The Head of Economic Development and Regeneration for North Worcestershire presented the Borough Level Economic Recovery Framework for the Committee’s consideration.
During the presentation of this report the following matters were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· The framework outlined the key interventions that were proposed to support economic recovery in the Borough in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
· The framework was a live document and would be updated as circumstances changed and new projects emerged.
· The framework focused on supporting people, businesses and places.
· There were three sets of data underpinning the framework which were utilised by partner organisations, including the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.
· This data revealed that the trend was for an increase in the number of people claiming out of work benefits during the year.
· The number of job vacancies had reduced during the year so vacancies were competitive.
· There were 15,500 people in Redditch on furlough by the end of July 2020 which was 4% above the average rate in England. There was a risk that at the end of the furlough scheme some of these people would be made redundant.
· Immediate concerns were to ensure that support was provided to people who had been made redundant or were at risk of being made redundant to secure employment.
· In the medium to long-term the focus needed to be on ensuring that people had the right skills needed to secure jobs. Increasingly, this would include having the right skills to work in digital industries.
· Young people leaving education also needed to be supported to develop the right skills to ensure that they could secure employment in the future.
· The North Worcestershire Economic Development Team could support local businesses by signposting them to available grant funding that would help those businesses to continue to operate.
· Businesses could also receive support from local growth hubs in the areas supported by the Local Enterprise Partnerships.
· In both growth hub areas there had been a reported increase in demand for space for start-up companies.
· Many companies had identified opportunities to innovate during the Covid-19 pandemic and the North Worcestershire Economic Development Unit could provide support to enable businesses to do this.
· There was an ongoing priority to promote inward investment into the business sector within Redditch.
· Place making had a key role to play in local economic recovery. The regeneration of Redditch town centre could therefore play an important role in the economic recovery of the town.
· There were very ambitious plans in place for the regeneration of Redditch town centre and key partners would need to provide support through private sector investment in order to deliver on these plans.
· The report had recorded that a key decision would be required. However, Members were in fact being asked to make a non-key decision.
After the report had been presented Members discussed the following points in detail:
· The impact that Covid-19 had had on the local economy and the action that would need to ... view the full minutes text for item 34