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Friday 12 December 2014

£20m funding to grow Cheshire East and Greater Manchester life science industry confirmed by Chancellor


The Life Science industry in Cheshire East and Greater Manchester will benefit from a £20m Local Growth Fund award confirmed by the Chancellor George Osborne.

It takes the total value of the fund to £42m.

The award is heralded as a sign of confidence by the Government that Cheshire and Greater Manchester can create and deliver a vibrant specialist economy around the bioscience and life science sector.

The Chancellor has been convinced by the business case put forward by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.

With a further £7m from the private sector, added to the £15m already pledged through the Alderley Park Investment Fund, Cheshire and Greater Manchester will be able to play a major role in developing a core life science R&D industry in the region.

The fund demonstrates the commitment of both Cheshire and Greater Manchester to support and grow the life science sector, helping to establish the region as a world player in the development of new drugs, pharmaceuticals and healthcare technologies.

It reflects the great working partnership between Cheshire East Council, the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and Manchester Science Partnerships.

The award comes just two months after Cheshire East Council announced a £5m contribution to a £15m fund set up to support start-up businesses at Alderley Park.

Council Leader Michael Jones said: “Cheshire East is re-establishing itself at the forefront of bioscience technology.

“The loss of jobs at Alderley Park due to the relocation of some of AstraZeneca’s operations was a serious blow but we are rapidly re-building and the further news from the Chancellor of a £200m advanced materials institute in Manchester will further enhance the reputation of Cheshire and Greater Manchester in the world of scientific research and discovery.”

“All this will attract highly skilled people and leading scientists to work and live in Cheshire East.  Great news.”

An independent report recently estimated that the Life Science Investment Fund could assist in the region of 60 life science businesses to grow over the next 15 years.

In turn this could create around 370 skilled scientific jobs.

It is a hugely important sector contributing enormous benefits to the local and national economy and will play a strategic role in the region’s aspirations to achieve a £35bn economy by 2030.

Working with colleagues in Manchester, the Cheshire science corridor is the engine for the North West’s growing knowledge economy.

Christine Gaskell from the Cheshire and Warrington LEP said: “We are really delighted that Government has pledged such commitment to the very strong submission made in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

“The Cheshire Science Corridor is one of the sub-region’s strategic priorities and this fund will provide the necessary financial boost to support the undeniable intellectual capital that exists in this area. This is a major growth sector and we want to attract world-class talent to live and work in this area.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “Manchester is already a key location for life sciences and this fund will help us encourage further expansion and strengthen the regional hub here.

“This is good news for Manchester, good news for Cheshire and good news for the North as a whole.”

Mike Blackburn, Chair of the Greater Manchester LEP said: “This is fantastic news for Greater Manchester and a further boost to the city region’s growing status as a major facilitator in science and technology developments.

“It also demonstrates our growing partnership with Cheshire, delivering great mutual benefits.”

“Life sciences in particular is a growth sector for Manchester and this new funding will go some distance in supporting new research and importantly, making valuable business collaborations.”

Andy Allan, Finance Director of Manchester Science Partnerships said: “combining the Alderley Park funds with an LGF-backed regional fund gives us the required greater scale.

“Alderley Park is a world class facility with a highly skilled workforce but there is a recognised gap in the availability of funding for life science businesses.  Our commitment to create a unique funding structure will ensure that the sector realises its full regional growth potential.”

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