Agenda item - District Level Economic Recovery Framework - pre-scrutiny

Agenda item

District Level Economic Recovery Framework - pre-scrutiny

(Report to Follow)



The Head of North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWEDR) presented the item in respect of the District Level Economic Recovery Framework and in doing so highlighted the following to Members:


·         The District Level Economic Recovery Framework set out the priorities for recovery in the District and was a ‘live’ document and could be amended to reflect any changes in circumstances. The document outlined what plans were in place with key partners.

·         There were three key priorities contained within the plan; Supporting People, Supporting Businesses and Improving Places.

·         Data that was used within the plan captured the number of people claiming out of work benefits, the number of job vacancies and the number on furlough and comparisons between pre-lockdown figures had been analysed. It was clarified to Members that the number of claimants of benefits was increasing and there had been a significant drop in job vacancies. This had led to a more competitive labour market in the District. Members were informed that there had been an error within the District Level Economic Recovery Framework report in respect of the numbers of people eligible for employment within Bromsgrove. The figures were clarified as being 45,000 residents who were eligible for employment and not 42,800. The take up rate was confirmed as 11.5%.

·         It was difficult to identify the number of businesses that had stopped trading during Covid-19 and the associated lockdown as there was an inevitable time lapse in the collection of data and its publication in this area.

·         North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration, Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership were working with residents who were at risk of redundancies or who had lost their jobs during the pandemic. The work included matching skills to vacancies and ensuring that the existing workforce were equipped with the appropriate skills to satisfy the labour market.

·         Guidance and ensuring information in respect of grants and available support were key components within the plan and it was highlighted to Members that there had been a significant increase in people requesting information on starting up their own business during the pandemic. Support for larger businesses in Bromsgrove was also available and it was hoped that this would prevent the potential for large numbers of redundancies in the future. The pandemic had highlighted the need for better resilience for businesses.

·         It was hoped that the plan would improve access and layout in the Town Centre would encourage people to spend more time and money there.

·         A Business Support Officer and Engagement Support Officer had been appointed by NWEDR in order to help facilitate the work contained within the plan.


After the presentation there was detailed debate regarding the matching of skills to vacancies in the current climate and the process that was to be undertaken in order to carry this work out. It was explained to Members that the plan would provide the framework for this work and that discussions had already taken place in respect of working with businesses to match up vacancies and skills that were available. It was noted that historically Bromsgrove had a good record of incubating businesses and was at an advantage compared to other Districts due to its location and higher education facilities. It was reported to Members that there had been recent investment in the District by two large digital companies. It was hoped that these investments would demonstrate there were opportunities in the District for local people.


There was a suggestion that perhaps this might be an opportunity to bring forward the date for regeneration of the Town Centre and that local centres were not all in need of re-purposing. It was suggested that local Ward Members be involved in discussions regarding any potential changes to their local centres. Members were advised that work was already taking place in respect of the regeneration of the Town Centre.


After lengthy debate, the following recommendation was proposed by Councillor S. Colella:


‘That the Strategic Planning Team and Economic Regeneration Team engage with the town centre ward member to develop a master regeneration plan and a timeline for that plan.’


On being put to the vote this recommendation was lost.


Several sites were identified as potential areas of opportunity and innovative approaches for partnership working in the Town Centre particularly heritage buildings. Members were advised that as some of the buildings were privately owned this made plans more difficult to initiate.


Members were encouraged at the number of businesses in the District, however it seemed that they were not businesses that employed a large number of people. In previous years, it had been the case that business had been registered in the District but were not operating businesses. The Head of NWEDR agreed that the data might have been distorted by businesses that were registered but not actively trading. Members requested that the figures of the internal wage of the District compared to other Local Authorities in the County be provided. These figures Median Gross Weekly Pay (full time 2018) were as follows:



People who live and work in Bromsgrove


£500 per week


£480 per week

Wyre Forest

£450 per week


It was clarified to Members that there was a big discrepancy in respect of wages of those that lived in Bromsgrove and worked elsewhere where the Gross Median weekly wage was £650 per week.


RESOLVED that the report in respect of the District Level Economic Recovery Framework be noted.


Supporting documents: