GFirst LEP announces plan to reimagine and restart Gloucestershire
By Rob Freeman | 24th July 2020
GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership, has launched an ambitious plan to get the county's economy back on its feet.
It contains an unprecedented package of interventions to get businesses trading again and restore business, consumer and community confidence, as well as offering support to those who do lose their jobs.
Chief executive David Owen said: "The county is commencing on a long, complex and difficult journey in a world that has been turned upside down in just a few months.
"We have produced three reports, the first an Economic Impact Report produced by Hardisty Jones outlining the likely impact on the county, districts, and business sectors.
"This analysis was to assist GFirst LEP develop a sector-based, economic recovery plan that would help each of the district authorities in Gloucestershire to develop place-based recovery plans."
He continued: "Three scenarios are presented - worst case, middle case, and best case.
"GVA modelling of these scenarios is forecast to fall in quarter two of 2020 to between 71 per cent (£2.9billion) and 91 per cent (£3.7billion) of pre-crisis quarterly levels.
"Employment initially falls fastest in the middle scenario to 92 per cent of the pre-crisis level in quarter three with a loss of 26,000 jobs, but it then starts to recover.
"In the worst-case scenario employment falls more in Q4 and Q1 2021, after current Government support ceases, to 85 per cent of the pre-crisis level, a loss of 49,000 jobs from the pre-crisis level of employment."
The second document is a Sector Analysis Report derived primarily from work by the LEP's Business Groups and surveys conducted through the Growth Hub network.
"Finally is the Recovery Plan," said Mr Owen. "Working closely with all our stakeholders from the private, public and voluntary sector, we have produced an extensive range of potential interventions that we think will get the county back on track."
These interventions include:
- A Think Gloucestershire promotional campaign encouraging staycations within the county, supporting local shops and restaurants and trying to support and buy from local businesses wherever possible.
- Recruiting specialist business advisers for the Growth Hub Network to support sectors such as cyber/digital and manufacturing.
- A campaign to promote Gloucestershire as a Work from Anywhere county to progress ambitions to be a county that attracts workers and younger people. Blended working will continue to become an accepted form of working which will need to be supported by the acceleration of broadband delivery.
- Support the expected growth in start-up businesses with a review of existing provision to ensuring online help meets the needs for business growth.
- Confirming existing infrastructure commitments following the Chancellor's Budget in March which committed more than £27billion to transport schemes to 2025 - with nearly £1billion committed to three major schemes in Gloucestershire, the A417 missing link scheme, Junction 10 of the M5 and work to improve Junction 9 at Tewkesbury.
Building responses from the ground up that exploit opportunities in sectors such as advanced engineering, cyber tech, digital business transformation, agri-tech and green technology will form a cornerstone of the county's economic recovery.
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