ADOPTION OF THE NORTH WALES REGIONAL ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK
Meeting: 07/06/2022 - Cabinet (Item 6)
To consider a report by Councillor Jason McLellan, Leader and Lead Member for Economic Growth and Tackling Deprivation (copy enclosed) presenting the North Wales Regional Economic Framework for adoption.
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RESOLVED that the Regional Economic Framework for North Wales is endorsed and adopted by the Council.
Councillor Jason McLellan presented the report and the North Wales Regional Economic Framework (NWREF) for adoption.
The NWREF promoted collaborative economic development across the region through an agreed and shared set of priorities for delivery amongst regional partners. The Memorandum of Understanding (Working Together to deliver a stronger North Wales Economy) set out how the Welsh Government, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and other partners would work in partnership and deliver against a single common framework.
The Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services provided some background regarding the collaborative working and targeted engagement with a range of key stakeholders in designing the approach to economic development and shared priorities for the region. The NWREF built on much of the existing good work and would sit above many of the plans and strategies already in place or to be developed over the coming months and years. It set out a different way of looking at economic growth with a holistic approach based on the principles of a Wellbeing Economy with three core themes (1) Social and Community Wellbeing, (2) Low Carbons and Emissions Economy, and (3) the Experience Economy, with a number of priorities structured around those themes. The North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) had co-produced the document and recommended it be endorsed by each of the six North Wales local authorities. The high level framework would be subject to further work and development following its adoption.
Cabinet welcomed the NWREF and collaborative working between the Welsh Government and partners across the region and benefits it would bring to the area. Cabinet discussed the framework with officers, highlighting a number of important areas in the document and issues to be taken forward for further development –
· student enrolment on higher education courses in North Wales was 13% (against a population of 22%) and there was a need to increase that percentage to better reflect the regional population and retain young adults in the area
· current partners included higher education colleges and the framework included much reference to developing opportunities for young people in terms of better jobs in sectors important to the region
· whilst 37% of renewable energy was produced in North Wales, only 8% was locally owned, and greater detail was needed as to how that percentage could be increased to ensure the benefits of such schemes were retained in the region
· ensuring the right skills set in the region was emphasised and it was suggested that further involvement of schools would prove beneficial in that regard, particularly given the opportunities presented with the new curriculum to tailor the offer locally to what was applicable to young people in the area, ahead of and leading up to the college environment. It was noted that the Regional Skills Partnership was closely aligned to the NWEAB and work could be undertaken to further link those elements with the framework
· there were many different strategies and plans already in place and the NWREF would sit above those to provide a strategic context and identify any gaps or weaknesses there may be in the region with a view to addressing them
· economic development in rural areas was a key issue for counties in the region and it was important the rural economy developed with appropriate transport links to less accessible areas and suitable business/housing. The framework provided a holistic perspective of the economy and included transport, digital infrastructure and active travel which would form part of future discussions
· the development of indigenous companies in Denbighshire should be supported to fill any identified gaps in the supply chain with a view ... view the full minutes text for item 6