Hopes high that Shropshire will see quick recovery when pandemic is over

Shropshire will be a magnet for attractive investment opportunities, new jobs and sustainable growth as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic council chiefs say.

Councillor Steve Charmley
Councillor Steve Charmley

The county is well placed geographically and strategically to grow and build on its natural assets, Shropshire Council says.

It can help both established and new emerging businesses in the coming years as the economy is re-defined and transformed.

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the council’s new economic recovery, transformation and resilience framework when it meets on January 18.

The framework will deliver an economic growth plan to ensure the county’s economy is aligned to national and regional priorities and will use a dynamic project tracker to identify and report emerging issues and bring forward opportunities to build in the short, medium and long-term.

Councillor Steve Charmley, deputy leader and cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, said: “There is no hiding that the last year has been extremely tough for every business in the county, but we are well placed to provide a strong economic recovery for the whole of Shropshire.

“I am confident that this economic framework provides ways we can identify and establish restart, revitalise and regrow opportunities across the county as we address Covid-19, Brexit, digital and environmental challenges with resilience and transformation.

Focus

“We want to focus on business growth and survival and investing in our local economy, while also focussing on employment growth, particularly within innovative, digital and environmental sectors.

“We will support our young residents in getting into work and ensure that we have a digitally active and agile workforce, while also promoting Shropshire’s visitor economy and staycation opportunities, which are particularly timely.

“Shropshire is a fantastic, resilient county and well placed to bounce back quickly. There is work going on all over the county to ensure that is the case, from the Business Park Programme to the work happening in major towns like Oswestry and Shrewsbury.”

A report to councillors says a key highlight of how Shropshire’s economy is developing is the growth in ‘superfast’ broadband, with coverage increasing from 24 per cent to 94 per cent since 2014, highlighting the impact the pandemic could have had in our business communities had the Connecting Shropshire Programme not already been in place.

In order to further develop, the council is now working with Government on the new ‘gigabit’ programme planning announced in the Autumn Spending Review which the council will work on to plug the remaining ‘superfast’ gaps in the county.

The council will also focus on the green agenda while working on economic growth. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a notable reduction in pollution and carbon emissions, highlighting the scale of behaviour change needed. Therefore, the council will focus on employment opportunities in renewable energy development, energy efficiency retrofit measures, low carbon vehicle fuels and land management.

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