Redefining Lancashire: Our Approach to Recovery
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
The Chair welcomed Stephen Young, Executive Director of Growth, Environment and Transport, to the meeting. An update was presented to the committee on how the county council was Redefining Lancashire: Our Approach to Recovery, looking at Lancashire and its recovery from Covid-19, in particularly the economic impact the pandemic had on the county.
Lancashire County Council was expecting the county's economy to drop by
20-25% over the last three months. The county council had to be proactive in its response and put Lancashire on the map with a strong and ambitious plan. The county council wanted a strong evidence based conversation with the Government underpinning the county council's key asks.
There were three key asks to Government:
· Opening up Lancashire safely, particularly businesses in town centres and tourism.
· Backing for major industries badly hit by Covid-19, particularly the aerospace industry.
· A strategic infrastructure request, particularly around road and rail and a strong Broadband and IT infrastructure.
The next step was to develop the Greater Lancashire Plan for Government as well as having an industrial strategy for the county. There had to be continued dialogue with Government.
A number of issues were raised by members and the following was noted:
· There was a Skills Swap Initiative in Lancashire were business could contact a central hub explaining what surplus skills they had and other businesses could contact the hub stating what their skill needs were. In supporting staff, a one stop website had been developed with over 50 organisations with different areas of skills and expertise had come together. They were talking to furloughed staff and staff at risk of redundancy about reskilling and retraining. They were also providing support to people starting small businesses. The county council was also supporting young people who had been hit hard by the closure of schools.
· The county council was working with experts in the industry around staff working from home and the impact this would have on the local economy and small businesses nearby offices.
· The committee felt there were opportunities to be had following the pandemic. There could be focus on the production of clean and green energy and other environmental initiatives. This was a key part of Lancashire County Council's thinking. It was looking at a scheme to produce green renewable energy. It was also looking at the use of logistic parks.
· Members were informed that the Greater Lancashire Plan would set the county's priorities and the things that Lancashire wanted to achieve.
· The document that had been sent to Government was basically an 'ask of money' from Government. The committee enquired how the county council could be certain it had engaged with local people in producing this plan. Due to the extremely tight deadlines involved the document produced was the best that could be created in the timeframe available.
· Advanced manufacturing and the tourism industry had been badly hit by the Coronavirus crisis and this was one of the main aspects of the plan.
· In terms of the number of people on furlough, Lancashire had similar rates to other industrial areas. There was a higher number of people that had been furloughed in advanced manufacturing and the hospitality trade.
· The county council was working together with district councils in pulling together a comprehensive list of schemes regarding Lancashire's transport infrastructure, they wanted to see going forward. This list would be shared with Government.
· There were support schemes in place from Government regarding small businesses affected by the tourism industry disrupted by the Coronavirus crisis. Lancashire County Council was working with district councils as well looking at potential support schemes.
· One request to Government was for investment into the monitoring of vehicle movement and measuring the influx of traffic in the Fylde Coast, Ribble Valley and other tourist areas.
Resolved: The Internal Scrutiny Committee thanked Stephen Young, Executive Director of Growth, Environment and Transport and noted the update presented.
Date of decision: 10/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 10/07/2020 - Internal Scrutiny Committee