A NEW industrial plan proposed for west Cumbria includes doubling the size of the Port of Workington and bringing steel production back to west Cumbria.

Josh MacAlister, the parliamentary candidate for the Labour party in the Whitehaven and Workington constituency, who was selected following a controversial process earlier this year, has produced the five-point plan which he claims seeks to trigger a new 'industrial revolution' in the area.

The plan sets out five priorities for public and private investment which Mr MacAlister says will help west Cumbria to benefit from the energy transition and new technologies.

The plan includes investing in new nuclear for west Cumbria; doubling the size of the Port of Workington; bringing back steel-making to west Cumbria; backing innovative local businesses; and upgrading the Cumbria coastal railway line.

Plans for new nuclear, expanding the Port of Workington and bringing back steel could deliver £6.2billion in private investment, £200million public investment and create 1,000 'sustainable long-term jobs' in west Cumbria, he said.

Launching the industrial plan, which he hopes will woo voters ahead of a General Election next year, Mr MacAlister said: “Our ports and docks were the engine room of the industrial revolution.

"We were home to the world’s first civil nuclear power station. Workington steel can still be found in rail tracks around the world. We’ve since fallen behind.

"But we're on the edge of another industrial revolution and there’s a new opportunity - if we seize it."

“We need a plan that will help us to regain control of our future. A plan for long-term jobs that families can count on. A realistic, bold, ambitious and focused plan that empowers the enterprise of local leaders. This is that plan."

The plans do not deviate entirely from the promises made by the current Conservative government, which has also committed to new nuclear and upgrading the railway line.

Nuclear Minister Andrew Bowie MP confirmed in September that the government and Great British Nuclear (GBN) are considering what he describes as 'incredibly attractive sites' in Cumbria, hinting at an announcement on new SMR technologies (which many have lobbied to be located on the Moorside site near Sellafield) very soon.

Dianne Richardson, chief executive of British Energy Coast Business Cluster, said: “It is important that local politicians engage with business and we’ve welcomed the opportunity for our members to contribute to these plans.

“This industrial plan includes important proposals that would bring investment into West Cumbria and protect and create local jobs and we hope to see these policies delivered.”