Council adopts plans to protect jobs and boost economy

North Somerset Council.

North Somerset Council. - Credit: Google Street View

Ambitious plans to protect jobs and boost the economy following the coronavirus pandemic have been announced by North Somerset Council.

Weston High Street before lockdown. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston High Street before lockdown. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

The authority’s executive adopted the Employment and Skills Strategy at a meeting on September 9, which has been created in response to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis.

The economic plan sets out 15 commitments to create new jobs, bring in investment and generate opportunities for young people, as well as address North Somerset’s employment skills gaps and to look at ways to train people in the area who are facing redundancy.

The economic renewal in North Somerset focuses on three pillars, including providing inclusive growth and wellbeing for North Somerset people, delivering digital access for all and supporting green business and low carbon activities.

The employment and skills strategy in the economic plan will focus on empowering young people to achieve their potential, address under-employment and low pay in North Somerset, support those with barriers to employment, develop workforce’ skills for emerging jobs and to create conditions which enable businesses to attract and keep the talent it requires.

Cllr Don Davies.

Cllr Don Davies. - Credit: Archant

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The plans build on packages of immediate support put in place over this summer, which includes public outdoor seating until mid-October in town centres to support local retail, the launch of a Made in North Somerset Market Place and putting investment in town centres to develop business-led virtual high streets.

This also includes the introduction of a North Somerset cultural programme to encourage people to visit and support the local economy and a pre-start, early growth and business support service, delivered with the West of England Growth Hub, which has been set up to help people looking to start their own business.

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Leader of North Somerset Council, Don Davies, said the strategies are needed and it is ‘sad’ too see a loss of jobs in the district due to companies going out of business or restructuring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Davies said: “For an authority which is the third most unequal in the country, and when our average wages are below the regional average, it’s so important to adopt these strategies in North Somerset.”

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