£75-million super plan for Grimsby's seafood sector is dispatched to Westminster
A £75-MILLION super plan for Grimsby to underline its claim to be Europe’s Food Town has been dispatched to Westminster – with a commitment to create 1,000 jobs.
North East Lincolnshire Council is championing the town’s burgeoning seafood sector, using the award-winning cluster as an example of the best practice required to bring in Regional Growth Fund money.
Hot on the heels of announcements from Morrisons, Young’s and SeaLincs, between them creating 500 jobs in recent weeks, the bit is well between the teeth with the authority and partners, as it targets money being poured into the economy as Britain looks to ensure the double-dip recession doesn’t fester.
A bid for £14-millon has been submitted to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills via the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, backed up with £61-million of private investment.
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And NELC is also a core player in a pan-Humber request for a £30-million hand-out for the renewables sector, backed up with £125-million of business pledges.
The South Bank element of that could hit £10-million, with 1,200 jobs eyed up as part of an overall vision of 2,900 roles, with much focused on the offshore wind energy operations and maintenance, already underway in Port of Grimsby East.
Jason Longhurst, head of development services at NELC, briefed the Grimsby Telegraph on the bid, having followed the progress since the Kerry Foods closure announcement at the turn of the year, with the loss of 337 jobs.
He said: “It is a superb bid to have worked on, and if successful will provide funds for infrastructure for the cluster as well as for individual companies too.
“It has the potential to deliver £14-million, matched by private sector investment of £61-million. That will deliver circa 970 jobs. We have also gone for accountable body status on that too. We see our responsibility, on the back of Morrisons’ decision, Young’s move, and other happenings, not as how can we protect what we have, but how we can be the leading food manufacturing hub. That will be built on the back of a very strong seafood sector.
The food bid is described as multi-layered, and due to individual businesses operating in a highly competitive market within metres of each others’ premises, much must remain confidential. However, a new Border Inspection Post at Immingham is part of the overall benefit, allowing the vital Immingham Docks to welcome more food products from far flung places, while eliminating cost savings of transporting imports to Grimsby for clearance.
Mr Longhurst acknowledged the support of the Grimsby-based companies that unite to champion the cluster.
He said: “This will really underpin recent announcements. We are saying we have a strong seafood cluster, we have unique and strong partnerships such as Humber Seafood Group, and that we not only listen to the sectors, we act.
“I am pleased the sector says ‘we need X, Y and Z’. It is a really strong approach, a strong bid, working with key partners, and led by Chris Shaw.
“Now it is about how we engage with MPs and other regional and national partners. They are all required to put pressure on to help this challenge.
“We are serious about this round here. We are here to support and enable.”