Council economic fightback praised but job worries remain

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The progress being made by Argyll and Bute Council to help the economy after coronavirus has been highlighted in a new report.

The council’s Business Continuity Committee was told that local businesses have started to operate again along with construction and manufacturing.

Visitors have returned to Argyll and Bute in ‘good numbers,’ said the council, although a worldwide recession is emerging which would impact locally on jobs and the economy, the report said.

The committee approved the updated Argyll and Bute Economic Recovery Plan which includes a list of projects with council involvement.

These include:

  • Employment support for newly unemployed, under-employed and those facing redundancy including disadvantaged groups and remote rural communities
  • Promoting opportunities and careers to all young people leaving full-time education during the pandemic
  • The launch of a Strategic Events and Festivals fund
  • Investment in town centres and local communities with an area regeneration programme of works
  • Explore opportunities to develop the hydrogen economy at a local level and the sustainable expansion of renewable energy generation
  • Continue to lobby for an accelerated digital infrastructure investment by national Governments and private industry
  • A range of short, medium and longer term projects have been identified with the potential to support approximately 6,498 jobs through a minimum of £242.5m of capital expenditure.

Councillor Alastair Redman, policy lead for economic growth, said: ‘The economic fallout across the whole UK as a result of Covid-19 has been colossal and this has impacted on a local level.

‘The biggest and most visible impact we have faced in Argyll and Bute has been with our tourism and hospitality industries.

‘Our economic outlook changed almost overnight in March with many events having to postpone or cancel and businesses having to close.

‘Many retail businesses also had to close and our food and drink industries were badly affected with the closure of international markets and commercial outlets for their products.

‘The harsh reality is that many people will be out of work and may be forced to move away from the area.

‘We want to create as many employment opportunities as possible to support long term economic growth and recovery for Argyll and Bute, provide opportunities and support for our communities.

‘Working in partnership, our economic recovery plan provides that blueprint for development and growth.’

The economic recovery plan can be found on the council website.