A new vision of how Cheshire and Warrington can recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and develop a fairer, greener economy that delivers lasting benefits for local people and businesses has been set out today.
The goal is a brighter future, with better outcomes for all, delivering jobs, improving health, protecting and enhancing the environment, and taking positive action to address inequalities and tackle poverty.
The three local authorities in the region and the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have committed to a vision of life after Covid, where businesses and local communities see improvements in four key areas - Economic Growth, Health, Sustainability and Inclusivity.
As a first step, Cheshire East, Warrington, and Cheshire West and Chester councils and the LEP have established a new Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission. It will act as a catalyst for and provide advice on the overall delivery of the new vision. The Commission will be chaired by Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East, and Robert Davis, chief executive of EA Technology.
The Commission will look at a wide range of issues including decarbonising industry, ensuring all our communities are supported to access high quality training and skills to improve their job prospects and income levels, addressing fuel and transport poverty, overcoming digital exclusion, improving physical and mental health, and better managing our land and natural resources.
Its steering group will bring together a diverse range of views from the public, private, and third sector. The full membership will be announced shortly and include members drawn from carbon-intensive industries and agriculture, along with health and social care, and experts from the third sector experienced in tackling disadvantage and promoting inequality. It will take evidence from residents, businesses, academics, interest groups and young people giving a voice to everyone who has an interest in a sustainable future for the sub-region.
Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, and co-chair of the Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission, said: “I look forward to working with our partners to develop and deliver robust proposals to deliver both a sustainable and inclusive economy. This is particularly important as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a profound economic impact across Cheshire East. The new vision emboldens our focus on creating plentiful opportunities for all generations, tackling environmental challenges and to promote equality and wellbeing.”
Louise Gittins, leader Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Cheshire and Warrington has one of the strongest economies in the UK. However, we now face some unparalleled challenges as we recover from the impacts of Covid and grapple with the existential threat of Climate Change. A true measure of our success will be the extent to which economic growth improves the lives of all of our residents, leaving no one behind and ensuring that we create truly sustainable prosperity for future generations. The establishment of the commission will enable us to draw on the expertise of our businesses and give a voice to our communities to share their real lived experience, challenge traditional thinking and bring new opportunities to the fore.”
Russ Bowden, leader Warrington Borough Council, said: “As we work towards the recovery from Covid-19, effective partnerships will be crucial. The new commission will play an important role in this, delivering real expertise - from a range of sectors - to help drive forward our ambitions for health, the economy and the environment. By working together, we can make real strides forward in building a brighter future for the people of Cheshire and Warrington.”
Clare Hayward, chair, Cheshire and Warrington LEP, commented: “This shared vision is an important building block in the future of our region. Covid-19 has been a huge challenge for everyone and imposed many uncertainties and hardships. We understand the concern around the rising infection rates and the potential for further local lockdowns. That said, we are committed to working together to not just deliver recovery, but to come back with something better for Cheshire and Warrington. The Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission is the first step along the road and will be an influential group that ensures we achieve real progress.”