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Views sought on economic future

Borough council consulting residents on growth strategy

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth

charlotte.booth@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886637

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BASINGSTOKE and Deane Borough Council is asking residents for their views on the district’s economic future.

A consultation on the draft Economic Growth Strategy 2018-2033 is now open for people to give their feedback.

The strategy has been prepared by the local authority, working with local partners, businesses and residents.

Council leader Clive Sanders said: “Our borough already has some of the key foundations for economic success, but we cannot stand still and need to be able to respond to challenges that, if ignored, could impact the borough’s economic growth.

“This collaborative approach will ensure all partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors can work together to make sure that the borough’s economy remains resilient for years to come.

“We welcome everyone to share their views during the consultation, which will run until Monday, February 18.”

It focuses on enabling the right conditions for business growth and sets out key areas and priorities to help achieve long-term sustainable economic prosperity for the borough.

Key areas include education and start-up businesses.

The strategy states: “By far, the main barrier to growth for our borough is access to talent.

“Workforce shortages at all levels are consistently cited as the one obstacle that could hold back our economy.

“We therefore must put in place the right educational and learning ecosystem to enable our existing and future workforce to acquire the skills and qualifications that will be needed to fuel our economy and respond to an ever-evolving labour market.

“Supporting our entrepreneurs will also be key.

“The borough is already a good place for start-ups, but there is a lot more work to do to create the perfect environment to start and grow a business and to ensure that we remain a centre of excellence for innovation.”

The strategy acknowledges that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will potentially have an impact. It states: “How we address the impact of Brexit at local level will depend on what the new relationship with the EU will be, but it is likely that our workforce shortages will be exacerbated, particularly in sectors such as health, social care or wholesale and retail.

“Our business community may also need additional support to access new markets and maximise new exporting opportunities as well as overcoming changes in regulation, quality standards and import/export processes.

“Brexit may also impact the amount of foreign direct investment that will be secured by the UK in the future.”

Once adopted, the strategy will be used to steer the economic development services delivered by the council and its partners.

For more information about the draft Economic Growth Strategy and to share your thoughts, visit https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/economic-growth-strategy

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