CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board has agreed an ambitious Covid-19 economic recovery plan which aims to safeguard and create jobs, support businesses and bolster the local economy over the next two years.
The plan has been drawn up after detailed assessments of the short, medium and long-term impacts of the pandemic alongside Brexit.
The recovery strategy focuses efforts on 11 key themes, with emphasis on maximising opportunities for local businesses and growing the economy.
It sets out the authority’s aims to help businesses replace more than 3,000 jobs that have already been lost during the pandemic and safeguarding and replacing up to 10,000 jobs that may have been, or are at high risk of being, lost when furlough comes to an end.
The council has also planned how it will support over 1,400 businesses that are at risk of insolvency and the creation of around 1,700 jobs that would have been generated if Carmarthenshire’s economy had stayed on its pre-pandemic growth trajectory.
The plan has been developed and challenged by an independent group of key private sector industry leaders, working alongside the council’s economic development team.
Four key cross-cutting priorities have also been identified, including a major focus on ensuring the county has ultra-reliable digital connectivity, digital culture and skills.
In the short-term, attention will be focused on the food sector and supply chains that are suffering significantly alongside hospitality sector closures – a sector recognised as a pivotal element of Carmarthenshire’s foundational economy; and supporting the growth of skills and talent in key areas so that local people have the knowledge and expertise to work in Carmarthenshire well into the future.
Alongside the economic recovery plan, the Executive Board has agreed a progressive procurement strategy to develop existing policy so that Carmarthenshire people and business benefit from local authority spending, with the general principle of putting Carmarthenshire businesses first when spending below £25,000.
Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said that supporting local small and medium businesses and foundational economies was a key aspect of the overarching plan.
“If we can get it right and increase our local procurement spend by just 10 per cent this will mean an additional local spend of £25million plus, that will help our SMEs to upscale, to become more productive, creating additional employment and higher wages,” he said.
“This would be a sustainable year on year solution that will never be matched by an equivalent level of grant support.”
Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, added: “Our local businesses are the back-bone of our economy here in Carmarthenshire, so I very much welcome the recommendations.
“Increasing procurement and recycling our wealth is very important – we have to do our very best to re-build in every area.”
The full details of the recommendations made in both the economic recovery plan and the progressive procurement strategy can be found on the council’s website – visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales