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Leading Cumbrian firms join powerhouse export initiative

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed the news that two of the county’s leading firms and global exporters, New Balance UK and Playdale, have joined the Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme.

The government initiative brings together businesses and organisations from across the North of England. There are currently over 170 businesses and organisations signed up to the programme, a network of partners seeking to drive forward the economic potential of the North, as well as supporting the required combined effort by government and business to realise that potential.

Northern Powerhouse exports now account for nearly 20% of the UK’s total goods and services output. According to the latest statistics, exports have helped propel the value of the Northern Powerhouse economy to £330 billion – greater than the economies of Austria, Belgium or Norway.

Flimby based New Balance UK employs 270 people at its site, producing 500,000 pairs of shoes a week with 80% of sales revenues from exports.

Playdale is a Cumbrian family business dating back to 1735. Its head office, manufacturing facilities and global distribution centre are situated on the edge of the Lake District near Ulverston. To date, it has created over 22,000 play areas in 47 countries across the world.

Barry Leahey MBE, Managing Director of Playdale, said: “We are extremely proud to become a Northern Powerhouse partner and will do all we can to encourage and inspire other Northern businesses, not yet exporting, to work with the Department for International Trade and explore their exporting potential.”

Cumbria LEP Chief Executive Jo Lappin added: “Playdale and New Balance are already strong, highly experienced exporters, and I am delighted that their expertise is being recognised. Clearly, joining the Northern Powerhouse Partners programme is good news for both companies and for Cumbria’s economy.

“Over £7 million has been committed to establish a Northern Powerhouse Taskforce to boost trade and investment across the North, and the LEP wants to make sure that more of our firms are benefitting from this and driving up exports, growth and productivity in the North of England.

“Cumbria has an excellent manufacturing sector and success stories like these are crucial to maintaining our strong and resilient local economy.”

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