Jobs and business support at the heart of the recovery plan in the event of a pandemic
VSHeshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have launched a sweeping stimulus package to regain ground lost during the Covid-19 pandemic, which wiped out some £ 3bn of the value of the regional economy and doubled the number of inhabitants on Universal Credit.
Over the past 20 years, Cheshire and Warrington have become one of the fastest growing UK regional economies, with gross value added of £ 32.5 billion. The Stimulus Package sets out a detailed vision to get this growth back on track with a focus on four key areas: sustainability, economic growth, inclusiveness and health.
The immediate priority is to redouble efforts to secure government support to complete the HyNet project in the region, which would provide the UK’s first hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage facility and be used for reduce industry carbon emissions. HyNet has the potential to create around £ 17 billion in GVA and some 5,000 jobs in the North West by 2025, while also saving more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. LEP is urgently seeking a contribution of £ 200million of the £ 800million pledged by the government for capital funding of carbon capture use and storage projects.
The pandemic has hit vulnerable groups hardest, including the lowest paid and those living in more disadvantaged areas with fewer facilities and green space. LEP research shows that some 29,400 people accessed the self-employed income support scheme during the pandemic and the number of people claiming universal credit has increased by more than 80% since March 2020.
LEP is leading a program to put people who have become unemployed back to work as a result of the pandemic, working with key partners, such as the Ministry of Work and Pensions. Ensuring that every young person who wants a place in the government’s Kickstart program gets one is part of the firm commitments for 2021; in addition to funding an online career fairs program; and the provision of a single online portal allowing the unemployed to access job vacancies and other forms of assistance.
The stimulus package also identifies rapid additional investments in the region’s innovation-based economy, leveraging world-class assets in energy, life sciences and manufacturing. peak. LEP is to accelerate investment in the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone following the conclusion of a £ 30million loan facility through LEP partner local authorities.
Other specific goals include the creation of a life sciences industry group by June 2021 to develop a plan to strengthen Cheshire and Warrington as one of the world’s best locations for discovery, formulation and manufacture of drugs. Efforts will also be redoubled to work with the University of Chester to secure an investment / development partner for Thornton Science Park before the end of the calendar year.
Giving consumers and visitors the assurance that Cheshire and Warrington is an open and safe place to visit will remain a key focus as we begin to move away from pandemic restrictions.
The Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub will continue to serve as a key point of contact for advice and assistance to businesses. In 2020, it engaged with over 4,300 SMEs to offer direct advice and had 48,000 users of its advice-focused website.
Clare Hayward MBE DL, President of Cheshire and Warrington LEP said: Earth. We work closely with businesses and employees to understand what they think are the top priorities both to ensure their voice is heard locally and nationally and to lead all of our efforts so that we invest in the right areas. to have the greatest impact. We are united in our conviction and determination to return with a cleaner, healthier and more inclusive growth economy. “