost count of the number of times the PM has talked of the Coalition Government having a 'pro-growth agenda', as if that is not the goal of all governments.
But it is much harder to pin down exactly what this means.
Alas, I wasn't invited to Mr Cameron's speech at the Manchester Central convention centre but I did read the full text of it on the 10 Downing Street website and it seemed to me to read like every other 'jobs' speech he has given for the past nine months.
So there was plenty of stuff about creating a pro-growth environment through low taxes and boosting the green economy, but not a lot else.
Mr Cameron also mentioned the economic boost from the Olympics, creating a UK Silicon Valley in East London and of backing Crossrail, the new train project designed to ease congestion in London.
It's all worthy stuff, of course, but is it likely to excite employers and entrepreneurs in Lancashire and the North West?
Equally, the Government has yet to give much clarity on how Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which are replacing the doomed development agencies, will help regional economies.
As a journalist, it is not for me to comment on the now politicised arguments in the LEPs vs development agencies discussion.
But it is surely time the PM realised that individual regions need some specific rhetoric on just how the Government plans to help private companies create the jobs to replace those that our councils will shed in the next few years.