A wide-ranging plan for restoration and recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19 goes before Epping Forest District Council Cabinet next week.
High Street recovery, supporting local businesses and communities and generating extra income are key actions for getting the district and the local economy back on its feet.
Get the local economy back onto an even keel
Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread said:
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has hit income streams hard and the impact will last for many months and potentially for years to come.
But EFDC is in a better place than many local authorities emerging from the pandemic. Prudent financial planning over many years has generated good reserves as we face the future and strive to get the local economy back onto an even keel.
We welcome the recent Government action to help local councils and stimulate the wider economy.
Likewise, we are mindful that we are all in this together and all partners will have to play their part in the recovery.
Supporting local people and local businesses
Councillor Chris Whitbread continued:
At this early stage, the projected total cost to the council is very difficult to quantify. But the costs of supporting residents and businesses, together with the impacts of lost income could mean the total cost on the council’s budget for 2020/21 might be in the region of £4.6 million to £7.6 million.
Our priority right now is supporting the local people and local businesses through this crisis.
Imaginative proposals to support the local economy
Councillor Chris Whitbread added:
With the prospect of rising unemployment, immediate action is a priority and so Cabinet will consider several imaginative proposals at next week’s meeting that seek to support the local economy through the crisis.
The council can best do this if it has stable finances and so the need to generate more income in the aftermath of COVID-19 brings into sharp focus the role of Qualis, the council’s wholly-owned development company. Cabinet is being asked to consider fast-tracking district-wide plans for Qualis projects.
We understand these are important projects which not only make our district a better place to live but will also bring jobs and opportunity for local people.
Face the future with optimism
Councillor Chris Whitbread ended with:
We are determined to do everything in our power to support residents, businesses, partners and employees, in this post Covid recovery, to rebuild their lives and face the future with optimism.
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