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Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Home Business Harrow Council secures over £16m to support pandemic economic recovery

Harrow Council secures over £16m to support pandemic economic recovery

Harrow Council has launched its Draft Economic Strategy which aims to respond to the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and support the recovery.

The wide-ranging strategy will involve use of existing resources and external funding secured by the Council as well as innovative schemes and initiatives.

The draft Economic Strategy has been developed in response to and in support of the Council’s Borough Plan 2019-2030. The Plan sets out a vision for Harrow which is to build an inclusive, sustainable, and thriving economy, with flourishing local enterprises, providing well paid employment opportunities for Harrow’s growing and diverse population.

In the immediate term the Council has secured over £16m in external funds to deliver a range of employment, business support and infrastructure programmes.

These include:

 

An expansion of the Council’s job brokerage scheme and the launch of a vacancy bulletin supporting those who became unemployed to work with sectors, such as social care.

 

Transferral of apprenticeship levy funding to SMEs to create new apprenticeships in care, health, construction, and digital sectors.

 

Expansion of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and employability provision to deliver outreach services.

 

Promotion of our Jobs, Employment and Training Programme as well as the Work and Health Programme.

 

In terms of business growth and job creation the Council has:

 

Distributed £62m in government grants to over 900 local businesses.

 

Provided businesses with free 1:1 business advice, training, and health checks through our business diagnostic programme.
Changed procurement policies to enable immediate payment for valid invoices for Community and Voluntary Sector Organisations and to small businesses.

 

In addition, the Council has made changes in terms of sustainability, these include:

 

Carrying out physical and visual improvements to Harrow town and district centres, enabling safe trading; maintaining local spend; and supporting social distancing.

 

Providing business advice and guidance to support the viability of the town and district centres.

 

Implementation of transport initiatives to encourage sustainable travel to local centres.

 

The Council has also carried out work with the aim of connecting communities. This includes the launch of the ‘Harrow Basket’, online portal, to encourage residents to buy goods and services online from Harrow businesses, helping local businesses to trade online and develop their digital capability and providing training to “digitally excluded residents” to stop social exclusion.

The borough has seen job losses in administrative, hospitality, retail, and entry-level occupations. Therefore, the challenge will be in replacing those lost jobs with better paid sustainable employment. We are focusing on upskilling residents for roles that are fit for the future and targeted towards our growing business and employment sectors. Mapping future skills and demand for skills and vocational qualifications will be an immediate priority.

The Council will work with partners to achieve the best results for the people of Harrow.

The Council will work with West London Alliance, the Greater London Authority, and relevant Central Government departments, to ensure Harrow’s businesses and residents can access local, sub-regional, London and national provision to enable business growth, safeguard jobs, create new jobs, grow the skills of residents, and support residents to enter employment.

Cllr Keith Ferry, Business, Property and Leisure Portfolio Holder, said:We have faced significant challenges to businesses, especially in administrative, hospitality, retail and entry-level occupations. Our Draft Economic Strategy and the actions we have taken in the immediate term will support our firms as they recover from the effects of pandemic. Our workforce is diverse, talented and adaptable and our local businesses are wonderful. With this support and their own skills I have every faith in them to be able to rebuild and flourish.”

Cllr Graham Henson, Harrow Council Leader, said:Our Draft Economic Strategy responds to our Borough Plan priorities and sets out how Harrow recovers from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. The strategy seeks to focus on skills and employability, business growth and job creation, sustainable place making and connecting communities.

“We have also worked hard to secure millions of pounds in external funds to deliver a range of employment, business support and infrastructure programmes.”

Source: Harrow Council