Shropshire Council leader wants more skilled jobs for county
Creating more highly skilled and well paid jobs is key to driving up economic growth in the county, Shropshire Council’s leader has said.
Speaking at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet yesterday, Councillor Peter Nutting said Shropshire’s problem was poorly paid jobs rather than high unemployment.
Cabinet members had been presented with draft reports outlining the priorities and ambitions of its largest market towns in bolstering their economies in the coming years.
Strategies had been prepared for Oswestry, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Shifnal. Shrewsbury was not included as its economic growth plans are detailed in the Big Town Plan.
Council leader Peter Nutting said: “We have always said economic growth is really important to us.
"It is not so much about the number of jobs in Shropshire, but we want better quality jobs.
“There isn’t an unemployment problem in Shropshire but there is what I call a poor employment problem.”
The plans highlight a need to increase the number of higher skilled jobs in order to attract and retain skilled workers. The documents outline steps to work with schools and colleges to foster entrepreneurship and provide career-focused activities.
The council also wants to attract inward investment and support the growth of new and existing businesses.
Councillor Steve Charmley, deputy leader and portfolio holder for economic growth, said: “We have got the Economic Growth Strategy for Shropshire which runs until 2021, and these Local Economic Growth Strategies continue to feed into that document.
“A lot of work has been done with local communities, town and parish councils, local business and stakeholders to bring these documents together.
“It will give us a road map for delivering economic growth within these market towns.
“The next phase will be to go to the lower level and do a strategy for the smaller communities around the county.
“I hope people will get involved in the consultation and make comments on where they think businesses and economic growth should be in their area.”
Cabinet members agreed to approve the draft plans and put them out to public consultation before they are finalised.
The economic strategies emphasise the importance of expanding and developing key business sites, including the proposed Oswestry Innovation Park on land next to the Mile End roundabout.
Sites for a new business park are being explored in Whitchurch, while the expansion of Tern Valley Business Park is underway in Market Drayton.
A key priority in Ludlow and Bridgnorth is to identify new employment land to allow local businesses to expand without being forced out of the area.
The plan for Bridgnorth also suggests re-drawing the town’s boundaries in order to release Green Belt land.