STUART Klosinski, director of industrial development at Furness Enterprise (below) said: “There is no doubt that the credit crunch crisis, rising fuel and energy costs, are impacting on investors, companies and households.
“Retailers need more customers. This month manufacturing in the USA is reporting growth and that growth could spread to the UK.
“Furness Enterprise sought the views of business across Furness, large and small, in March.
“All the evidence was that the good times are not over in this area, one of the UK’s Assisted Areas Government wants to see develop.
“Companies report good existing and future order books.
“They are more pessimistic about the national economy that the Furness economy over the coming year, saying locally it will perform well, nationally it will decline slightly. What’s behind this?
“Historically, when near recessionary times have occurred defence, energy and electronics sectors have done well.
“We have that situation now, BAE Systems recruited more than 350 people between November 2007 and March 2008. More people are coming in, EXPRO are planning major growth, as are several electronic firms.
“We have a big demand by business for skilled people. Furness has double the UK average employment in manufacturing. It is the financial service sector, and areas that depend on it, that may suffer more over the next year or so.
“Skilled jobs mean more wealth creation. The new waterfront development is developing rapidly. It will offer a whole new range of opportunities. Investment by University, Furness College, Barrow Sixth Form College and Academy will dramatically improve educational opportunities.
“Yes, we have the challenge of worklessness, of responding to the planned restructuring at Glaxo-SmithKline, and the current crisis in confidence in the financial, retail and property markets, but there are some exciting opportunities for Furness about to be realised. There are good times ahead.”