Economic recovery, following the impact of COVID-19, has started in Argyll and Bute.
This positive progress was highlighted in a report to the council’s Business Continuity Committee (BCC): in line with the Scottish Government’s road map to recovery, local businesses are starting to operate again across Argyll and Bute, construction has re-started on area regeneration, affordable housing and other projects, manufacturing has re-started, and visitors are returning to Argyll and Bute in good numbers.
The report also acknowledges that with a world-wide recession emerging, there are and will be negative impacts locally on jobs and the economy. The BCC considered the contents of the report and approved the updated Argyll and Bute Economic Recovery Plan, including a list of projects with council involvement.
Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead for Economic Growth, said:
“The economic fallout across the whole UK as a result of COVID-19 has been colossal and this has impacted on a local level. The biggest and most visible impact we have faced in Argyll and Bute has been with our tourism and hospitality industries.
Our economic outlook changed almost overnight in March with many events having to postpone or cancel and businesses having to close. Many retail businesses also had to close and our food and drink industries were badly affected with the closure of international markets and commercial outlets for their products.
The harsh reality is that many people will be out of work and may be forced to move away from the area. We want to create as many employment opportunities as possible to support long term economic growth and recovery for Argyll and Bute, provide opportunities and support for our communities. Working in partnership, our economic recovery plan provides that blueprint for development and growth.”
Under the key Scottish Government themes, People and Places, Infrastructure, Enterprise and Natural Environment – Low Carbon Economy, the council plan includes a number of actions:
- Employment support for newly unemployed, under-employed and those facing redundancy including disadvantaged groups and remote rural communities
- Promote opportunities and careers to all young people leaving full time education during the pandemic
- The launch of a Strategic Events and festivals fund
- Investment in town centres and local communities with an area regeneration programme of works
- Explore opportunities to develop the hydrogen economy at a local level and the sustainable expansion of renewable energy generation
- Continue to lobby for an accelerated digital infrastructure investment by national Governments and private industry
The report outlines an immediate response to the current economic situation to help the economic recovery process. In addition, a range of short, medium and longer term projects have been identified with the potential to support approximately 6,498 jobs through a minimum of £242.5m of capital expenditure.
The economic recovery plan can be found on the council website.