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Agenda item

Economic Strategy Progress Update

This report provides an update on the development of a new, inclusive Economic Strategy for York. Widespread engagement with York’s residents, workers and businesses took place over the summer through the Council’s Our Big Conversation, with a coherent approach to engagement undertaken to address the overlapping themes of York’s economy, carbon reduction and transport.

 

Decision:

Resolved:

i.             That the contents of the report be noted.

ii.            That Executive Member’s comments on engagement findings, the draft economic evidence base and headline commitments for a new, inclusive Economic Strategy be noted and minuted.

 

Reason: To support the development of a new, inclusive Economic Strategy for York.

Minutes:

This report provided the Executive Member with an update on the development of a new, inclusive Economic Strategy for York. Widespread engagement with York’s residents, workers and businesses took place over the summer through the Council’s Our Big Conversation, with a coherent approach to engagement undertaken to address the overlapping themes of York’s economy, carbon reduction and transport. The Economy Growth Manager was in attendance to present the report and respond to questions.

 

Key points raised during the presentation of the report included:

·        Over 2000 residents and 100 businesses in the city had been consulted on the Economic Strategy over July. The key findings of these consultations were attached at Annex 1, but some key points included:

-      That the majority of residents supported a move towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

-      Two fifths of residents expected to work from home more in the future.

-      Two thirds of residents were interested in learning new skills.

-      One fifth of residents felt worse off financially than they had 12 months previously with half of these respondents falling within the 25-39 age category.

-      40% of those working part time did so for a better work-life balance.

-      A large issue for businesses was a lack of available and affordable land and property.

 

·        The Council had engaged with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, who had interviewed 200 residents. They had found that the majority of clients of working age were confident about their employment prospects, and that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health had been greater than on employment.

·        Phase II of engagement would focus on addressing gaps in insight.

·        The Economic Evidence Base had been regularly updated and its key headlines were:

-      GVA/productivity in York was strong, with over 20,000 high paid jobs being created since 2005.

-      Pay in the city was close to the national median and higher than most of Yorkshire and the Humber.

-      York had high skill levels.

-      Employment and GVA growth forecasts were positive.

 

·        The importance of inclusive growth to ensure that all York residents can share in economic success was emphasised, as well as the need to create more high paying part time jobs.

·        There will be a renewed focus on continuous learning and social mobility within the Council’s forthcoming Economic Strategy.

·        York’s position as the UK’s first Good Business Charter city was emphasised, with 4% of total business membership across UK in the city.

 

The Executive Member noted that:

·        It was important to utilise Business Week to help with engagement efforts and improving the evidence base.

·        Good progress had been made on analysing existing data, but in some areas there were no clear conclusions, so it was necessary to continue gathering data to make clear what steps needed to be taken locally to support York’s economy.

·        It needed to be ensured that everybody could benefit from additional high value jobs in the city, for example by raising aspirations for young people and getting more women in to STEM subjects.

·        73% of people stated that their broadband connection was good, however it was not clear how sufficient internet connectivity was from a business perspective. The Executive Member requested more exploration of how to address the concerns of the 23% were not satisfied with their connection.

·        The Council should continue to work with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau to endeavour to understand what proportion of those residents who worked part time did so by choice.

·        A strategic view on the regional need to properly insulate Victorian brick terraces was needed, which was a key opportunity for creating green jobs. However, it was necessary to work with the construction industry in investing in training and concerns over profitability.

·        Askham Bryan College’s agricultural courses were a key advantage for the city.

·        York Minster’s plans to become a Centre of Excellence for heritage craft skills combined with modern technology would also be a key asset for York.

 

Resolved:

i.                 That the contents of the report be noted.

ii.                That Executive Member’s comments on engagement findings, the draft economic evidence base and headline commitments for a new, inclusive Economic Strategy be noted and minuted.

 

Reason: To support the development of a new, inclusive Economic Strategy for York.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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