Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 21 October 2020 1.30 pm

Contact: Sophie Benfield 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Colin Chick and Steve Mawson.

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 of interest were made.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting on 16 September 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 16 September 2020 were approved.

6.

Golden Valley Project pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To receive an update presentation on the Golden Valley project.

Minutes:

6.1       The Chair invited Tim Atkins, Managing Director for Place and Growth at Cheltenham Borough Council, to present this item. Members noted the following points:

 

·         Back in December 2019, the project was presented at the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC) to request funding to create a strong marketing campaign and establish a start-finish team to understand the economic benefits for the county.

·         The work had now been completed; the following slides would update the Committee on the progress made.

·         Hatch Regeneris undertook a robust economic report to find out what the existing eco-system was in the area and how this project could impact/benefit it. There were some powerful findings from this piece of work.

·         It was reported that Gloucestershire had the largest concentration of cyber businesses in the UK outside London. Gloucestershire had 6 times the normal rate as a county, and 11 times the normal rate in Cheltenham. There were very significant numbers for Gloucestershire and potentially something we had fully appreciated before now.

·         It was also punching above its weight in terms of GVA per cyber business (slide 5)

·         One of the most powerful findings was represented on slide 6 – the right hand side column reflected the number of new jobs generated compared to the national average. This was a huge reflection for Gloucestershire and showed it had a very mature eco system and is able to sustain rapid growth in this sector.

·         Slide 7 showed the headline impacts if the development were to be delivered, in terms of economic growth, there was a potential for 12,000+ jobs and a GVA upwards of £800m for the Golden Valley sit alone, with considerable further growth countywide.

·         In terms of the Government’s view on the project, slide 8 showed  a quote from the Digital Minister, plus the statistics on slide 9.

·         In addition, our cyber growth plans had strong alignment  with the Government’s post Brexit ambition to be a Scientific Superpower and to become a global leader in this sector; this was reinforced by the narratives listed on slide 10. The Comprehensive Spending Review and Internal Review of defence and security reflect the same themes about innovation, science and technology.

·         Gloucestershire’s role within the Western Gateway was growing and the more we understood about cyber, the more that role could continue to grow and the more influence we could have.

·         The team had been working with the Department of International Trade to launch the project at MIPIM this March, but due to the pandemic this event did not go ahead so they had to rethink the strategy.

·         Instead, a powerful video was put together (helped by the funding allocated from GEGJC last year) and there was successful virtual launch instead (https://www.goldenvalleyuk.com/).

·         Slides 19-26 explained Gloucestershire’s Value Proposition and how this was a compelling investment offer, which was explained through 5 key elements.

·         The cyber eco-system in and around the county was home to some major names in the industry, some of which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

4.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 78 KB

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

Minutes:

4.1       The Committee discussed the following points in relation to its ongoing work plan:

 

·         A member advised that they had recently attended the launch of the Power of 3 initiative and requested that this formed part of the social mobility item that was already on the future items list.

·         A request for the Committee to consider the economic impact of Covid in rising unemployment among young people and the future of the high streets. It was noted that the LEP’s update to the Committee in November will focus on economic data and will therefore include employment figures and the impact of Covid on jobs in the county.

·         To add an item on carbon neutral transport.

·         Referencing the future item on work force development post-Covid, a member requested that this also considered the support of the rural and agri-tech sector. It was added that as members were aware, agri-tech was a important principle in the LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy and nwould therefore be able to contribute to this agenda item.

·         To add an item on the economic impact of potential future pandemics / lockdowns.

5.

District member feedback pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To note the attached local meetings outcome report and action agreed at point 7.

 

District representatives on the Committee are encouraged to use this standing item to feedback on key economic growth points/issues/actions from their respective councils.

 

Minutes:

The Chair reminded members that this item had resulted from the Committee’s local meetings ‘roadshow’ and encouraged district members to feed back to their respective councils to create a dialogue between this Committee and the district councils. Going forward, it will feature as a standing item.

7.

GFirst LEP Item pdf icon PDF 369 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

7.1       The Chair invited Mally Findlater, Programme Manager for the GFirst LEP, to present this item. The Committee noted the following points:

 

·         The paper for today’s meeting included the same information as presented at September’s meeting, plus the requested additional information to give the full context.

·         The report now included information on the local assurance framework which was a strong structure based on the national assurance framework issued by government and a rule book by which the LEP operate when allocating funding.

·         It was reiterated that the projects were scored against the criteria in the local assurance framework, plus any additional requirements specified by Government for the particular fund.

·         The ‘Getting Building Fund’ for example, placed particular importance on economic growth and deliverability in short timeframe (the money would be taken back if they did not meet the delivery).

·         There was a long list of projects to begin with that were scored against the criteria and debated at length by the LEP Board, this was reduced to a list of 15 which were submitted to Government. Following negotiations, this was reduced to five that were allocated indicative funding,

·         Examples were given of why the successful projects scored the highest:

o   The Minster Innovation Exchange scored incredibly highly in terms of strategic fit (worked well with other investments), economic growth due to its wide range and sustainability low carbon aspects. It scored lower on risk as it was a complicated multi-agency project.

o   The Cirencester College Applied Digital Skills Centre scored highly on deliverability and on offering a gap in skills for young people.

o   A smaller project example that was awarded funded was the Cyber Incubation Units which scored well in deliverability and its location right next to Cyber Central.

o   The Digital Innovation Farm scored very highly on strategic aims and also deliverability as Hartpury College had delivered very well in the past.

o   And finally, the Construction Education Centre which was being delivered by KW Bell who had a strong strategic commitment to the Forest of Dean and delivering skills to local young people.

·         In addition, the report included information on how much guidance was given to project promotors.

·         An example of a project that had been very close to being included for funding was a transport project which scored very highly on multiple criteria, but at the point of submission to Government, there was a significant funding gap which had no solution at that time. This meant that deliverability was not guaranteed.

7.2       A member queried whether further details could be shared about the project referenced above that didn’t quite make the funding list. As the scheme promotor was GCC, officers in attendance at the meeting were happy to share further detail on this. It related to the cycle scheme between Cheltenham and Gloucester (along the B4063) and as members will be aware from previous updates, the scheme had a funding shortfall at the moment. Officers at GCC were still very keen on the project and were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.