Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee
Wednesday 21 June 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

78.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Dave Waters (Tewkesbury Borough Council).  

79.

Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman for the Civic Year (2017/18)

Minutes:

Cllr Lynden Stowe was elected as Chairman of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee for the 2017/18 Civic Year.

80.

Election of Vice-Chairman

To elect a Vice-Chairman for the Civic Year (2017/18)

Minutes:

Cllr Steve Jordan was elected as Vice-Chairman of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee for the 2017/18 Civic Year.

81.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any pecuniary or personal interests by members.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received. 

82.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2017.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2017 were agreed and signed as a true record of the meeting.

83.

Economic Growth Agenda pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To note the attached briefing paper outlining the evolving policy landscape underlying the economic growth agenda.

Minutes:

Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure, (GCC), gave an update on current issues, including a review of the growth agenda for Gloucestershire.

 

Members considered information on the Growth Policy for Gloucestershire; received an update on the proposed mechanisms for delivering growth for the county; and discussed the potential for local growth opportunities.

 

Included in the update was a summary of external influences that may have had an impact on economic growth in Gloucestershire. These included; the formal triggering of the Brexit process; the recent development of the government’s industrial strategy, (a government green paper published earlier in the year), and the government’s approach to devolution. Members also considered the range of government policies that could have a direct influence on Gloucestershire’s growth ambitions for the future.

 

The Commissioning Director drew member’s attention to the findings of the recent Inclusive Growth Commission, and the recommendation for local authorities to progress ‘Place-based Industrial Strategies’ as part of their economic strategy.

 

Advice from government had been to ‘deliver business-led productivity and quality jobs through lifelong learning and linking industry sectors and places, and through the creation of new institutions to connect business and industry’.

 

Expanding on the proposal, the Prime Minister had announced the government’s intention to deliver an Industrial Strategy that identified ‘industries of strategic value to the economy’ that could be promoted ‘through policies on trade, tax, infrastructure, skills, training, research and development’.

 

In noting the announcement, members acknowledged the emphasis being placed on the increasing role of Local Enterprise Partnerships, (LEP’s), and on the importance being attributed to investing in the local infrastructure to promote economic growth. 

 

Conscious of the impact the Queen’s Speech, (to be delivered that day), might have on district local plans, members questioned how the mix of proposals and the various growth plans across the county might ‘best fit’ to produce an overall strategy for Gloucestershire. To aid member’s understanding of local issues and priorities, the committee suggested a more in-depth discussion be held to consider the progress and development of district local plans. Action by Lead Officers

 

In noting the request, it was agreed officers would: i) identify key local issues for consideration at future meetings, ii) develop a programme, (forward plan), of issues to incorporate the progress of district local plans. It was also suggested, the LEP/Joint  Committee host an annual event to update local authorities on growth issues and to share information on district plans. Action by GFirst LEP/Joint Committee. 

Specific areas of interest highlighted at the meeting included; i) housing shortages; ii) activities undertaken locally to progress the government’s response to Brexit; iii) data collection and use of data; and iv) local productivity levels.

 

The update was noted.

84.

GFirst LEP Update pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive a report on the delivery of the Growth Deal Programme in the County, and on the process for the re-allocation of Growth Deal Funds.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mally Findlater, (Programme Manager for GFirst LEP), gave an update on the status of the projects involved in the Gloucestershire Growth Deal Funding Programme.

 

Included in the update was an explanation of the process for the re-allocation of Growth Deal Funding. The Programme Manager explained that, at the mid-way point of delivery of Growth Deal Projects, the LEP, (and Gloucestershire County Council as the accountable body), had embarked on a process of ‘re-allocation’for the reallocation of Growth Deal funds that become available when projects are either withdrawn or where projects will not use the full amount of their indicative funding.

 

Outlining the process for identifying potential projects for consideration during the re-allocation process, the Programme Manager confirmed that those projects which had not been successful during Growth Deal (Round 3), would automatically be invited to re-submit their original bids.

 

The named projects included: Cirencester Enterprise Quarter; Gloucester Railway Station; Cinderford Regeneration Project; Eco Park and Sports Stadium; Gloucestershire Airport Expansion; Littlecombe Housing; Centre of Excellence for Food and Drink and Brimscombe Housing. It was noted that, in re-submitting their original bids, the organisations would only be allowed to revise the original submissions to take account of the amounts available if less than their original bids, but would not be allowed to submit any new or additional proposals.

 

Outlining the timeline for GFirst LEP Board and Joint Committee to consider submitting bids for projects not included in the Growth Deal 3 submission but considered as potential projects under ‘exceptional circumstances’, the Programme Manger explained that, projects developed since the last pipeline process may be considered as ‘exceptional’, provided the submission ‘had the potential to deliver or accelerate outstanding growth for the county’. The deadline for submissions was 10 August 2017. An update on the status and progress of submissions would be presented to the Joint Committee meeting on 6 September 2017. Action by – GFirst LEP

 

Responding to questions, the Programme Manager noted the Committee’s request for information on the following issues: -

 

a)    GFirst LEP Board (structure/membership)

b)    Productivity Levels – a presentation to the LEP Board in October to be presented to the Joint Committee

c)    European Funding Programme Update

d)    Strategic Economic Plan Update

e)    Great South West Project Update - GFirst LEP Positioning

 

The report was noted.  

85.

Business Rate Pool pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To receive an update report on the Business Rate Pool and potential expenditure options for the Strategic Economic Development Fund.

