Decision details

Investment and Opportunity Strategy

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

The Investment and Opportunity Strategy will set out how the council and partners will harness the benefits of economic growth for local residents and businesses. It will guide the economic development activities that the council delivers and direct our efforts for attracting external investment in the borough.

Decisions:

(Report 15/16-22) (Key decision)

 

The Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth introduced the report:

·      Vulnerable residents were not able to cope with cuts from central government and this evidence-based strategy had agreed priorities with residents and partners, with the latter to help delivery.  The main thrusts were to deliver a number of jobs with high wages, giving people access to skills making residents competitive, and bringing money into borough; whilst ensuring that it was equitably spread.

 

The Cabinet heard the following representations:

·      Devon Thomas, Director Lambeth Business Advisory/The Co-Op Centre, praised the report for focusing on local people who defined what was required, as increasingly councillors cannot be initiators, but had an important role to help generate business and support.  He noted that expertise and innovation were present in the borough, but needed to be invested back into local people, tapping into that pool.  From his current work with the Afro-Caribbean community, he noted that it was often hard to finance assets with low wages and high rents; creating a map of financial economic assets might be beneficial to the strategy’s continued success.

·      Mark Silverman, Principal of Lambeth College, offered his thanks for the report and noted that the Council and Lambeth College shared priorities and agenda to help local people for job opportunities and was delighted to support, endorse and align during this time of austerity.  He noted that the adult skills budget had been further hit by central government spending cuts and this strategy would help local people access opportunities, with 25,000 new jobs to be created locally, so that they can benefit the community, with Lambeth’s prominent micro-businesses given the chance to grow.  He was pleased that the curriculum identification tallies with that of the Council; centring on construction, technology, science, coding, and hospitality/catering – skills necessary for the future.  The strategy would also help access to apprenticeships, higher level skills, and working with employers for young persons to get them in the right career path or by offering guidance.  It presented a massive opportunity, but an equally massive challenge to work together with limited resources to make Lambeth an attractive place to live and work.

 

The Leader of the Council thanked the speakers and reiterated that the Council was not blind to Lambeth’s huge potential and assets.

 

Cabinet Members made the following comments:

·      The Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment) noted the report showed that Lambeth was able to punch above its weight, would help reduce long-term unemployment, and praised the inclusion of the Child Poverty Act 2010 requirements.

·      The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care was pleased with the succinct strategy, promoting investment and opportunities from private sector and European partners. Smalls and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and local businesses would benefit, and although mentoring and free market were important, business itself was key to success.  The importance of using Council funding was noted, but queried whether the use of 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy represented good practice and asked for a comparison with other local authorities.  Lambeth’s close-knit business community would need to be promoted and local procurement worked on – with an increase in funding under the £100,000 level.  She was pleased how colleges could work towards the scheme and noted that local care would minimise care costs (citing lower travel costs when providing care within local community as one example); and recommended special programmes for the group of people with disabilities outside the benefit system.

 

In response to comments, officers stated that:

·      They were very conscious of need to promote local business across large and small procurement contracts, with facilities (e.g. South London Procurement database) working with them, but would need to be extended further. This would include working with bids through the forum and also communicating this to the community.  Enabling employment for people with needs was high on the agenda and would be taken forward with the commissioning cluster and aligning programs within mental health and special educational needs, which would also access outside funding.  They were bringing commissioners and local providers together to help design local partnership bids and provide training, but this would need the right, locally-based staff and joint community working to succeed.

·      The Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth offered his thanks and commented that the huge range of the borough made it very wealthy in terms of assets; noting that this was just strategy, the focus should now be to deliver.

 

The Leader of the Council thanked partners, officers, and others in producing the report and remarked that the task now was on delivering.

 

RESOLVED:

1.   That the Investment and Opportunity Strategy be approved;

2.   That the review of the Local Plan reflects the commitments to employment growth and the priorities in the strategy;

3.  That the strategy informs the allocation of resources from Council revenue and capital budgets, including Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy, in relation to employment, enterprise, skills and regeneration activities; and,

4.  That the Council will work collaboratively with our communities and partners in delivering our priorities and achieving economic growth that benefits Lambeth’s residents and businesses.

Report author: John Bennett

Publication date: 12/06/2015

Date of decision: 08/06/2015

Decided at meeting: 08/06/2015 - Cabinet

Effective from: 20/06/2015

Accompanying Documents: