Decision – That the oral report of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills giving an update on “Staffordshire Means Back to Business” activity including the following matters be noted:
· The County Council was successful in its bid for Community Renewal Funding, £751,000, to support the Staffordshire Means Back to Business Programme. Working with our Districts and Boroughs, this takes the total amount available to the business community in Staffordshire to in excess of £6M to support apprenticeships, training and business start up activity.
· Our Business and Enterprise Team, as part of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Directorate have been able to secure £581,800 of One Public Estates Brownfield Land Release Fund to support the demolition of the former Magistrates Court in Stafford. This site forms part of our own efforts to drive forward town centre regeneration through the Eastgate Programme.
· Cannock Chase District Council have also been successful in their Levelling Up Fund bid and have been awarded £20M to support key regeneration schemes in their town centre.
· We continue to see job vacancies increase in Staffordshire, which grew by 18% between September and October equivalent to over 5,400 more job vacancies. Through our own Staffordshire Means Back to Business we are making good progress not least now supporting nearly 240 apprenticeships.
· The co -ordinated and quick response Redundancy and Recruitment Triage Service continues to offer free bespoke plans to any Staffordshire and Stoke business who need to restructure but also want to help their staff get into other work in growth sectors as quickly as possible. Following the conclusion of the Governments Job Retention Scheme on the 30th September, we have seen very few redundancy notification forms for the Staffordshire area. The few we have received mainly relate to changes in T&C’s and not potential risk of redundancy. This is most welcome.
· Responding to the increased job vacancies and limited redundancies, with partners, we have tweaked the name of the service from ‘Redundancy and Recruitment Triage Service’ to the ‘Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Triage Service’. This is in recognition that people don’t have to have been made redundant to contact the service which is very much about ensuring people and jobs have access to each other.