The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council has approved plans that will see the creation of a new post-pandemic Economic Task Force.
All areas of the country, and the UK, have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are genuine concerns about the impact on the economy. The Task Force is in place to help assist the recovery of the local economy, and there is a focus on the long term.
The basis for the work carried out by the Task Force comes from the ‘Unlocking Our Society And Economy’ framework issued by the Welsh Government.
The Task Force, and the framework, is focusing on the core themes of:
· The economy
· Public realm
· Natural environment
There has been significant input from the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, and it is hoped several structured options will be implemented to assist the county borough in emerging from the current restrictions.
Money has been ring-fenced for economic development
There is a new economic engagement programme being implemented, and there will be a specific ring-fenced budget. This budget is called the Economic Futures Fund, and its role is to support the aims and activities of the Task Force.
The Task Force will assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy. This work will incorporate original research and evidence from other findings. It is hoped the Task Force will deliver an economic plan which contains actions which local businesses can implement to adapt to the changing needs of the current time.
The economic plan hopes to help businesses:
· Adapt to the new and evolving economic landscape
· Become more resilient
· Deliver new training opportunities
The economic plan will also look to encourage competitive and productive business while reducing income inequality while supporting the move towards a zero-carbon economy.
There is an opportunity to change the way we work and operate
Many people recognise that out dealings with the COVID-19 pandemic can point towards a brighter future. There is an opportunity to reset many traditional actions, and this will hopefully create a safer and more productive tomorrow for the local area, and the whole country.
The economic plan also aims to develop fairer, healthier and more sustainable communities which aligns with the Government’s approach towards regional investment in Wales.
Cllr Charles Smith is the Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, and he said: “The taskforce will enable us to identify the needs of local businesses in an efficient, co-ordinated manner, and will feature business leaders, local public sector organisations, the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, representatives from business sectors and trade bodies, and other key stakeholders.”
Charles Smith continued by saying; “I’m pleased that that we will be able to back up the taskforce with funding of £1.6m as well as working with partners to maximise its value, using it to lever in matched grant funding to help support the business environment, and to sustain and create local jobs.”
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