Keeping the pounds in Plymouth, skills development and a pipeline of construction that will keep people in work during a critical time for the city’s economy - those are the first projects under the spotlight as part of Resurgam - the city’s economic response to the challenges presented by Covid-19.
The Council’s Cabinet meeting was given its first update of Resurgam - a plan to reduce the impact of Covid-19 and to deliver a more equal, sustainable and prosperous city.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “We need to do all we can to look after our own businesses and to support them in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. This programme is about seeing what we as a Council can do to protect jobs in our city and helping our residents. These are practical measures that could make a difference to thousands of families.
“We’ve set a target of increasing by 10 per cent any spend on Plymouth goods or services.
“In the next few weeks we will launch our Skills Launchpad, so that those who find themselves out of work can get all the advice the city and its partners offer in one place and we will start or restart our big building projects, which will safeguard thousands of jobs. This is just the start.”
The Council has reviewed its procurement process to maximise opportunities for local businesses and has set a target to increase spending with local suppliers by 10 per cent. Over two years this will secure 280 jobs and keep an extra £8.2 million GVA in the local economy.
It has jump-started a building programme which will provide a critical and steady supply of jobs, contracts and opportunities for local companies and contractors. The programme will see major road improvements on key routes to major employment areas as well as new homes and new business space.
It is working with the Department of Work and Pensions and the business sector to create an online one stop shop for people facing redundancy as well as more targeted support for young people through a new youth hub. This will provide information, advice, real-time labour market intelligence, and match real opportunities to pathways into employment, apprenticeships and traineeships, work experience, training, education, volunteering and self-employment.
The Resurgam programme was announced in May in response to the lockdown and its economic impact. Since then teams have been ‘on it’, providing extra support to businesses in the short term, as well as looking at where they could make a real difference in the longer term. As emergency economic responder, the Council has already given direct, practical help to Plymouth businesses through administering business grant support - that’s 4,043 businesses helped, £46.9 million paid out in grants and 3,400 helpline calls taken.
That’s just the start. Six key delivery pillars have been identified through the Resurgam progamme. They are:
Sector action plans: individual action plans to support recovery and growth for each of the city’s 11 key economic sectors: retail, defence, health and care, marine, manufacturing, digital, creative industries, tourism and hospitality, construction and built environment, transport and distribution and fishing.
Build 4 Plymouth: Planned and new council projects which are designed to stimulate growth for the city and its economy. As well as creating hundreds of construction jobs, the projects aim to create opportunity. The projects cover transport, infrastructure, commercial property, housing and regeneration and as well as looking to speed up delivery, the Council will lobby Government for funding.
Spend 4 Plymouth: Improving procurement processes to make sure the Council spends as much as it can on Plymouth goods and services so that the city gets the most out of Council contracts. The aim is to increase current local spend by 10 per cent, maximising opportunities for the local supply chain, delivering social value through supporting local jobs and skills, looking after the environment and supporting communities.
Skills Launchpad Plymouth: An emergency taskforce to support Plymouth people facing redundancy. This includes targeted support for young people and school leavers whose plans and opportunities have been affected by Covid-19. We will plan and prepare for future skills demands to identify the skills needed and to equip local people into employment.
City centre renaissance: Support for businesses to reopen and driving footfall through marketing campaigns. Making vacant units available for use, improve public realm and encourage regeneration of our city centre.
Recovery Beacons: Three core areas have been identified as beacons for recovery; Marine, Green and Culture. This is an opportunity to kick-start our green economy, focus on new jobs, skills and future talent, and support our ambitions for a greener city. We will also use our marine credentials and strengths at Oceansgate, the dockyard and our incredible marine learning and research facilities to harness growth opportunities and create jobs for our blue economy. And we will also use The Box and the Mayflower programme as a springboard for cultural, leisure and tourism industries.
CEO of Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Stuart Elford said: “We fully support the Resurgam plan for Plymouth and are pleased to have worked alongside the Council to develop it, ensuring that it is supportive of and relevant to our businesses that will lead the economic recovery.
“The Council has worked tirelessly to deliver immediate and extensive support to businesses in the area and this plan sets out the next phase as we not just survive but thrive as we come out of the Covid crisis. We will continue to work with the Council in this powerful public and private partnership to ensure its successful delivery.”