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Agenda item

Quarterly Economic Update

The Executive Member will consider a report which will provide him with the quarterly economic update for the period of April to June 2021.

Decision:

Resolved:

 

i.             That the contents of the report be noted.

 

ii.            That an update on the community impact of the current economic situation be included in the next Quarterly Economic Update, including information on Skills work and an analysis of wages in York.

 

iii.          That an update on the impact of recombining the Economic Development Team with Make It York be included in the next Quarterly Economic Update.

 

iv.          That an update on the changes to the Local Enterprise Partnership and its impact on the Economic Strategy and the work of the Economic Development Team be included in the next Quarterly Economic Update.

 

Reason: To support York’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minutes:

The Executive Member considered a report which provided him with the quarterly economic update for the period of April to June 2021. The Director of Housing, Economy and Regeneration and the Head of Economic Growth were in attendance to present the report and respond to questions.

 

Key points raised during the presentation of the report included:

·        That the two largest economic challenges faced by the city were the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

·        York’s economy had responded well to these challenges and was experiencing a strong recovery, with footfall back to pre-pandemic levels, patterns of local spending by residents of the city and surrounding areas and significant investment interest in the city.

·        However, significant challenges existed in recruitment of staff in all sectors across the city and in supply chain effectiveness. Furthermore, although unemployment had increased less than in other places in the UK, it was at its highest level since 1997.

·        That the claimant count of those accessing unemployment welfare was below the 2009 recession peak and dropping sharply, now below 4,000 claimants in the city.

·        That 1 in 5 York workers were paid below the real living wage of £9.50 per hour – including 10% of full time workers, and around 50% of part time workers, and that the council was encouraging employers to examine wages through the Good Business Charter.

·        Regarding furlough and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, between January and May there was a 40% drop in the amount of people relying on those schemes, with around 12,000 in York reliant on payments at the end of that period.

·        That traditionally there demand was outstripping supply of apprenticeships in York, however that trend had been reversed with 180 apprenticeship vacancies in and around the cities and a lack of candidates for them. It was reported that there would be a focus on apprenticeships in Adult Learning Week (week beginning Monday 6 September 2021). A full report on the apprenticeship levy transfer was to be brought to the next Decision Session.

·        That work had been progressing well on the draft 10 Year Skills Strategy, which the City Skills and Employment Board had considered at their 21 July meeting. In terms of the One Year Skills plan, brought to Executive in June 2021, there were volunteers being trained at Foxwood Community Centre to offer information, advice and guidance on skills and employment to residents.

·        That strong recovering in spend was being seen in the city centre, and that a modernisation of recording activity in terms of how many people are in the city centre, where they have come from and what they are spending had been undertaken. This had demonstrated a reliance on people from over 50km away.

·        That there were an increasing number of businesses considering expanding their operations in the city.

·        That the consultation exercise, ‘Our Big Conversation’ was open until the end of July, and businesses and residents were encouraged to participate.

 

The Executive Member noted that:

·        He would like to see shortfalls in areas such as HGV/LGV drivers and hospitality addressed by the skills work mentioned in the report.

·        Lockdowns had caused people to reassess how far they are willing to commute, and that therefore it was essential to more fully utilise the workforce within York and its surrounding areas.

·        He would like the next quarterly report to include an update on the impact of the current economic situation on communities in the city, including an analysis of wage levels.

·        It was important to keep young people engaged in decisions made around York’s economy, and he advocated consultations via the Youth Council.

 

Resolved:

 

i.             That the contents of the report be noted.

 

ii.            That an update on the community impact of the current economic situation be included in the next Quarterly Economic Update, including information on Skills work and an analysis of wages in York.

 

iii.          That an update on the impact of recombining the Economic Development Team with Make It York be included in the next Quarterly Economic Update.

 

iv.          That an update on the changes to the Local Enterprise Partnership and its impact on the Economic Strategy and the work of the Economic Development Team be included in the next Quarterly Economic Update.

 

Reason: To support York’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting documents:

 

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