Issue - meetings
To provide an update on community recovery, on
the theme of economic recovery.
(a) That the potential economic outlook projections and recovery structures established to steer future actions be noted;
(b) That the current and proposed work programmes established to support economic recovery in Flintshire be noted; and
(c) That the Committee request that a report on entrepreneurial grant support from Welsh Government and how the Local Authority could be involved with this be presented to a future Environment & Economy Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager presented a report to provide an update on community recovery on the theme of economic recovery. He advised that the UK economy was undergoing a major transition as a result of the UK departure from the European Union (BREXIT) and the Covid-19 pandemic and said the report summarised some of the work to date on these topics and highlighted the areas of particular risk for Flintshire. The report also sets out the governance structure at both regional and county level to support economic recovery and the programmes of work emerging in response.
The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager reported on the key considerations as detailed in the report and referred to the analysis produced by Hatch on behalf of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and by Grant Thornton on behalf of the Welsh Local Government Association.
Councillor Hilary McGuill commented on the increasing trend of on-line shopping and asked what was being done to encourage people to visit town centres to shop or for social purposes. Councillor McGuill also referred to the information that unemployed claimants had doubled compared to pre-Covid levels and young people had been disproportionately impacted, and suggested that training courses be offered to enhance existing skills or provide new skills to improve future employment prospects.
Responding to the comments about regeneration of town centres, the Enterprise and Regeneration Manager advised that a number of priorities and programmes were being progressed to support town centres and referred to the help provided to support local businesses and encouraging change of use of town centres to lessen dependence on retail trade. He advised that work was being undertaken with Welsh Government Business Wales to help entrepreneurs take up opportunities in town centres. He reported that the Welsh Government (WG) was piloting a loan fund for entrepreneurs in a number of North Wales towns which it was hoped would be expanded in the future.
Responding to the comments about unemployment the Enterprise and Regeneration Manager commented on the impact of the pandemic and said that the WG had announced a youth guarantee programme which provided a range of support for young people. Locally he advised that the Communities 4 Work Team supported young people and provided short focused training courses to meet the needs of employers and give access to local employment opportunities.
Councillor Marion Bateman asked for information on the uptake of industrial units as she felt this would be an indication of economic recovery. The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager advised that the position was positive, almost all units had been taken up, and there was not enough commercial estate to meet current demand. The Chief Officer (Housing and Assets) confirmed that demand for industrial units had been extremely high and young entrepreneurs were seeking large units for production and storage. He said the position was encouraging and bode well for the local economy and workforce.
The Chairman asked if Welsh Government Business Wales could be lobbied to ask for support to be provided ... view the full minutes text for item 18