Questions over economic performance of Essex

Politics / Thu 21st Jun 2018 am30 09:32am

ESSEX County Council has been accused of glossing over new figures showing the county’s output has dropped dramatically – leaving it lagging behind West Yorkshire.

Several key indicators on employment and skills has shown the county is struggling to maintain momentum over its potential for growth.

While recent ONS figures have revealed how far the county’s competiveness has slipped – its real gross value added growth, which measures how much money is generated through goods produced and services delivered – is rated behind West Yorkshire after falling from 3.6 per cent in 2015 to 1.7 per cent in 2016.

Worryingly cabinet member Councillor Gagan Mohindra, who has responsibility for economic development, says he doesn’t recognise the figure that was published in Essex County Council’s annual report.

Essex County Council admits that parts of Essex have untapped potential and as a result the county’s economy is “not as strong as the rest of the south east”.

In comparison Greater London in 2016 saw a real GVA of 5.1 per cent, the West Midlands has a real GVA of 3.6 per cent, Greater Manchester a real GVA of 4.2 per cent and West Yorkshire a real GVA of 2.3 per cent.

The neighbouring combined authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough recorded a annual real GVA of 4.1 per cent.

Mike Mackrory, Essex County Council Lib Dem member, said: “The South East is supposed to be the economic driving force. That was my concern and that is why I picked it up asking for an explanation but I didn’t really get it.

“We had a debate at the last full council where the Conservatives put forward a motion congratulating the council on the economic growth that had been made.

“I quoted the report Andrew Sentence had produced for the council in which he expressed great concern at the lack of productivity.

“I am trying to draw out the reasons and for them to address the problem.

“But they have taken a bit of a blinkered approach.”

The number of jobs generated inwardly in Essex has also fallen from the 1,738 seen in 2016/2017 to 1,472 seen in 2017 and 2018.

Meanwhile the proportion of residents aged 16 to 64 with level 3 or above qualifications has dropped from 53.4 per cent in 2016/2017 to 50.5 per cent in 2017/2018.

Cllr Mackrory said: “That is a real concern. I can’t see the explanation for that. The older generation shall we say moves on, you would think that the younger generation would have those better qualifications.

“But it doesn’t seem to be feeding through as Essex is concerned.

“It is all a real concern but the Essex administration is glossing over it frankly.”

Cllr Gagan Mohindra, speaking at the cabinet meeting today (June 19), said he did not recognise the figure of 3.6 per cent for 2015.

Cllr Ray Gooding, addressing the skills level, said: “The figure doesn’t look particularly good but the calculations depend on socio economic circumstances.”

He added: “Certainly, it’s something we are looking at very closely and that is one of our key targets to improve.”

The county council has been asked for a clarification on Cllr Mohindra’s statement.

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6 Comments for Questions over economic performance of Essex:

2018-06-21 19:06:52

That'll be the Tory led Essex County Council. Add this to the Conservative government's catastrophic handling of Brexit and their allergy to anything resembling a plan, the decades old myth of the Tories being a safe pair of hands is disappearing faster than £25k at the East India Club. They borrowed more in five years than the Labour government did in 13. They bang on about a "Brexit dividend" when none actually exists, indeed we'll have a Brexit deficit. These Tories know the price of everyone and the value of nothing. Apart from Gagan Mohindra, who doesn't seem to know where he is.

2018-06-21 19:10:28

Well I meant the "price of everything and the value of nothing" . But we all know the Tories think of people as the amount of money they cost. Like if you can afford £30k a plate at one of their fundraisers you can write your own ticket.

2018-06-22 12:28:04

Would they be Plates produced by a certain "Champagne Socialist" who is heavily influencing Momentum run Harlow Labour? 😅😅

2018-06-22 13:56:24

He Man didn't call himself He Man. Dirty Harry didn't call himself Dirty Harry. So why do you call yourself a maverick? As usual the Harlow Conservative Party have got it all wrong and twisted about. Scaremongering as usual, in place of any actual formed policy of their own. But then, with a diminishing member base and a tired government so shambolic that it's begging to be put out of its misery, who'd want to draw attention to that?

2018-06-27 05:38:57

As usual, have a look in the mirror alongside the other well known political activist and reflect. The figures are massaged somewhat, as most rational people will be aware of. Rational people are the key words. My money's on a massive up-surge in the figures when the budget comes in.

2018-06-29 17:20:36

No need to wait, massive surge already in the international trade deals for the UK.

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