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A new report published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) anticipates Warrington’s local economy returning to growth in the second half of 2023. The north-west town of Warrington, which benefits from proximity to both Manchester and Liverpool, was likely to face a “difficult year” overall, according to CEBR’s managing economist, Josie Dent.

Warrington is by no means immune to the current economic challenges, with the UK’s cost-of-living crisis affecting all major towns and cities across the country. However, the CEBR’s latest forecasts see economic growth for leading towns and cities posting an “annual expansion” by Q4 2023.

Noises are growing increasingly positive from a local commerce perspective. Warrington Borough Council has recently voiced its optimism over the town’s economy. Steve Park, director of growth at the council, said that the CEBR’s City Tracker is a key “indicator of Warrington’s economic performance” but it did not take into consideration the town’s liaisons with nationwide and overseas investors.

The biggest economic success stories in Warrington of late

Birchwood Park, which is owned by the Borough Council, posted one of its “most successful years to date” according to Park. This included a string of announcements from Atos, FX Cartel, Werfen and Wain Homes.

Perhaps the biggest commercial success story in Warrington in recent months is the “recovery” of Warrington Market. It scooped an additional two nationwide awards last year and Park revealed it posted more than 10,000 daily visitors over the festive season. Warrington Market is now home to over 50 independent retailers and traders, specialising in a broad spectrum of fresh produce, goods and services. It’s positioned at the heart of the town centre, acting as the focal point for consumers and tourists alike.

In addition, Stephen Fitzsimons, CEO, Warrington Chamber of Commerce, revealed that its members are now “selling more overseas”, with export licences increased by over 10%.

The strengths of the Warrington economy

Fitzsimons said Warrington’s local economy was “anchored” in a handful of industries, including nuclear power, chemicals and logistics. With the UK government set to focus its efforts on nuclear as part of its green energy commitments, Warrington’s employers will surely be casting their respective nets far and wide in search of the top talent in the coming months and years.

This includes hiring skilled professionals born and bred overseas looking to move to the UK for work. The new skilled worker visa, which has replaced the Tier 2 visa, offers a direct route for professionals to live and work in the UK. These visas can be granted to individuals for up to five years initially. Crucially, they can only be granted by local employers licenced as sponsors, with approval sought via the UK Home Office.

The UK government has also lowered the threshold for skilled worker visas, with new overseas recruits only required to have skills to the equivalent of RQF Level 3. This is akin to A-Level qualifications in the UK.

Fitzsimons added that larger neighbours such as Manchester and Liverpool were “particularly affected” by the pandemic, but Warrington was able to generate “strong and sustainable growth” more quickly as the town is starting from a higher base comparably speaking.

Discover more about the independent economic forecasts of the CEBR, which gauges the economic health of towns and cities nationwide. Energy Minister, Grant Shapps, recently visited a local nuclear science company to discover the research, development and innovation that abounds in Warrington.



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