Agenda and minutes

Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 8th December, 2022 10.30 am

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Publicly accessible meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, which means they are available to be watched live or recorded on our website. Please see our webcasting notice here. The Committee may, in certain circumstances, resolve to hold part of the meeting in private. If this is the case, you will be required to leave the meeting.

Venue: Committee Room 'B' - The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions

Contact: Gary Halsall 

Media

Items
No. Item

County Councillors Noordad Aziz and Matthew Maxwell-Scott replaced County Councillors Azhar Ali and Anne Cheetham respectively.

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

2.

Appointment of Chair

In accordance with the Urgent Business Procedure under Standing Order B26(1), the Director of Corporate Services having sought the views of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Urgency Committee approved the appointment of County Councillor Rob Bailey to replace County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick as Chair of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee with effect from 2 December 2022.

 

Recommendation

 

The Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee is asked to note the appointment of County Councillor Rob Bailey as Chair of the committee for the remainder of the 2022/23 municipal year.

Minutes:

Resolved: That the appointment of County Councillor Rob Bailey to replace County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick as Chair of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2022/23 municipal year be noted.

3.

Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.

Minutes:

None were disclosed.

4.

Minutes of the Meeting Held on 20 October 2022 pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 October 2022 be confirmed as an accurate record.

 

5.

Unlocking Strategic Development pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth; Steve Burns, Head of Strategic Development; and Chris Dyson, Programme Manager, Strategic Development.

 

It was reported that Lancashire County Council was leading the facilitation of programmes, projects and initiatives stimulating economic growth, supporting Lancashire's contribution to the levelling up agenda and the emerging vision and ambitions of "Lancashire 2050".

 

This significant programme of works, as delivered by the Strategic Development Team, was underpinned by the current delivery of major projects, whilst a pipeline of activity was being developed for future activity as part of a comprehensive investment strategy comprising both public and private sector investment.

 

The report provided a summary of current and potential issues and obstacles experienced for such a large and complex programme of work, and the strategic approach that the county council had took to unblock, unlock and deliver major development activity to provide greater quality of life, productivity and competitiveness within Lancashire. A presentation was also delivered, and a copy is set out in the minutes.

 

County Councillor Riggott, highlighted that the team had worked at significant pace in challenging conditions over the last 18 months, and wanted to place on record his thanks to the team for all the work undertaken.

 

Comments and questions raised were as follows:

 

·  Assurance was sought that the committee would be consulted during the decision making process for future matters arising from the Strategic Development Team. A lot of the projects were done in partnership and were delivered and reported through different frameworks, for example the work on Enterprise Zones is passed through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which had a governance committee and a joint scrutiny committee. Whilst the City Deal had functions in place, a number of the reports were in Part II (private and confidential) due to them containing confidential agreements. The challenge was therefore about how to scrutinise those aspects without resorting to entering Part II during meetings held in public. It was suggested that reports could be anonymised, and financial detail removed to enable scrutiny of future matters.

·  A question was asked about environmental and carbon neutrality aspects and how these points were taken into account when developing proposals. It was highlighted that how matters were assessed had evolved over the years, and Cabinet was in the process of establishing three new interlinked strategies on Economic Development, Climate Change and Environment and Transport. Each strategy set out how it overlapped and cross challenged the other strategy. Private Sector Partners had their own social value and environmental and the county council worked closely with these partners.

·  On the Levelling Up Fund, the county council had reached out to district councils to determine which projects they preferred to submit and consequently the county council made 16 principal offers to district councils to support their levelling up bids and match fund their local contribution. It was explained that it was the county council's responsibility to ensure that when bids are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Covid Loan Evaluation Review pdf icon PDF 879 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting Amin Vepari, Senior Project Officer – Business Growth. County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Steve Burns and Chris Dyson remained in attendance for this item.

 

The report provided an update on the deployment and impact of the Coronavirus pandemic business loans in Lancashire, namely the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs) and Bounce Back Loans (BBLs).

The report also provided an update on improved working between the Growth Hub and local authorities. A presentation was also delivered to compliment the report and a copy is set out in the minutes.

 

Comments and questions raised were as follows:

 

·  In those cases where Lancashire businesses were struggling to repay loans, it was reported that the county council over the last eight years had invested in an Access to Finance Service which provided impartial advice to help businesses become investment ready and more robust in managing their finances. In addition, the county council had recently launched a free initiative called 'Finance Simplified' which businesses could register to access advice on how to manage their finances in the short and long term; how to understand their balance sheet; and how to manage relationships with creditors if in difficulty. Through Lancashire County Developments Limited (LCDL), the county council had offered its own debt loan fund to support businesses called, Rosebud. It was explained that the fund was based on a relationship principle with those businesses taking up the loans, rather than on a transactional basis where businesses could find themselves referred to debt recovery. During the height of the pandemic, the fund provided 75% of capital repayment holidays, which was now down to 8%.

·  Suspected fraud was what the lenders reported back on what they felt was suspected fraud. Estimated fraud was what the British Business Bank had taken with what had been reported, to what they thought was in line with other triggers that were in place, such as how many businesses had been flagged up.

·  On provision against bad debt, it was reported that the provision rate across lending streams would increase dramatically over the next year and all lenders were prepared for this happening. In essence there could be more debt and failure rates within businesses.

 

Resolved: That the report be noted.

7.

Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report presented provided members of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee with the committee's work programme for 2022/23.

 

Resolved: That the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee's work programme for 2022/23, including progress relating to the committee's recommendations be noted.

8.

Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the chief executive should be given advance warning of any member's intention to raise a matter under this heading.

Minutes:

There was no Urgent Business.

9.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 26 January 2023 at 10:30am in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee would be held on Thursday 26 January 2023 at 10.30 am in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.