THURROCK has been “bucking the trend” finding new jobs and investment says overview and scrutiny chair, Cllr Brian Little.
He was speaking after Wednesday (4 November) evening’s meeting of the Planning, Transport and Regeneration committee which discussed refreshing the borough’s Economic Development Strategy (EDS), first adopted in 2008.
Cllr Little said: “Not everything is rosy, but overall – and taking in the deep world-wide recession in that period – this is really good news showing we have bucked the trend with business and jobs coming here.”
He added: “Now we have to make sure we continue the good work, building on our successes over the past seven years, ensuring business and education work together so our young people are trained for the top jobs coming our way and appropriate homes are built for them so we retain our talent.
“One of the things we were told was that people think there are just four or five ‘job types’ at the Port of Tilbury yet there are well over a hundred ‘career paths’. Over the coming years we need to let your youngest children know and be enthused about these opportunities – we need to catch them early.”
A report to the committee showed over the life of the EDS so far, the growth in job numbers available in Thurrock had outstripped much of the rest of the country, rising by 7.9 per cent – compared to 5.5 per cent in Essex and 3.8 per cent nationally.
And the extent of Thurrock’s success in growing its business base has been tremendous when compared with other areas. At 25 per cent Thurrock saw a higher rate of business growth between 2007 and 2013 than any region in England, including London (23.4 per cent), Essex (6.3 per cent) and nationally (7.7 per cent).
Committee members agreed they should join with officers for a workshop to put forward new ideas to refresh the strategy which is expected to go to cabinet early in the New Year.
Cllr Little said: “There is still some concern about the narrowness of the industries in Thurrock – port and logistics mainly – but that base is widening, especially with the cultural offers in the west of the borough and the exciting plans for the environmental and energy sectors at the Thames Enterprise Park in Coryton.
“In addition it is important to consider Thurrock’s place in south Essex and especially our links with Southend.
“This is a wide-ranging strategy reflecting the wide-ranging economic developments that have happened and will happen in the coming years. It is something we have to get right.”