Issue - meetings
Flintshire Economy Update
Meeting: 11/01/2022 - Environment & Economy Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 56)
56 Flintshire Economy Update PDF 148 KB
That the contents and conclusions of the report were considered and supported.
The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) introduced the report which looked at the challenges faced following the Covid Pandemic and Brexit and was an evidence based assessment of the current position of the economy in Flintshire. The report set out the Council’s position nationally and locally and the implications for businesses.
The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager explained the economy was in a state of transition following Brexit and the Pandemic with Flintshire at this point in time remaining strong and closer to the UK average in terms of competitiveness. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) data outlined the challenges faced by businesses with some closing or reducing their ability to trade with reduced turnover and confidence. The challenges around importing and exporting post Brexit continued.
The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager reported on the work of the Regional Skills Partnership and highlighted the key points. There had been fewer job loses than feared with unemployment rising last year but reducing this year. There seemed to be a mismatch between the aspirations of young people and the labour market and information was provided on the job opportunities which were not being filled. 81% of Businesses had faced recruitment challenges and further work was required by the Regional Skills Partnership and the Council to help to address that. Low business confidence had impacted investment and recovery with every sector struggling to recruit with care, construction, and tourism & hospitality finding it exceptionally difficult. Work was ongoing to assist these businesses to recruit. Another issue to highlight was that businesses were finding it difficult to find suitable available premises and work was ongoing to address that.
The Enterprise & Regeneration Manager referred to business rates and provided information on the vacancies across Flintshire which highlighted that some sectors were at higher risk than others. The Enterprise & Regeneration Manager reported on the responses regionally by WG and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board to provide emergency funding for Town Centres and the hospitality industry. Information on the work of the Mersey Dee Alliance and the Council’s Economic Recovery Group was also provided together with funding streams available for the Council. An update on the Town Centre entrepreneurships loan pilot was also given.
Councillor Owen Thomas felt that farmers were doing well saying there was a big demand for their produce, especially Welsh lamb. There had been too much focus on Brexit and that it was time to move forward. He said that this year would be positive especially with the town centre shops starting to fill up.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development said the situation was positive and that there were positive signs in our town centres. Farmers were saying how awful Brexit had been with Fishermen unable to sell to the Continent because of the bureaucracy. The issues regarding skills, supplies and austerity were present prior to Covid. He was that proud Flintshire was in this position, but said the full impacts of Brexit would not be seen for a few years yet.