Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 15 September 2021 1.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

2.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

 

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.

 

Minutes:

No declarations were received.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting on 9 June 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 June 2021 were approved.

4.

Future of the High Street pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To receive a presentation from Nigel Jobson, Chair of the LEP Retail and

the High Street Sector Group and Chief Commercial Officer for Maybe and

Andy Saunders, Community and Economic Development Manager at

Tewkesbury Borough Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The first presentation for this item was from Nigel Jobson, Chief Commercial Officer at Maybe*. Members noted the following points:

 

·         Maybe* had been established in Gloucestershire for four years and aimed to provide businesses with the tools needed to engage their customers and reach new audiences digitally.

·         It was also part of the Government’s High Street Task Force which was a five year contract to supply social media data.

·         The presenter had recently visited an Amazon Go store which was a good example of company’s direction of travel. Amazon had realised physical retail was still a huge part of the sector (it accounted for 75-80% of all transactions in a retail environment) but there was still a need for change and modernisation.

·         The store did not require the customer to touch anything apart from the items they were purchasing. Cameras would track the individual and charge via their amazon account once they left the store.

·         One of the main benefits of this was Amazon could then feed this purchase into their ‘suggestions’ marketing, 25% of all their transactions resulted from making suggested buys to their customers linked to previous purchases.

·        The key for any business was to identify who their customers were and how they could continually engage with them.

·        Primark was another good example of using digital data to their advantage. They made the best use of social media by talking/replying directly to their customers and joining online conversations that involved their products/stores. They then used this as an opportunity to steer customers into their physical stores.

·        Maybe* had an integration with Google My Business which enabled them to gather data on the 3.8m businesses who had a Google My Business profile (their locations/opening hours etc.). This was then linked with all other online data such as social media, Visa and MasterCard, WhatsApp etc. and put through Artificial Intelligence platforms.

·        The result of which was filtered down, manageable data sets which allowed the user to understand the most engaging business or area or conversation, depending what they were focused on.

·        The data for Gloucestershire’s business performance online showed that the county ranked 119th out of 4000. This meant that only 25% of all Gloucestershire businesses (who had a Google My Business profile) were active on digital channels, and of that 25% (10,000 businesses) only 2,500 were posting and engaging on a regular basis.

·        This meant that the majority of businesses were missing out on vital engagement with their current and future customers.

·        With 71% of people in the UK regularly active on social media, and only 28% business nationwide using these platforms, there was clearly a huge disparity between resident and business use.

·        The data sets produced by Maybe* could be manipulated in different ways so if a business was looking at the results, they could section off a particular area where their store was or their sector to compare with other businesses.

·        It could also help users identify social media ‘influencers’ who could be useful to engage with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

GFirst LEP Item pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider the attached report on the Local Growth Fund Programme Overview and Project Review of the Gloucester Transport Hub.

Minutes:

The Chair invited David Owen, Chief Executive and Neil Hopwood, Projects and Infrastructure Manager at the GFirst LEP to present this item and Members noted the following points:

 

·         Slide 2 showed a list of all the capital projects that had received investment from the £101m of Local Growth Funding that had come into the county since 2014.

·         This funding stream was due to come to an end in March 2022.

·         Slide 3 showed the investment split by BEIS categories.

·         Unemployment in the county rose dramatically at the start of the pandemic and had been steadily reducing in the past 6 months. In 2019 during the last recession, unemployment reached its highest rate at 3.6%, during the start of Covid it was over 5%. At the time of this meeting it had reduced to 3.5%.

·         Slide 5 showed the uplift in GVA for the county since 2015. The left-hand graph really highlighted the disproportionate affect London and the South East had on averages for other local authority areas. If these were removed from the datasets, Gloucestershire would be seen as performing very well on GVA compared to other areas. This was the ongoing levelling up challenge for the UK.

·         Slide 6 showed the leverage funds that had been brought into the county as a result of the Local Growth funding. This meant that due to the £101m invested by the LEP on various projects, there had been an additional return of around £700m value for Gloucestershire’s economy.

·         In addition, many of the projects were only just starting off so the long-term impact of many of these projects would see a significant increase in leverage funds over the next 5-10 years.