Minutes:

David Stanley, (Accountancy Manager and Section 151 Officer at Stroud District Council), gave an update on the Gloucestershire Business Rates Pool 2016/17, including an initial forecast for 2017/18.

 

Business Rates Pooling

 

In January 2016, following completion of the government returns and the setting of the business rates for 2016/17, initial forecasts estimated an additional £2.5m income would be retained in Gloucestershire as a result of business pooling.

 

Members recalled that the Joint Committee had received updates, indicating retentions of £1.9m in September 2016 and £2.3m in December 2016. The outturn position for 2016/17, (at the mid-point of these two forecasts), had been £2.1m retained income. This was considered a good position, with 20% of the surplus for Gloucestershire, (a contribution of 241k), set aside for the Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF). 

 

It was reported that the initial forecast for the 2017/18 financial year, (forecast at an estimated £4.02m retained income for Gloucestershire), might have been a little optimistic and would be reviewed later in the year. It was anticipated that the estimation would reduce, with an update to the Joint Committee at the November meeting. Action by – David Stanley

 

100% Business Rates Retention

 

Members received an update on the 100% Business Rates Retention and noted that, in response to the initial consultation, the government had issued a further consultation on the design of the reformed business rates system. The consultation ended on 3 May 2017.

 

Prior to the general election, the government had indicated, (subject to parliamentary approval), that the intention would be to introduce the new system during the 2019/20 financial year. It was reported that this may now be subject to change and was likely to take some time to initiate, possibly up to 18 months.

 

100% Business Rates Pilots

 

At the committee meeting in March, members had been advised that the government would be inviting 2-tier authorities to make an application to become a Business Rates Pilot area for the roll out of the 100% Business Rates Retention initiative.

 

Members were informed Gloucestershire CFO’s (Chief Financial Officers) had written to central government offering to host a 2-tier pilot. An update to be presented to the Committee later in the year. Action by – David Stanley

 

David Hagg from Stroud District Council advised the committee that a ‘relief fund’ would be made available to local authorities and stressed the importance of making maximum use of this opportunity. Subject to publication of government guidelines, David Hagg agreed to circulate information on how to respond to the initiative, by email.  Action by – David Hagg

 

LEP Core Funding Position

Updating members on the report to the committee at the March meeting, it was confirmed several meetings had been held to consider LEP Core Funding proposals, including discussions held between the 7 Gloucestershire Councils and GFirst LEP. The emerging consensus from the meetings provided the following outcomes: -

 

a)    There is a need for the locality to continue to match the Government core funding and the funding should be diversified;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

Government Industrial Strategy

To note the consultation responses submitted by the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee and GFirst LEP.

 

The responses can be accessed using the following links:

 

GEGJC Response: http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/documents/s36260/Industrial%20Strategy%20ConsultationDraftJC%20March2017.pdf

 

GFirst LEP Response: http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/documents/s36127/Industrial%20Strategy%20Response%20v2.pdf

 

Minutes:

The responses to the Government’s Industrial Strategy consultation were noted.

 

The responses can be accessed at the following links:

 

GEGJC Response: http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/documents/s36260/Industrial%20Strategy%20ConsultationDraftJC%20March2017.pdf

 

GFirst LEP Response: http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/documents/s36127/Industrial%20Strategy%20Response%20v2.pdf

 

87.

Employment and Skills pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To note a written update on progress towards the formation of an Employment and Skills Board and Skills Strategy for the County.

Minutes:

The committee considered a report from Pete Carr: Lead Commissioner: Skills and Employment, on the establishment of the Gloucestershire Employment and Skills Board and the progress of the Gloucestershire ESF (European Social Fund) Skills and Employability Projects.

 

In reporting the membership of the Employment and Skills Board, it was confirmed Cllr Lynden Stowe, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Growth, would represent Gloucestershire County Council. Work was ongoing to appoint the remaining 4 representatives of the 16 member board, including the appointment of a Chairman.

 

At the meeting, the Joint Committee appointed Cllr Steve Lydon, (Stroud District Council), as the District Council representative.

 

The committee noted the report and welcomed the suggestion that the Lead Commissioner present a more detailed update at a future meeting.

 

Action by – Pete Carr (Lead Commissioner: Skills and Employment)

 

88.

Future Meeting Dates

To note that the Committee is due to meet on the following dates in 2017 and 2018:

 

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Wednesday 21 November 2018

 

All meetings to start at 10am (this allows meetings of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny committee to take place on the same day).

Minutes:

The dates of committee meetings 2017/18 were confirmed as: -

 

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Wednesday 21 November 2018

 

Members agreed it would be useful to produce a programme of issues for consideration at future meetings.

 

The items suggested at the meeting included:

 

      i.        Analysis of ‘Productivity Gap’ - UK/Europe

    ii.        Fastershire Broadband update – members were advised to visit the Fastershire Broadband website at the following link to establish what information was required: http://www.fastershire.com/

   iii.        Mobile Phone Coverage in Rural Areas

   iv.        Cheltenham Cyber Park – how to maximise the benefits of the Cheltenham Cyber Park

    v.        Development of an Inclusive Growth Strategy

   vi.        Data collection and analysis

  vii.        Engaging with the local business sector

viii.        Engaging with trade union representatives

   ix.        Impact of local issues (including infrastructure) on economic growth

 

The committee supported the proposal of developing a list of work plan items for consideration at future meetings. It was suggested a 6-month forward plan be produced for consideration at the next meeting.

 

Action by - GFirst/GCC Officers