West Lothian economic development agencies have launched several initiatives to ensure that the area capitalises on its strengths as a location for new investment from both public and private sectors. The area’s key message – West Lothian delivers for business – builds on its growing reputation as a place that delivers on its promises and is backed by West Lothian Council (WLC), West Lothian Chamber of Commerce (WLCC) and the local enterprise company Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh & Lothian (SEE&L).
The message is reinforced by West Lothian’s recent success in being selected as Scotland’s representative in the recently launched Enterprising Britain 2005 competition. This prestigious award confirms West Lothian’s position as Scotland’s most enterprising area, where enterprise is at the heart of its economic development agencies, its businesses, the “can do” attitude of its people and its schools.
West Lothian’s strategic location between Glasgow and Edinburgh and its youthful population – the fastest growing in Scotland – both play an important role in attracting both public sector and commercial investment.
With major towns including Linlithgow, Bathgate, Broxburn and Livingston, West Lothian is home to some 4,500 companies with particular strengths in technology, software, healthcare, food, packaging, engineering, construction, contact centres, distribution and logistics. West Lothian offers a high quality living and working environment as well as affordable accommodation only 25 minutes drive from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.
Companies locating into West Lothian may also benefit from Regional Selective Assistance, the country’s main grant scheme for creating and safeguarding jobs. In the past five years West Lothian companies have benefited from £82M of Regional Selective Assistance awards, a total of 69 projects which have helped to create 5,500 new jobs and safeguarded a further 1,880 jobs. In fact, in that period West Lothian has received some 20% of all the RSA awards in Scotland.
West Lothian promotes a business-friendly message which goes right through its business services, from the one-stop-shop for business support at the Council’s Business Centre in Livingston, to planning and other regulatory services.
Local business leaders are also signing up to be West Lothian “ambassadors”, promoting the area as a prime investment location by telling their own success stories and encouraging companies and other major organisations to consider investing locally.
A large part of West Lothian’s growth is attributable to the maturing of Livingston, a former new town which has integrated into the district to become a major source of employment. In recent times Livingston’s town centre has seen massive retail development, as well extensive office, housing and leisure developments and the opening of a brand new college.
Livingston’s success has cascaded to the rest of the area, helped by the development of direct rail links to Edinburgh as well as a highly-developed transport infrastructure.
Ease of access and proximity to consumer markets – some 60% of Scotland’s population is within a 60-minute drive ?u has been particularly important in the growth of West Lothian as Scotland’s hub for distribution and logistics activity.
Aldi, one of the world’s biggest retailers, now joins Scottish Courage at West Lothian’s state of the art distribution park J4M8 as it opens its new distribution hub and regional headquarters at the end of 2004. With a floor space of 38,100sq m, the Bathgate distribution centre will be one of the largest in the UK.
Recently announced are plans for a new £3.5M business incubator in Livingston that will nurture hi-tech spin-out and start-up companies with high growth potential. The new facility will be based on the Alba Campus, Scotland’s world class centre of excellence for the research, design and development of microchip and associated technologies, and part of the Edinburgh Science Triangle.
The incubator service will operate out of temporary premises on the Alba Campus for approximately 18 months while the new building is being constructed. A 2,335sq m (25,000sq ft) building capable of accommodating up to 54 companies, and with the potential for expansion, will be constructed on the 100-acre campus. It is expected that the facility will help create in excess of ten new companies a year while injecting £3.6M into the local economy over five years. n
Further information about West Lothian is available from the Business Development Team, The Business Centre, Almondvale Boulevard, Livingston EH54 6QP. Tel: 01506 777400. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.westlothiandelivers.com
West Lothian Council is one of several development agencies exhibiting at Logistics Link 2005, which is being held on February 1 and 2, 2005 at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey. For further information contact Richard Milbourn on
020 8661 1160 or visit www.logisticslink.co.uk