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Agenda item

Annual Report of the Executive Member for Economic Development (2017/18)

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation on the 2017/18 Annual Report. A copy of the presentation would be interleaved with the agenda.

 

In the discussion, the following points were made.

·         The Executive Member for Economic Development informed the meeting that 1,334 Islington residents had been supported back into paid employment.

·         In comparison with other central London boroughs, Islington Council had the highest proportion of school leavers going into apprenticeship schemes.

·         The Council had launched its health and work programme, which is co-located
 with the Council’s iWork team at 222 Upper Street.

·         More than 43,000 sq ft of space has been secured from developers to support local businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition, the £1 million funds received from the Mayor of London will enable the Council to deliver a £2 million affordable workspace programme in Finsbury Park.

·         As a local economic agent, Islington Council continues to initiate internal work to co-ordinate and increase the Council’s approach to social value through its procurement process and commissioning services.

·         In a recognition that local residents enjoy the benefit of a thriving local economy, a new Inclusive Economy Team had been created to manage the process.
 

·         On the reported 8% of Islington’s working-age population that is identified as sick and of ill-health, Members requested a further breakdown of the sickness data to be provided.

·         In response to concerns about the increasing gentrification of the market area by neighbouring Hackney Council, the Service Director Planning and Development informed Members that she would raise the issue with her counterpart in Hackney.

·         On the question of whether Council data existed on the number of people engaged in the night-time economy, the Executive Member for Economic Development reiterated that, although the Council has no data, it will continue to encourage employers to sign up to the London Living Wage and to consider measures of improving in-work progression.

·         In response to a suggestion that the favourable business arrangements of charities in town centres should be reconsidered because other small businesses were disadvantaged, the meeting was informed that this was a planning policy issue and could be addressed only through national legislation. The Executive Member for Economic Development indicated, however, that she would investigate as to what could be done to support other businesses.

·         The meeting was informed that although the Preston Model is recognised as a good example in terms of supporting and revitalising the local economy, and lessons have been taken on board, over the years Islington Council has introduced measures, such as some of its services being brought back in-house, to improve the wages and income of staff. In addition, the Executive Member reiterated that the Council’s Planning Policy has resulted in the Council being able to secure a commitment from developers of 50% of affordable housing for residents and of affordable workspace for emerging businesses – peppercorn rents for up to two years.

·         It was noted that the Council continues to work with anchor institutions, such as the NHS, large public sectors, and universities, to deliver apprenticeships and offer training.  A similar idea should be extended to small businesses and grass-roots venues for smaller outfits. A suggestion was made that the idea of anchor venues that help to revitalise the local economy should be extended similar hubs to attract smaller businesses.



RESOLVED:


That the report be noted.

 

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