Council plans to accelerate economic growth across North Yorkshire have been endorsed by the county’s business leaders.
As members of North Yorkshire Council adopted a new Economic Growth Strategy this week (Wednesday, November 15), they were urged to work in partnership with businesses of all sizes.
The five-year strategy will see the authority establishing a leading role in proposals to create a carbon-negative economy, maximise investment, support business growth, increase innovation and productivity and fire up the jobs and skills agenda.
With delivery both by the council and by working with other agencies, the strategy aims to improve the quality of life for the county’s 615,000 residents and 32,000 businesses.
York and North Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) development manager, Carolyn Frank, said:
“Businesses will welcome the joined-up approach recommended in the strategy, and the ambitions outlined, but will be focused on the ‘making it happen’ steps to follow.
“There is widespread economic uncertainty and it is crucial that the council works in partnership with business owners of all sizes to make sure that North Yorkshire continues to be a great place to do business, with businesses and self-employed needs understood.
“There are many exciting opportunities ahead through devolution and these will only be realised by the public and private sectors working in partnership. In a turbulent economy and time of rapid change, a strategy can only make a lasting difference if the implementation is action-oriented, agile and impact focused.”
North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council have successfully secured a devolution deal with the Government, which subject to final approval by Parliament, will lead to the creation of a new York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, which is set to drive regeneration and investment to the wider area.
The president of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Sarah Czarnechi, added:
“As we transition into a mayoral combined authority, we need to be bold and ambitious as a region. This will need both of our councils to harness North Yorkshire’s assets and forge new strengths to create a future-facing economy that works for everyone.”
The strategy sets out measures to equip town centres so they can thrive through the 21st century by investment in transport, housing, digital and energy infrastructure, and ensure residents have the skills needed to meet these aspirations.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said:
“Adopting our economic growth strategy comes at one of the most exciting times in the county’s history – a new unitary authority has been created and devolution is approaching.
“With a range of factors creating economic uncertainty and inequalities across the new council’s geography it is a necessity that we have a clear, focused set of priorities to drive our economic development ambition.
“We have the opportunity to take the lead on tackling economic challenges and maximise investment from the private sector, government and funding agencies, as well as looking to improve the infrastructure of the county where we can. We are home to a vast array of businesses and want to see our specialisms grow – including renewable energy generation, agritech, food and drink, and, of course, our visitor economy.
“A clear strategic framework on which to build a fit-for-purpose delivery model for the new council means we will be well placed to proactively drive future economic growth across the area and the North.”
Cllr Bastiman said the strategy also outlines the key role that area constituency committees (ACCs) will play in its implementation. Engagement with local communities through these committees will help to develop local economic action plans to meet local challenges while contributing to the council’s overall aim to support communities to work together to improve their local area.