The second annual review of Nottingham’s ambitious Growth Plan is released today. And figures show that the city continues to make considerable gains in its plans to regenerate its economy, create jobs and evolve its business landscape.
This blueprint for growth, first launched in July 2012, outlines the long term economic strategy for the city and looks at how Nottingham will maximise new opportunities presented by a changing political and economic landscape. It is recognised that the move towards increased regional devolution could have a huge impact on future growth, access to funding and more effective local delivery of skills, employment support, infrastructure investment and business support.
The review highlights, that as a direct result of Growth Plan projects introduced, almost 1,000 Apprentices have now been created through the Apprenticeship Hub, 1,986 jobs created through Growth Plan initiatives, over 4,000 people helped into jobs and £10 million of business finance committed through funds and grants established to support businesses and new ventures from start-up to high growth.
Nottingham Growth Plan has also heavily influenced a fall in unemployment figures of 21% in the last year, its lowest level since 2008, and cut the number of shops standing empty in the heart of the city by a staggering 30%.
City Council Leader, Councillor Jon Collins, said of The Growth Plan: “Now just two years in to a ten year programme, we are reviewing results that are clearly tangible and having wider effect. Our challenge is to ensure that the Growth Plan remains fit for purpose and responsive to changing economic and political forces – to keep our ambitions for the city clearly in focus. The move to greater regional devolution, changing government policy, an election in 2015 and a more positive economic landscape will all offer new opportunities that Nottingham needs to be ready to seize so that city can look forward with confidence to an enterprising future.”
£58.9 million of funding secured through the Local Growth Deal now supports a further £205 million of additional investment. Projects underway include the expansion of the BioCity base in the Creative Quarter, development of the Broadmarsh and Southern Gateway sites (£10.3 million) and £30 million for the delivery of a new Nottingham Skills Hub in the city centre. There is also likely to be new funding made available via D2N2 for European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) in 2015.
Nottingham’s status as a Core City (the eight largest English Cities outside London) has seen the city at the forefront of the campaign for regional devolution and striving to influence emerging policy that could have considerable impact on its future. Partnerships are being explored as the starting point for new governance structures that could be a reality in the coming year. In February 2014, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and seven district Councils created the N2 Economic Prosperity Committee to review together the major economic decisions that could affect the city and region – a step towards the creation of a combined authority in Nottingham. Certainly it is expected that greater devolution will be offered to those places where governance is strengthened through combined authorities.