·         All capital investment decisions went through the LEP’s Independent Investment Panel. It constituted of a range of experienced individuals who were able to make decisions on investments based on evidence and data, rather than emotion. Many of the projects were chosen on their ability to have this multiplier effect e.g. unlocking future investments and bringing in leverage funding.

·         A prime example of this was the Golden Valley project. £22m was allocated from the Local Growth fund for the improvements to the Golden Valley roundabout. This helped to unlock the future development for the overall project and meant it could be prompted as a ‘live’ project to future investors. The future return on the whole project had been estimated at around £1b.

·         The ‘Getting Building Fund’ would now follow as an interim funding pot but future to this, the LEP were currently unware of what funding would follow.

·         Whilst it was known there would not be another local growth deal, the LEP keenly awaited the outcome of the current Comprehensive Spending Review.  There had been discussions that whatever locality funding would be released, it would be extremely tight for anything unrelated to Health & Social Care.

·         The second part of the presentation was focused on the Local Transport Hub. This was a legacy project from the Local Transport Board and had primarily been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE ECONOMIC GROWTH JOINT COMMITTEE UPDATE

To receive a verbal update on the GEGJC meeting held earlier the same

day from the Chair.

 

Please refer to the published forward plan of the GEGJC to suggest any

items you may want to consider at a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Scrutiny members are invited to attend the GEGJC meeting in an observer

capacity. Please refer to the following link to view the agenda and

supporting documents for the GEGJC meeting:

 

https://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=725&MId=10055&Ver=4

 

Minutes:

The Chair invited Cllr Tony Dale, Chair of the Gloucestershire

Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC), to give the Committee an

update on the morning’s meeting. Members noted the following points:

 

·         Representatives from the Gloucestershire Food Partnership gave a presentation on Gloucestershire’s Farming and Food Sector. This included contribution to the local economy, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

·         The Partnership built on the strength of the County as well as the work already going on across public, private, research and voluntary sectors.

·         The Gloucestershire agri-food sector, representing the “end to end” food chain, employed just over 50,000 people, or 14.9% of the workforce compared to 13.2% nationally.

·         Tourism also made a direct contribution to the sector, with 32% of tourists’ spending in Gloucestershire being devoted to food and drink, generating £340m annually.

·         The County’s agri-food sector had the potential to address some of the environmental and social challenges we face including climate change, social inequality, and nature recovery.

·         Challenges facing the sector include the end of the Basic Payment Scheme, which by 2028 will remove nearly £40million of support every year for Gloucestershire farmers.

·         The climate change emergency is also a challenge faced by the sector.

·         Initiatives to support growth in this sector could include partnership working  to enhance Gloucestershire’s food supply chains and encouraging more demand for Gloucestershire produce by introducing a ‘produced in Gloucestershire’ campaign.

·         Colin Chick provided an update on the GCC economic recovery plan. In particular, the Committee was informed about the Employment and Skills Hub, which would provide a “single front door” offer, working in a more coordinated way to get people into employment and education.

·         The update from the GFirst LEP noted that Ruth Dooley had been appointed as the new Chair and four new Board members have also been appointed.

·         107 grants have now been awarded to businesses across Gloucestershire from the Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary Scheme) to help get more of them online and trading online.

·         On the Business Rate Pool, there had been a £3.66m gain for 2020/21 - £731k of this had been distributed to the Strategic Economic Development Fund.

·         In the long term the future of the pool was dependant on potential government reforms, but there has been no update on this currently.

 

Cllr Dale also added that they would be delighted to look into some of the suggestions from today’s discussion around future of the high street, in particular how to encourage independent shops and the discussion around pedestrianisation.

7.

Gloucestershire Covid-19 Economic Recovery Planning pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

Members noted that the dashboard had been presented in full at the GEGJC meeting and this item was for noting.

8.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.

Minutes:

Members noted the future items in the attached work plan and suggested the following to be added:

 

·         Food and farming strategy – this had been presented to the GEGJC morning meeting. Members were particularly interested in the public procurement aspects, health/social benefits as well as carbon emission reductions

·         Following this morning’s discussion on the Future of the High Street item, it was queried whether it would be worthwhile engaging with the independent retail sector.