Runcorn is a town with a rich industrial heritage, located south of Liverpool in Cheshire.
With a population of about 62,000, Runcorn is situated on the south bank of the vast and powerful River Mersey and has fantastic rail links direct to London. It is also close to the Manchester ship canal, placing it in a unique position as a transport hub.
Historically, Runcorn grew up as a Mersey port, with a strong heritage in the manufacture of soap, ships and with plenty of work for highly-skilled engineers. In the 20th century, Runcorn became a stronghold for the chemical industry, although many of those traditional industries have adapted or been replaced in the 21st century.
Runcorn's fantastic transport links, on road, rail and sea have made it a key place for warehousing and many key distribution centres are located here. The chemical industry remains a major source of employment for local staff, with recruitment agencies looking to fill positions for companies such as Ineos manufacturing, while transport is also key, thanks to the local presence of the Stobart Group and the Peel Ports Group.
The service and retail sectors play their part too, with Runcorn boasting two shopping centres and Trident Park, which houses shops, a cinema and an Asda supermarket. Servisair, which provides ground services to airports, has its headquarters in Runcorn.
Unemployment is, however, well above average in the town, at 4.9%. The average weekly pay is below the national average at £476, according to figures published in 2012.