Jobs Task Force For Plymouth
City Council Leader Tudor Evans is to chair a special task force being set up as part of a Council commitment to tackle unemployment and support job creation across the city.
A top-level team representing key city organisations has been invited to work alongside Council Leader Tudor Evans to create a 'Plan for Jobs' that can be rolled out over the next two years.
The task force will be made up of key figures from industry and organisations and will concentrate on devising a workable plan to get more people into work as well as provide support for business.
The city will be inviting a range of people to join the task force, working closely with the private sector through the Plymouth Growth Board.
The announcement follows the publication of the second Plymouth Economic Review which highlights the city's economy still has a number of problems.
The review is produced by the Plymouth Growth Board and Plymouth City Council twice a year.
LISTEN HERE: Leader Tudor Evans talks about his plans.
Its key findings are:
- Persistent high unemployment rates, especially among young people and the long-term unemployed with 34 per cent of claimants aged between 18 and 24 years old, compared to 29 per cent nationally.
- The city is struggling to close a 'productivity gap' with other parts of the country, characterised by low wages and high proportions of 'low value' jobs in economic terms.
- Although new small businesses are starting-up, too few of these are expanding to a point where there is a significant impact on unemployment.
- The private sector is not filling the void of job losses which continue in the public sector.
- Despite a number of leading-edge businesses, the city shares a South West trait of a poor export record compared with other parts of the UK. However, there were also positive aspects:
- Since the beginning of 2010, self-employment rates have increased rapidly - rising from 8.5 per cent to 12.7 per cent 2011.
- Between 2008 and 2010, the number of employees in 'growth sectors' in the city increased by almost 3,000.
- The city came 46th out of 324 local authorities in terms of proportion of 'business champions' - young, small but rapidly-growing firms with directors that show entrepreneurial skill, appetite for business risk and international in outlook.
- The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts suggest between 2007 and 2010 Plymouth recorded 41 'high-growth firms' - 8.7 per cent of its business stock, putting the city in the top 10 in the country.
- Research from Plymouth University suggests the low carbon and environmental industries (including offshore wind) may experience rapid expansion if the right incentives exist.
The Plan for Jobs will have a two-year initial lifespan and be put before the Council's Cabinet later this year.