Developing the Oxfordshire COVID-19 Economic Renewal Plan (ERP)
The COVID-19 pandemic generated unprecedented economic challenges at national and local levels resulting in major disruption to employment, trade, and supply chains and severe and uneven impacts across individuals, communities and businesses.
Recognising these challenges, Oxfordshire LEP (OxLEP) and partners (Oxfordshire’s six local authorities, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, and the Oxfordshire Growth Board) established a senior stakeholder Task Group to oversee the development of a County-wide response to the pandemic.
Steer-ED was commissioned in early Summer 2020 by OxLEP and partners to develop a County-wide COVID-19 Economic Renewal Plan (ERP). The ERP had a near-term timeline, focussing on an immediate response and recovery period of 24 months, spanning five main workstreams:
- An assessment of key socio-economic indicators prior to and, where possible, after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the impact caused by the event;
- Econometric modelling (provided by our partners Cambridge Econometrics) to project the impact that COVID-19 will have on the economy of Oxfordshire in relation to the rest of the UK by running a baseline projection and then an updated projection accounting for the economic disruption caused by the pandemic;
- Consultation with 50 key business leaders and stakeholders from eight themed Focus Areas, covering the Visitor Economy, Town Centres, Green Growth, Rural Economy, Strategic Sites and Assets, Inclusive Growth, Business Growth and Supply Chains, and Jobs and Skills;
- Collation and review of existing and pipeline activities that could be reversed into and included in the ERP; and
- The development of a coherent and actionable Action Plan built around the existing pipeline and new projects to enable the LEP and partners to maximise the speed and scale of Oxfordshire’s recovery.
The outputs from the study were a detailed Baseline Assessment Report reporting on a wide range of socio-economic indicators and a subsequent ERP, which aims to maximise existing activities and introduce six new initiatives to regain the pre-COVID-19 growth trajectory for the County and its localities. The ask of public and private partners to resource the Action Plan was some £440 million.
The Plan is now being progressed by local and Whitehall partners.