Council leader Tudor Evans has pledged to lead from the front the city’s economic recovery programme out of the COVID-19 lockdown.
At Cabinet today (Tuesday 5 May) he will announce plans to help Plymouth’s businesses get back to work through Resurgam - a programme to oversee recovery across all sectors.
The name is Latin for ‘I shall rise again’ and the word became part of Plymouth’s history when it appeared on a wooden sign over the bombed out St Andrew's Church during the Blitz.
Councillor Evans said:
“This is the biggest economic challenge this city has faced since the Blitz, but I am certain we can rise to the challenge.
“Over the last few years we have made huge strides in creating and sustaining jobs and prosperity. We have great partnerships across the city. We need to harness the energy and expertise that we have built up - not just from within the Council - but across key business organisations and companies to work together to make sure Plymouth is ready to remerge from the lockdown.
“We will be working closely with the Plymouth Growth Board and all of our brilliant sector partnerships over the coming weeks to build a series of sector action plans that tailor our support specifically to the needs of each sector.
“We will also be looking at how the Council’s own economic footprint can help restart the economy through our procurement, capital programme and projects pipeline. If we can get these restarted quickly it will be an immediate and massive boost to the economy.”
Over the past few weeks the Council’s role as ‘Economic First Responder’ has helped soften the blow of the lockdown. Its business team has worked directly with the 3,800 businesses which have benefited from the business grants schemes. So far it has helped get over £37 million out to the city’s businesses. The Council has also been heavily involved in lobbying for extra support alongside the Devon Chamber of Commerce, The Federation of Small Businesses and Plymouth Manufacturing Group.
It has helped the city’s fishing industry by lobbying for more funds and supporting the hugely successful Call4 Fish initiative. It also set up an online trading platform Shop4Plymouth connecting retail businesses with new customers.
Councillor Evans continued:
“During this time an incredible dedicated team of professionals have worked tirelessly to support our businesses from the very smallest to the very largest.
“Through their endeavours we have made a real difference to so many people at their time of greatest need. It has been an absolute delight for me personally to receive so many letters of thanks and compliments on their behalf.”
The Council will build on this relationship and ramp up support for businesses across the board. More details will be unveiled over the coming weeks for how Plymouth’s Resurgam project will swing into action.
Before the lockdown there were £300 million worth of development projects being delivered with a pipeline of £1 billion. We will build upon all of these existing opportunities. Developments approved in the last six years are worth £1.56 billion, of which almost 70 per cent had been finished or under construction at the end of March.
“Recovery is something the entire world is grappling with. But we need to remind ourselves there was so much Plymouth was getting right before the lockdown.
“This is a chance to pause, to consider and to reset, to build on our success, keep confidence high across our strong sectors but to also think about what new normal will look like, what new ways of working and new demands we need to all start thinking about.”
Richard Stevens, Chair of Plymouth Growth Board said
“Plymouth City Council’s plans to help kick-start the local economy are well founded in pragmatism and ambition, I believe that the plan strikes the right balance of public and private partnership having outlined meaningful interventions that will aid economic recovery and help businesses get back on their feet.”
Jonathan Keable, chair of the Plymouth Federation of Small Businesses, said they were excited by the Council’s Resurgam project that aimed ‘to get our businesses, community and economy thriving again. He added:
“In the spirit of true ‘Mayflower pioneers', Plymouth City Council continue to lead our city through these difficult times, and will help return Plymouth to a prosperous future.’
Chair of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Stuart Elford added:
“The chamber is delighted to be working with Plymouth City Council on a bold and far reaching plan to emerge from the current crisis quickly, safely and stronger than ever.”