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First look at shared vision for growing Norfolk's economy post Covid-19

Norfolk County Council, 19 May 2022 00:00

Councillors will get their first look at a major piece of research which is set to shape Norfolk's economy over the coming years as the county emerges from the effects of the pandemic.

The Norfolk Investment Framework has been developed with input from Norfolk's business, voluntary, research, education, health and tourism sectors.

The aim is to understand the current position of Norfolk's economy, particularly the post covid picture, and identify key challenges, opportunities and focus for investment and growth.

Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Growing the Economy said: "This is the most comprehensive picture of the Norfolk economy to date, and takes account of the implications of the pandemic, sector growth projections, the national and local policy context, and investments already planned. The focus is on exponential growth, and this report will give us the strong evidence base we need to address the step change in pay, productivity, and skills that is needed."

The report sets out Norfolk's 4 Grand Challenges that align with the government's levelling up agenda:

  1. To create new opportunities for Norfolk's residents by increasing skills and labour market dynamism
  2. Provide effective and efficient public services to a spatially disperse population
  3. Strengthen and future-proof business clusters to grow the economy
  4. Protect Norfolk's economic and natural assets from climate change

Cllr James Bensly, Chair of the Infrastructure and Development Select Committee, said: "Norfolk is in a great position to contribute to the national growth we all want to see, and this framework will also be an important tool to help us make a strong and clear case to the government for the funding Norfolk needs and deserves.

"I'm looking forward to considering, alongside members of the select committee, the detail of this report and the research that's been produced. This framework has been developed in partnership with key businesses and organisations across Norfolk and it is very much intended to be a shared vision for us all."

Understanding the current and recent post covid picture in Norfolk is important so one thing the research looks at is the impact of covid on Norfolk's economy. Figures in the report show that for the period from March 2020 to June 2021 some 25,300 self-employed people in Norfolk made claims totalling £70 million, and around 20,900 businesses in Norfolk received a combined total of £299 million in business grants. Business insolvencies peaked at 173 in March 2020 followed by 141 in March 2021. As of August 2021, there were an additional 8,100 benefits claimants in Norfolk compared to January 2020, equivalent to a 61% increase in claimants over this period. This is however lower than the proportional increase seen in both the East of England (94%) and England (+85%).

Cabinet agreed to commission the research and investment framework in August 2021. Members of the Infrastructure and Development Select Committee will be considering the reports at the meeting on Wednesday 25 May, before the report goes to Cabinet on 6 June. Read the all the papers for the 25 May meeting.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:43

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