Lancashire businesses have been urged to have their say on the county’s “devolution journey” as almost 170 decision-makers attended a packed event.

Hosted by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, the Lancashire Devolution Breakfast was a chance for organisations to question county council leaders on the benefits of the proposed deal. 

Issues such as transport, infrastructure, the creation of a Lancashire business board and its voting rights were top of the agenda for companies of all shapes and sizes who met at the Samlesbury Hotel in Preston. 

Lancashire’s proposed devolution deal was signed in November following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and is being seen as a landmark agreement that will grant autonomy to make decisions that will serve the interests of the county’s business community and propel economic development.

Following the announcement, businesses, stakeholders and residents are being urged to complete a questionnaire on the key elements of the proposal which will be fed back to government upon completion of the consultation process on 26th January.

Delegates were keen to know more about what the deal will mean for businesses in relation to growth and prosperity.

Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “To have so many businesses represented through the Chamber shows how important this deal is to the county. 

“Without businesses input the proposed deal misses out on a key element which we hope will drive economic growth in the coming decades. This deal will change the way Lancashire does business and we are confident it will open more doors to investment opportunities that we have not been able to access before.” 

Aidy Riggott, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member Economic Development and Growth, said: “This is a once in a lifetime chance to get the best deal for Lancashire and for us to have one voice in the decision-making process for the county.

“Having so many businesses here at one event shows they are invested in the devolution journey we are on. We need their input into how they want it to frame the future of the Lancashire economic landscape. We cannot continue this journey without their voice.”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the Chamber, added: “The fact there was standing room only for this event shows not only the interest in the deal but also how the eventual deal will affect their businesses. 

“Lancashire businesses all have one goal, to grow and make the county a prosperous place and that can only be achieved if the business community makes their voice heard. This was the perfect platform for that to happen.”