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Local Economy and Growth

Local Economy and Growth

The Council’s role

In Gateshead we want to foster a strong, sustainable and inclusive economy that provides equal opportunity for all residents to enjoy the best lives possible, now and in the future.  The Council’s goal is to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of local communities by establishing an environment in which businesses can thrive and create more and better jobs and by helping people access and progress in work.  Growth in employment and incomes will help to tackle poverty and economic inequality in addition to boosting health and wellbeing.

Housing also plays a major role in the local economy, be that by attracting and retaining workers or through construction-related activity.  There are also associations between the quality of housing, ill health, poverty and social mobility. These can have very significant economic impacts in the longer term by affecting the productivity of adults living in poorer housing, but also by the impact on the life chances of their children.

As well as helping maximise income generation to the Council, growth also therefore helps to reduce demand on the services we provide.

We currently promote growth by:-

  • Working with a range of public, private and third-sector partners to influence policy, investment and service delivery decisions in Gateshead’s favour
  • Ensuring businesses, individually and collectively, have all they need to thrive in Gateshead and create good-quality, sustainable jobs
  • Helping residents develop in-demand skills and overcome barriers to work to enable them to secure and progress in good employment
  • Improving the financial capability of residents to help them maximise and protect their income, assets and savings
  • Enabling the provision of sufficient market and affordable housing in order to retain existing residents and attract new people of working age to Gateshead
  • Delivering the physical infrastructure necessary to support growth e.g. business space, transport, broadband, energy, green spaces
  • Promoting Gateshead to investors, developers, businesses and potential residents

Possible destination

Three year plan relating to economic and housing growth activity involves a reduction in the following areas in year 1:

  • Enterprise and Industry  (33% reduction)
  • Employment, Skills and Inclusion (50% reduction)
  • Housing Growth (33% reduction)
  • A reduction in management (66%) and technical support (66%) for these functions.

Capital Project delivery will continue to be supported by working with housing development industry to attract development to the area.

Our dedicated roles working on economic policy and partnership activity would cease.

The 3 year plan relating to development and public protection activity involves:

  • Increased income
  • Digital and IT improvements to promote channel shift and maximise efficient and home working
  • Partnerships with other local authorities

Key actions to get to the destination

  • Review economic and housing growth priorities, stopping or reducing activity in line with the available budget.
  • The following actions have been identified to increase income from Business Rates and Council Tax subject to capacity to deliver:
    • Explore the use of financial instruments and alternative investment models
    • Analysis of Economic Growth major projects and improved delivery confidence
    • Focus on Place Promotion and consider alternative relationship with investors
    • Enterprise Zone infrastructure investment plan
    • Programme and investment agreed for specialist and supported housing growth
    • Develop Housing Investment Plan
    • Investment Options for Gateshead Regeneration Partnership
    • Consultation for Making Space for Growing Places
    • Prepare Business Case for in-house housing development
    • Develop a five year business plan to achieve financial sustainability of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) by further reductions in cost to save and maintain minimum investment
    • Explore and develop options for sustainable housing stock including mitigation of Government policy and sale of high value stock and the stock options open to the Council
    • Develop Investment Strategy for core Council Housing Stock to retain good housing to meet the needs of the majority requiring social housing
    • Identify options to reduce housing stock that does not meet future needs
    • Consider future arrangements for Regeneration Partnership and Joint Venture arrangements/ consolidation
    • Implement new Housing Repairs and Maintenance contract and realise financial benefits
    • Develop and implement future Housing Asset Strategy

Budget proposals

Ref.Draft proposals

Reduce capacity in Economic and Housing Growth Service

42 Development and Public Protection redundancies/restructure (although separate Invest to Save proposal for additional resources in the short term to enable change by modernising way of working)
43 Income Generation
44 Increase in contribution of the HRA to offset costs of activities carried out within the service  - further saving in 2018/2020 

Year 2 and year 3 will see the following further work:

Restructure across Development, Transport and Public Protection Service.