Co-creating the West Cheshire Inclusive Economy Strategy & Action Plan
West Cheshire’s £10.5billion economy performs strongly, at or above national averages on key indicators. However, growth to date has not resulted in prosperity for all in the Borough. Strong average economic performance masks persistent inequalities between the best- and worst-off people and places across West Cheshire. The impacts of COVID-19 have amplified rising levels of inequality.
West Cheshire is the fifth-highest emitting local authority area in the UK and is uniquely positioned at the heart of the UK’s hydrogen infrastructure development; it has a challenge, responsibility, and opportunity to decarbonise.
In 2020, the Council declared Climate and Poverty Emergencies and set the ambition to create a Greener, Fairer and Stronger local economy.
Steer Economic Development, supported by close associates Les Newby (Les Newby Associates) and Nicky Denison (Wordfern Limited), were commissioned to support Cheshire West and Chester Council in developing an Inclusive Economy Strategy and Action Plan for West Cheshire.
Our work started with an extensive review of the available data across socio-economic domains to assess local challenges and priorities.
Building on this learning and in consultation with local stakeholders, we developed the Inclusive Economy Strategy – focused on the vision to create a local economy that is Greener, Fairer and Stronger, and one that better enables all people, places and enterprises to thrive.
To move from Strategy to Action, we facilitated the co-creation of an ambitious Action Plan, through a programme of action-focused workshops with the Council, public, private and, voluntary & community sector representatives.
The Inclusive Economy Strategy and Action Plan builds on West Cheshire’s strengths but understands the barriers preventing prosperity for all. The plan prioritises reducing poverty and inequality, combatting the climate emergency, supporting community wellbeing, and enhancing the vibrancy of the Borough. Twelve actions have been prioritised for development and delivery in order to kick-start the step-change in creating a more inclusive West Cheshire economy.
These actions comprise:
- Implement skills escalators
- Increase green skills & jobs
- Expand digital inclusion
- Nurture youth aspiration
- Build stronger communities
- Improve transport access to opportunities
- Support sustainable food, agriculture & natural capital
- Create a long-term plan for housing retrofit
- Promote good employment & business best practice
- Establish an anchors network
- Strengthen local supply chains & social value
- Provide start-up & social enterprise support
Further updates to follow.