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26 October 2021

How Samlesbury, Lancashire became the home of the National Cyber Force

The battle to win the headquarters of the UK’s National Cyber Force (NCF) has been quietly fought out of the public eye for the past 12 months. Samlesbury, in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, saw off stiff competition from Manchester, the home of GCHQ’s northern office, to become the site of the UK’s headquarters for military operations in cyber space against nation states, terrorists and criminals. The arrival of the NCF brings with it an investment of £5bn to the Lancashire economy, the largest seen in the area for 50 years. In its wake is the promise of high-tech jobs to an area that has been struggling with lower-than-average wages and a shortage of highly skilled jobs. By 2023, more than 3,000 people will be working at the NCF headquarters, which will be built on land on the former Samlesbury Aerodrome, alongside BAE Systems’ aircraft components site. The UK has been conducting cyber operations since at least 2010, but the NCF marks a step-change in the UK’s response to hostile state hacking, terrorism and high-tech criminals. ...

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