The University of Suffolk is supporting an ambitious plan to get the economy of Suffolk and Norfolk back on its feet in the wake of Covid-19.
The plan contains an unprecedented package of measures to be delivered by partners locally and nationally to get businesses up and trading again, restore business, consumer and community confidence, and support to those who do lose their jobs.
The pandemic brought the economy to a standstill, with thousands of businesses unable to trade and almost 200,000 workers in the two counties placed on furlough.
Now as the lockdown is eased, a series of interventions are needed to help businesses and individuals hit by the economic impact of the virus.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Recovery Restart Plan will complement local ones being developed at county and district levels and feed into the Government’s national recovery plan.
Measures which underpin the plan of action include:
- Advice and finance for businesses. Ensure every business has access to the finance and support they need, delivered through a new alliance of local authorities, New Anglia Growth Hub, business representative organisations and trade bodies.
- Digitisation. A major campaign to support businesses to build their online presence and improve productivity and flexible working through better use of technology.
- Responding to redundancies. A support programme for those being made redundant and help for businesses looking for workers through a new local partnership of businesses and local and national agencies.
- Supply chain. The development of a supply chain matching service to help local companies capitalise on opportunities to sell more goods and services locally.
- Transforming skills. A series of programmes to ensure every individual has the chance to reskill and upskill.
- Visitor economy. A proactive campaign to promote the area as a destination and support businesses in the tourism, hospitality and cultural sectors, as they reopen.
- Infrastructure. Support the construction sector through continued investment in key infrastructure and make the case to Government for accelerated funding for major projects.
More than 100 different organisations and groups and almost 700 individuals contributed to the New Anglia LEP draft plan after it was shared with local authorities, education providers, industry and sector groups, MPs, and other stakeholders.
The plan also has the endorsement of the Chambers of Commerce in both Suffolk and Norfolk and the Federation of Small Businesses.
Doug Field, Chair of the LEP, said “Getting the economy back on its feet will not be achieved by one partner alone or by one strand of investment or actions. The economy is most successful when we work together for the benefit of the people who live, learn and work in Norfolk and Suffolk.”
“One size will not fit all, and the plan will need to reflect local circumstances and priorities in different areas. We also need to be agile in our approach, so we can switch from recovery to response mode in the event of further lockdowns or to respond to potential issues caused by the ending of Government support packages.”
The Restart phase of the Recovery Plan will cover the immediate 12 months as public spaces and premises are reopened amid social distancing and other public safety guidelines. This will be a ‘live plan’ which is regularly updated to reflect changing circumstances and the latest business intelligence.
In 2021, the Restart plan will be replaced by a plan to Renew the economy, which builds on the Economic Strategy and Local Industrial Strategy and responds to long-term changes brought about by Covid-19.
Professor Helen Langton, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Suffolk, said “It’s important that we are still able to attract students to come to Norfolk and Suffolk, and seeing recovery will be encouraging for them.”
“It’s also important because the universities play a vital part in upskilling younger students and more mature students to play their part in helping our economic growth and regeneration more widely.”
To read the full Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Recovery Restart Plan and evidence base, visit https://newanglia.co.uk/covid-economic-recovery/
University of Suffolk Press Office
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