The impact of Brexit; a town that has ‘The Plan’

Mike Jeavons
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The referendum build-up campaign was focused, almost entirely, on the bigger picture of nationally-led topics such as immigration and the economy.

As the post-vote dust settles, the impact on local council has become an important point of discussion.

Aside from the task of understanding the extent to which EU legislation affects its operations, (a 2013 Local Government Association report suggests half of all regulations affecting local councils originate from the EU) is to understand to what extent Brexit will impact on foreign direct investment.

Local councils now need to power-up their efforts to attract businesses regionally and nationally.

One local council that is going all-in and doing rather well is Wigan. For them, it’s all about a high quality, low-cost offering. As cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool grow the cost of doing business there increases. As a result, satellite towns become increasingly important as investors look to be part of the economic growth whilst maintaining low margins.

Wigan sits perfectly next to not one but two growth hotspots - Manchester and Liverpool - which provide a geographical position of great value and strength.

Transport corridors have consistently been the locations of growth, from development of the railways across America, to the motorways of today. Wigan sits on two such corridors, the M6 and the M61 and has quick access to others.

Leveraging their location with an offer that makes good business sense is making the borough a real contender when it comes to inward investment decisions.

Wigan’s plan, as announced in a new online video, is to redevelop the town and utilise the local infrastructure and amenities to make it appealing for new investment. The town is already home to major brands including Heinz and Poundland, and is also host to the biggest business expo in the north-west. In fact, 76% of the world’s top 25 food companies have bases in Wigan.

Council Tax in Wigan Borough is the second cheapest in the area and house prices are 16% less than they are in nearby Manchester. When you couple this with one of the best performing councils in the country and an unrivalled road and rail network, it’s easy to see why Zoltar predicted Wigan as being the town to look out for.

Councillor Molyneux said: “We have a proactive and supportive business team who are ready to help businesses with expert advice. We also have a willing and plentiful workforce, excellent local primary and secondary schools and beautiful countryside.

The new video, which has recently gone viral and features the famous Zoltar fortune teller, announces that Britain should not fear a post-Brexit future because one town has the answer to all of our nation’s problems – it’s Wigan.

Zoltar Declares – Wigan Has the Plan! is the latest video from Wigan Council as part of Wigan Works, a campaign designed to let Britain know that the northern powerhouse is stronger than ever and that the north-western town is the ideal location for business and investment.

To begin with, Zoltar reads Britain’s future as dystopian, with dark and mysterious imagery of the capital being accompanied by the fortune-tellers sombre prediction. Zoltar then reveals that he used the wrong crystal ball and, after re-reading correctly, he sees a much stronger vision of the future with Wigan at the forefront.

The video is just the latest instalment in a series of funny and unique shorts produced to raise awareness of the benefits of basing a business in Wigan, and follows the CorpComms Award nominated video HyperBrain.

Councillor David Molyneux, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “While our Zoltar video is tongue-in-cheek, our team at Wigan Council are deadly serious when it comes to attracting business to Wigan Borough.

“Wigan is open for business and our Wigan Works campaign shows we are very business-minded. We have a top class workforce ready to fulfil the new opportunities coming our way.”

“It’s clear why Wigan is an attractive place to invest, work and live. Zoltar is right - Wigan has the plan!” For more information on Wigan’s plan visit the Wigan Works website.

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