North Somerset Economic Plan (2020-2025)
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on our daily lives and the economy. We don’t know how long it will take before we have a full economic recovery, and there are significant challenges ahead.
We’ve listened to our businesses, residents and stakeholders about what they are going through and recognise the need to act quickly to show what we will do to help.
Transport, retail, the visitor economy and creative industries have been hit particularly hard. Unemployment has risen and our young people are especially at risk with fewer job opportunities and apprenticeships. And, the risk of a no-deal exit from the European Union at the end of the year is creating additional economic uncertainty.
Lockdown has highlighted the problem of digital poverty; those without access to broadband or the right equipment and skills are at a big disadvantage. Such unprecedented times have put huge pressure on mental and physical health, highlighting the importance of wellbeing.
The changes to lifestyle and work as a result of the pandemic means we need a new approach to our existing economic plan which was due to run until 2036. This new plan will have two core drivers: Helping those suffering economic hardships and building on the opportunities the crisis has revealed.
Our priority is to first identify projects which can help residents experiencing exacerbated deprivation due to the impact of the pandemic. Job losses, business closures, reduced access to digital learning or reskilling courses must be addressed to lessen the impact felt by our vulnerable communities.
The Governor of the Bank of England said that how we respond to these key issues will be the true measure of effectiveness ‘rather than the scale of any short-term plunge in GDP’ and we at North Somerset Council agree.
Our second driver is rooted in the changes we’ve all had to make to the way we live and work and the opportunities that has created. Economic and financial values will remain a core priority in our recovery, but the lockdown has also highlighted a different set of values. Community, connectivity and wellbeing, as well as a healthy and sustainable environment, are now much more prominent drivers for decision-makers.
In response, the Council is prioritising economic renewal activity around three key pillars:
● Providing inclusive growth and wellbeing for North Somerset people.
● Delivering digital access for all.
● Supporting green business and low carbon activities.
In this plan, we’ll set out in more detail the drivers for our strategy, our priorities and commitments and how we will deliver and measure our success. This is a 5-year plan but during a time of economic uncertainty, it needs to be flexible and responsive. It will be reviewed every three months by an Economic Plan Steering Group and the commitments will be continuously assessed to ensure they are responding to needs and opportunities.
Continue to read the new North Somerset Economic Plan here
(Source: In North Somerset)