Hartlepool – loving our local businesses

Published Thursday, 28th March 2019

The latest meeting of Hartlepool’s Economic Regeneration and Tourism Forum has been hearing about the success of the approach to growing the town’s local economy and supporting local businesses.

Denise McGuckin, Director of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods at Hartlepool Borough Council, gave an overview of the regeneration that has been delivered through £160m of external investment over the last four years and the £42m that has been secured to deliver the vision for the Hartlepool Waterfront site, a new film and TV production studio and the Western Growth Corridor.

Love Hartlepool

Denise explained that the impact of this investment is already evident with Hartlepool having the best rate of housing growth in the Tees Valley, up 9.7%.

She also outlined that more and more successful companies are choosing to do their business in Hartlepool and numbers in the town have risen faster than both the Tees Valley and national averages since 2011.

Denise went on to explain the way the Council uses its buying powers to help invest in the local economy: “Hartlepool Borough Council recognises the role it can play in supporting local businesses by ensuring they are involved in every procurement opportunity.

“For example, any spend between £1,000 and £5,000 requires two companies to tender, one of which has to be local. Any spend above £5,000 requires three companies to be invited to tender, two of which must be local.

“In terms of percentage of spend with Hartlepool businesses, the Council compares very favourably with the “Preston Model” which is currently promoted as best practice on procurement.

“Between 2012/13 and 2016/17, Preston went from 5% local spend to 18.2%. In the same year, Hartlepool Borough Council’s local spend was 27% and the Council has continued to stretch this target, resulting in a 30.2% spend with Hartlepool businesses in 2018/19.

“What is called the Preston Model isn’t a new idea. Indeed, it is likely that Preston based its model on Hartlepool’s approach.

“We are working with the Centre for Local Economic Studies (CLES) to identify ways in which we can further strengthen our approach to using our spending power to invest in the local economy.

“CLES has also been invited to present to the Health and Wellbeing Board to encourage other public sector agencies to use their spending power to strengthen the local economy.

“We love our local businesses and in 2018/19, we have spent in excess of £33m locally here in Hartlepool. Working together with our businesses and other local public sector partners we can make this an even bigger figure.

“We also aim to pay local suppliers within 10 working days. This year we achieved this for 95.2% of payments and, on average, payment was made within 6 working days.

“As part of the #LoveHartlepool campaign we are encouraging everyone to sing the praises of the Hartlepool approach.”

Hartlepool’s Economic Regeneration and Tourism Forum meets four times a year and is open to all businesses - whatever their size.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 20 June at the new BIS. If you would like to find out more, or to attend the event, please email hartlepooleconomicforum@hartlepool.gov.uk or call (01429) 867677.