The Heart of the South West LEP Welcomes Chancellor’s Announcement

The Heart of the South West LEP welcomes today’s announcements by the Chancellor that will help the area move towards its Route Map to Recovery for the area to Restart, Revitalise and Grow. HotSW’s outline plan can be seen here and the LEP is on course for developing its full action plan by September.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak stated in Parliament this lunchtime: “We will do all we can to supply good and secure work”.  The LEP will act swiftly to ensure its Growth Hub business support service and Careers Hub are geared up to deliver and promote these important interventions.

The Chancellor went on to say that following the economy contracting by 25% – the same level that it grew by in the previous 18 years – he would confront challenges and “do what’s right”; making announcements that have significant impact on the Heart of the South West area.

The Chancellor said that the economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic was in three phases: Businesses closed to help stop the spread of the disease; the second phase is about getting people back into work; and the autumn will see the third phase – which is all about creating jobs through infrastructure.

The LEP has put in place measures to mitigate the lockdown via business support through its Growth Hub, a Virtual Careers Fair and Better Business for All toolkit on opening safely. The LEP is pivotal to the getting people back to work and putting forward new infrastructure projects that will deliver the maximum economic benefit. Last week the LEP secured £35.4m for the Getting Building Fund which it sees as the start of more investment coming forward for its pipelines of projects.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“We echo the Chancellors’ sentiment that the job has only just begun. We submitted a bid for £121m to the Government’s Getting Building Fund, and we were pleased to get the highest allocation in the South West of £35.4m as an initial down-payment on our ambitions.

“We hope that today’s announcement means that the Chancellor’s COVID economic mitigation plan – which he referred to as “historic investment in infrastructure creating jobs in every region and nation of the UK” – will bring a further catalyst of investment in our robust pipeline of growth-generating projects.

“The three-point plan to help people find jobs, create jobs and protect jobs will be supported by our careers services and Growth Hub, and we welcome the measures to support extra training and apprenticeship schemes.

“The interventions to support the tourism and hospitality trade are extremely welcome in our area, with 7,345 businesses in this sector. We’ve already said that our area may suffer a deeper and longer recession due to the tourism and entertainment trade being the last to return.

“I’m encouraged by the promise of ‘doubling down on our ambition to level up….creating jobs in all four corners of our country’ and we hope that the south west corner will be given as much attention as the north and other areas of the country.

“We urge the Chancellor yet again to recognise and back the Great South West as part of its Levelling-Up agenda and award us the £2m funding we’ve asked for to create a thorough economic plan and get this powerhouse economy off the ground.

“A new £2bn green homes grant for energy efficiency will help us roll out more schemes as part of our South West Energy Strategy which we developed with our neighbouring LEPs.

“We welcome the aim to create a green recovery, with the Heart of the South West’s key opportunities already centred on clean and inclusive growth, and the Great South West ‘Securing Our Future’ prospectus having the vision to create the UK’s leading green and blue economy. We look forward to working with Government to Restart, Revitalise and Grow.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

Heart of the South West LEP website: https://heartofswlep.co.uk/

Great South West website: https://greatsouthwest.co.uk/

Heart of the South West Route Map to Recovery: https://heartofswlep.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Heart-of-the-SW-C-19-Route-Map-to-Recovery-June-2020.pdf

The main announcements in the Chancellor’s statement are:

*         Jobs retention scheme to wind down flexibly and gradually to end in October.

*         New policy – Jobs Retention Bonus – for employers to bring people back to work with a grant of £1000 per employee for all furloughed employees.

*         A three-point plan for jobs: help people find jobs, create jobs and protect jobs.

*         Kick start scheme – Initial £2bn funding with no cap to pay employers for providing quality jobs with training to 16-24 year olds at risk of long-term unemployment . It will fund six months’ worth of wages plus companies’ costs.

*         £1000 for employers to take on trainees, targeting high value sectors.

*         1/4m more people to be supported by careers advisors; guaranteed interviews, pay employers £2K to create apprenticeships and £1500 for new apprenticeships for over 25s. Also sector based work academies and guaranteed interviews.

*         Double work coaches in job centres to get people back to work and support the long term unemployed with £1bn in Department for Work and Pensions.

The second part is to support job creation which will involve:

  • Historic investment in infrastructure creating jobs in every region and nation of the UK.

 

  • Doubling down on our ambition to level up….creating jobs All four corners of our country”

 

  • Creating green jobs as part of  a green recovery with concern for the environment at its heart.

 

  • A new £2bn green homes grant for energy efficiency.

 

  • Level up with better infrastructure and green jobs. Concern for the environment at its heart. £2bn voucher scheme plus grants for public sector buildings and social housing, totally £3bn green jobs plan: Cut carbon by ½ megaton per year, save money, create jobs.

 

  • Temporary cut to stamp duty on transactions below £250K to counteract uncertainty in the market and drive growth.

Final part, protecting jobs:

Hardest hit sectors- hospitality and tourism. Many coastal and rural economies rely on these sectors – 80% stopped trading in April. £1.4m workers furloughed, the highest of any sector – relevant to the Heart of the South West.

Measures to get these moving:

  • VAT reduction for six months from out-of-home food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% from next Wednesday to 12 January. £4bn catalyst benefitting 150,000 businesses and 2.4m jobs

 

  • Protect 1.8m people who work in the hospitality sector:

 

Meals eaten at any participating business in August (Monday to Wednesday) get 50% off with a voucher to the maximum of £10 per head. Eat out to help out.  There are 1.8m people in this industry nationally.