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Harlow Conservatives detail six point recovery plan to get the local economy moving

News / Tue 23rd Jun 2020 at 07:36am

HARLOW Council must prioritise the town’s recovery as the COVID-19 alert level is lowered. Conservatives are calling for the council to urgently develop a plan to get the local economy moving and reassure residents that the council understands what needs to be done to safeguard public health as the town adapts to a post-COVID era.

The Government has taken unprecedented action to support workers in Harlow. Through the furlough and self-employed income support schemes, the livelihoods of 17,000 workers have been protected in the town. On top of support for workers, Harlow Council has received an additional £32 million from the Government. A large part of that funding has been used to provide grants to local businesses.

Harlow Conservatives are concerned that the council has not set out more details about its local recovery plan. Hesitation at this point in time could prove costly for businesses and threaten even more jobs. Essex County Council is already shaping the county’s recovery plan. Harlow Council should be more engaged with the efforts at county level and work with the four local County Councillors whose top priority is the town’s recovery.

In the absence of any leadership, Conservatives have put together a six-point recovery plan to encourage action from Harlow Council:
Protect the public

Engage with and contribute to the Essex Outbreak Engagement Board to ensure Harlow has the best possible public health measures. Harlow Council must work with Essex County Council, Princess Alexandra Hospital and public health officials to do all it can to prevent a second coronavirus outbreak in the town.

Secure recovery funding

Ensure the council’s regeneration team has the right resources to work with Essex County Council and other stakeholders to ensure outstanding Town Investment Plan and Future High Streets Fund bids are submitted to secure more funding from the Government. Harlow is one of 100 towns selected to benefit from the Towns Fund, and one of two towns in Essex that is eligible to access the Future High Streets Fund. The council must put together credible bids for both if they are to be successful in unlocking these funds for Harlow Town Centre.

Put jobs and the local economy first

Work with local businesses to understand what they need to target and create more employment opportunities in the town’s hardest hit areas. Harlow Council should also do more to procure what it needs from local suppliers as much as possible. It’s time to invest more in the local supply chain and tap into the ‘Harlow Pound’.

Develop a post-COVID infrastructure plan

Create a new strategic plan for Harlow’s infrastructure needs. The Local Plan, Town Centre Area Action Plan, Harlow & Gilston Garden Town, Towns Growth Fund and Future High Streets Funds need to be joined-up to anticipate the needs for businesses, housing and future community health provision. Emerging post-COVID infrastructure priorities must be better reflected in all strategic planning, pulling the strands together to form a clear plan, something which is currently sadly missing.

Invest more in community value

When the council is planning to commission new community services, it should consider opportunities that deliver direct social value as a higher priority. Opportunities to support the BAME community and groups who have been disproportionately disadvantaged by the coronavirus outbreak should be considered.

Provide more support to charities and faith groups

The response of charities and faith groups during the coronavirus lockdown has been outstanding. Harlow Council should set out what more can be done to support the ongoing needs of volunteers who continue to support the most vulnerable in our community who are still at risk from COVID-19.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, Leader of Harlow Conservatives, said: “Harlow Council needs to set out a comprehensive and workable recovery plan. We should all be concerned that local preparations for post-COVID are not detailed. It’s vital that measures to keep Harlow COVID-19 free, the need to kick-start our local economy and ensure all parts of the community, especially the most disadvantaged, are given equal priority as part of a coherent strategy.

“Our six-point plan is a clear roadmap for Harlow’s recovery. The council should have been spending more time developing a positive plan for the town’s future after one of the most challenging times in living memory. It’s not too late, my colleagues and I are willing to work with the administration to help deliver the recovery Harlow desperately needs.”

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5 Comments for Harlow Conservatives detail six point recovery plan to get the local economy moving:

jhumphreys84
2020-06-23 13:06:05

While I agree a recovery plan is needed, what absolutely gets on my nerves is people who talk about having a plan and then it looks nothing like a plan. This is more of a mission statement or aims. There is absolutely no detail in here about how any of this achieved. So is this an actual plan or just a political opposition tactic to make more of a problem without actually offering any solutions? Let's take the Recover funding - "The council must put together credible bids for both if they are to be successful in unlocking these funds for Harlow Town Centre." Ok, what would you put forward for this bid? How would you spend this money? Is your argument genuinely we just need to get the money rather than we need to spend it on doing this and sorting out that? What's a credible bid? That's such a subjective phrase. Economy - Harlow Council should also do more to procure what it needs from local suppliers as much as possible. Procure what exactly? What if nothing is available from local sources? Wouldn't this be cheaper anyway? Where is it not happening already that could add value? Do you know? Community value - "it should consider opportunities that deliver direct social value as a higher priority", such as what exactly? What bits are it not doing in this area well? Why can't we draw out some specific examples and come up with where it could do better. This statement means absolutely nothing without any context of where this is and is not working. There is absolutely nothing in this "plan" which makes me think, yep that's what Harlow Conservatives would do. All it is saying we think that should happen, but we don't know how or why, we just think it should. Please come up with some tangible fixes rather than a rather long statement which doesn't tell us anything as I’m non the wiser as to what you’d do differently or bring to the table.

durcant
2020-06-23 19:28:46

I just wish in this town we had an effective opposition that was willing to talk and listen instead of making political peacock statements. Has one of them picked up the phone to me and say how can I help. All they do is listen to radio 4 and then rebadge the debate as their global solution. This council is working with all partners including the terrible county council to support the collective recovery. This will be slow and I suspect painful process. So no quick fix’s No quick wins No quick statement It will work due to the hardworking and dedicated business and community leaders that respect and value Harlow as a cohesive community. It will work with all sectors of the community being able to feel safe and secure. The great gift that Harlow has is no one has all the answers but we all know others that can work with us to make the difference. Telling other what to do never works. The opposition moan while the rest quietly get on with getting Harlow working again. Proud of Harlow.

kthe5
2020-06-23 20:51:52

The CPP has an interesting article: https://www.progressive-policy.net/publications/why-the-government-needs-to-pay-up-before-levelling-up "131 upper tier councils (of 151 in England)[1] do not have sufficient funds to make up for projected increased costs and reduced income due to Covid-19." Its going to take more than a vague 6 point "plan".

RayMo
2020-06-24 04:59:46

Nigel`s back soon. Don`t panic.

jhumphreys84
2020-06-24 08:31:27

Durcant, the sheer hypocrisy of saying this "I just wish in this town we had an effective opposition that was willing to talk and listen instead of making political peacock statements." Is this the same Harlow Labour Party hat make peacock statements about free school meals when the MP was already saying this for three weeks? The same who said we needed a 5 test plan to return to school when the party's own leader said yesterday that actually it was safe? The same party that constantly make points about Essex County Council just because its Conservative? The same party that launched the Local Development Plan without any consultation of residents? Would you like me to go on through even what the party said in the general election, some of which was also based on lies just as much as the Conservative party? I wish we had a party in power in Harlow that works effectively with the opposition and speak to them, especially when there's the opportunity to agree, talks and listens to residents and stops making peacock political statements, when there is nothing to say or do differently. Sort your own house out first before accusing the opposition of doing exactly what you're doing and making it sound bad and start working together to make Harlow a better place rather than constantly playing political games with each other. That's all residents want. We know you come at things from different angles based on personal beliefs, but ultimately we all want the same things, so make it work.

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