BUSINESS development and infrastructure projects so far completed by the county council as part of a decade-long growth project could see the creation of nearly 20,000 jobs.
The total value of the 15 projects completed since the growth programme began in in 2014 is £160million. Projects which are currently being carried out are valued at £204million – £15million of which is from direct county council investment.
With current (live) projects, for every £1 invested by the county council, £13.60 worth of private sector and other investment is levered in. So far on the completed sites such as i54 South Staffordshire and Redhill Business Park there are already 6,650 people working or jobs have been committed.
In addition to creating employment in Staffordshire, the sites attract additional investment, boost supply chain industries and contribute to public services through increased business rates.
The completed employment sites generate around £9 million worth of total business rates per annum – half of which is returned back to central government. It is anticipated that completed and planned developments will eventually generate £30million in business rates.
In addition to the delivery of major business and infrastructure development, the county council’s growth programme includes support for existing businesses, the development of skills to meet the needs of employers and the roll-out of superfast fibre broadband.
The county council administers the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub on behalf of the local enterprise partnership (LEP). It gives support to small and medium-sized businesses – including signposting them to funding opportunities and professional advice. Between May 2014 and May 2018 is has assisted over 6,000 businesses.
As a result of increased employment opportunities, there is an increased need by businesses for skills in advanced manufacturing and engineering. An Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Hub is being delivered across six sites to provide state of the art learning facilities and equipment. It is supporting over 4,500 learners and adding millions to the local economic output.
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “Our economic growth programme is delivering the creation of skilled jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment. It is a priority of the county council to ensure that there are increased employment opportunities in our key sectors with higher skilled, better-paid jobs making us a more prosperous county,
“We have near full employment in Staffordshire and we will work hard to ensure this continues. Before the current programme ends a further 17,000 jobs will be created and 4,500 trainees, learners or apprentices supported.
“In addition to delivering the infrastructure to pave the way for business development, we will build our network of support for small businesses which employ 55 per cent of our workforce. This programme is helping us to ensure that we have a balanced and strong economy in Staffordshire.”
The economic growth programme report will be discussed at a meeting of the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee next week.