A NEW appointment has been made to the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership board.

Allerdale Borough Council leader Mike Johnson has been appointed as a board member with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

Mr Johnson understands first hand the challenges that face businesses in Cumbria as he is managing director at AJ Johnson Limited in Workington.

He took over the welding, fabrication and engineering firm, which has been in business for 38 years, from his father.

As well as leader of the council, councillor Johnson is its executive member for economic growth, community development and placemaking. He represents Allhallows and Waverton wards as well as Thursby on Cumbria County Council. Speaking of his new role, councillor Johnson said: “I’ve been involved but more in the background over the last 12 months because the chairmanship rotates between Allerdale and Copeland.”

Despite the challenges facing retail and hospitality, councillor Johnson is motivated to take on the challenge.

“It’s really important that we have a strong voice for the economy in Allerdale, the whole of Cumbria. Councillor Johnson added that he is “optimistic” about the future of the economy in Cumbria. I’m very much up for the challenge and I’m optimistic for the future.”

He will be joined by a range of experts in the business sector who will collectively work to support the economy in Cumbria.

“Each individual that’s on the board brings something different which creates a really strong team. There’s clearly elements of the business community that are struggling, hospitality and retail, they’re the ones that have really been hard hit through the pandemic.”

But he said that some sides of the business community have been able to continue right through the pandemic.

“So it’s really important that the help and support is there to assist those that need it.”

Councillor Johnson will look to bring his insight as a councillor and business MD as well as his place Allerdale Investment Partnership and the Workington Harbour Management Committee.