“We need to work together locally to help recover our local economy.”
The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Aileen Morton, summed up the challenges facing the local economy in moving on from the impacts of COVID-19.
“Tourism and regeneration work on hold, numerous local shops closed, businesses suspended, jobs being lost… COVID-19 is having significant consequences for the local economy.
We must do all we can to keep ourselves healthy. Supporting our economy is a key part of that - a healthy economy brings the jobs, services, and business growth that our communities need to live well.”
The Leader’s comments followed approval, by today’s Business Continuity Committee (BCC), of an economic recovery plan for Argyll and Bute.
The plan sets out short, medium and long-term measures to support local business sectors and the wider community to move on from the impact of COVID-19.
These actions include:
Setting up the Argyll and Bute Economic Resilience Forum to bring together public and private sectors to identify issues and progress solutions. Members include the council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise, Visit Scotland and private sector representatives including local Chambers of Commerce, BIDs groups and key business sectors such as tourism, agriculture, aquaculture, construction and fisheries.
Gathering data on the economic impact of the pandemic and seeking Government support on issues facing our rural economy.
Progressing the Argyll Rural Growth Deal (RGD) to put at least £50 million of UK and Scottish Government funding to work for Argyll and Bute as quickly as possible.
Providing local business with over £30 million in Government grant funding
Providing businesses with social distancing information and other ways to keep staff, customers and local communities safe
Moving forward with funding bids and tender exercises so that area regeneration activity can recommence as soon as lockdown restrictions permit.
Councillor Morton said: “Argyll and Bute’s economy has great opportunities for growth. In the longer term, to make growth happen we have to beat competition from other areas across Scotland and the UK who are trying to attract the same investment, customers, visitors and residents that we need here. Right now though our businesses need the support of our local communities to keep them going until restrictions are eased further.
We must all continue to take action to protect each other from COVID-19. We must also come together to restore the health of our economy.”
A copy of the recovery plan is available on the website: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=641&MId=10708&Ver=4.