UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Lord Mandelson Says “Cumbria is Open for Business”

Press Release   •   Jan 25, 2010 11:27 GMT

Lord Mandelson will visit Cumbria today to see how the area is open for business again.

The first stop will be Mitchells Fine Art Auctioneers Warehouse where the North West Development Agency (NWDA) has funded 14 temporary units for businesses affected by the November floods.

He will then formally re-open the Workington Port, which has received Government grants to undertake major dredging work to bring it back to full commercial capacity.

Lord Mandelson will also have the opportunity to hear the views of local Cumbrian businesses, Cumbria Vision and the Cumbria County Council to discuss business recovery and the economic future of the region.

Commenting on his visit to the region, Lord Mandelson said:

"It’s a real testament to the business spirit in the North West that Cumbria is opening up for business and that companies affected by the floods are now trading again.

"The Government remains committed to doing everything that we can to help people get their businesses up and running and getting the area back to normal quickly as possible.”

Robert Hough, Chairman of the NWDA, who is accompanying Lord Mandelson said:

“The last two months have been a testing time for Cumbrian businesses and many of them needed urgent help. It is excellent to see businesses trading again proving that Cumbria is open for business.

“The NWDA acted swiftly, with partners, to help businesses recover and I am delighted to see that so many are accessing this support.”

Within just five days of the disaster occurring, the Government provided £1million in flood aid.  The NWDA also announced a £1million flood support package to help small and medium sized businesses.

The Flood Recovery Grant Scheme was included in the support package and so far, some 125 applications to the fund have been received totalling almost £660,000. Business Link Northwest advisors have over 360 ongoing engagements with affected businesses.

Businesses can apply for grants up to £10,000 to help ease cash-flow problems and get them back on the road to recovery.  The grants have been designed to help provide expertise to businesses planning to cleanup and recover, help businesses trade again, cover interest costs for loan finance for up to six months and cover the costs of training staff on new equipment.

Businesses affected by the floods can continue to contact Business Link Northwest on 0845 00 66 888 to find out how the NWDA can help. Application forms and guidance notes are available at

Notes to editors

  • The NWDA offered funding to Mitchells Warehouse Conversion to provide 14 temporary units in their warehouse. The company has already provided 12 units to local businesses and the support from the NWDA will go directly towards funding the fit-out and development work required to make the premises fit for up to a further 14 businesses.
  • £50,000 of the funding has gone to the Cumbria Community Fund to assist with their efforts in specific local areas. This is going towards helping community-based, flood-support initiatives and is helping the worst affected areas.
  • In addition to the £1 million funding support, the NWDA has been working with Cumbria Tourism to develop creative solutions for tourism businesses in Cumbria. The NWDA has supported a national marketing campaign with £100,000 to spread the key message that Cumbria is open for business.
  • Recently, £500,000 has been made available, by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to Cumbrian farmers who can now apply for grants of up to £6,800 to hire equipment or specialist contractors to remove debris from their land, to repair structures and to remove gravel to edges of the fields.
  • Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

    The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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