Business leaders, politicians and prominent figures associated with Burnley have been queueing up to sing the town’s praises after it was named “The Most Enterprising Area in the UK”.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley Express editor Chris Daggett and Tony Blair’s former director of communications Alastair Campbell all agreed it was a fitting recognition.
Mr Birtwistle said: “This is great news. Over the last few years investment in the town has blossomed beyond all belief.
“Companies are expanding which are on the leading edge of aerospace, oil and nuclear technologies.
“The Burnley Bondholders have done a fantastic job in promoting the town and I know that Business Secretary Vince Cable was very impressed by what he has seen and heard from them on numerous visits to the town.
“He came away convinced that Burnley was a place that would take great advantage of any investment.
“There has been a great deal of private investment too. You only have to look at some of the projects being worked on at the moment to see that the town has a bright future.”
Mr Birtwistle highlighted the restoration of the Todmorden Curve rail link, which will cut journey times to Manchester.
The chief executive of Burnley Council, Steve Rumbelow, agreed that “connectivity” had been an issue in the past, but added the new link would generate an extra £8m. a year in income for the Burnley economy.”
The new French managing director of Burnley’s biggest private sector employer Aircelle also added his voice of congratulations.
Stéphane Cueille said: “When I arrived in Burnley I was very impressed by the breadth of the manufacturing – there’s a vibrant aerospace and automotive sector, which is supported by many service businesses and an excellent property market.
“I’m also very impressed by the way Burnley’s private and public sectors work together for the greater good, which is demonstrated by the work of the Bondholder Network.
“Burnley Council is very business friendly – we’re working closely with them on the Supplier Village and they’ve also helped secure huge inward investment on projects like the rail link to Manchester and Weavers’ Triangle.”
Alastair Campbell has long spoken publicly of his support not only of Burnley Football Club, but the town as a whole.
He said: “I think this is fantastic news. It is a shot in the arm for the local economy.
“I know that the UCFB College of Football Business has a great national profile, but many other businesses in the town are doing well.”
Respected BBC television producer Peter Salmon said: “I am proud and happy that my home town Burnley has won such an accolade.
“It is a place rich in stories and storytellers, characters and colour. It has a wonderful history, a cracking football team and a promising future – thanks to work like this.
“The BBC is lucky to have a new, state-of-the-art digital broadcasting hub just 30 miles away at Salford Quays working for the whole region and we have already benefitted from the skills and training that the town is promoting.
“Several of my colleagues at Media City are already from Burnley and I am sure going forward there will be even more.”
Burnley Express editor Chris Daggett said the award was just recognition for years of hard work.
“Burnley businesses, agencies and the council have worked together with the common goal of creating a better town for everyone to live in.
“We are changing perceptions of Burnley and that will help attract more invesment which in turn will create skilled and better-paid jobs for our young people.
“The award is fantastic news for all of Burnley.”