Plymouth task force plans to deliver 2,000 new jobs over two years
A PLAN to create 2,000 jobs in Plymouth will see a “short burst of activity” to arrest the city’s unemployment problem, the council’s leader has said.
The Plan for Jobs initiative, unveiled yesterday, sets out a 19-point manifesto to get local people working by speeding up development projects, promoting the city to new employers and investing in apprenticeship schemes.
Devised by a task force including business leaders, housing trusts and university bosses, the plan aims to create more than 2,000 jobs over the next two years, focusing particularly on young people and the long-term unemployed.
Speaking at the launch, council leader Tudor Evans said the city’s unemployment, which currently stands at 6,300 people, is in need of urgent action.
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“Our one priority when we launched our manifesto was issuing a plan for jobs,” he said.
“I am really pleased to be able to say that the plan is fulfilled today.
“It is a plan that is rooted in realism and the reason I can say that is because the people here have invested in helping us get this plan together.
“This could have been a fantasy list, a wish list, but it’s a project that we know will be delivered.”
The 19 points include plans to re-vamp the struggling West End of the city, along with redevelopment projects for Plymouth Pavilions and Home Park.
The aim is to speed up house building by bringing forward council-owned land for development, and to establish Plymouth as a “national centre for mass-produced zero carbon homes.”
Cllr Evans said: “Anyone who has been unemployed or has had someone in their family who is out of work knows the impact it can have on every aspect of a person’s life and those around them.
“Confidence goes out the window, their health and mental wellbeing suffers, they have no money.”
In October there were 6,300 people claiming unemployment benefit – 3.6 per cent of the city’s working age population.
The number of long-term unemployed – those claiming benefits for more than a year – has more than doubled in the last six months and the number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming is now 34 per cent, up from 28 per cent.
Cllr Evans added: “This is a quick burst of intense activity designed to deliver a step change in the employment figures of the city.
“The council is determined to do something about Plymouth’s unemployment problem and this plan for jobs is a first step in a programme to turn the economic situation of the council around.
“This plan is about giving hope to young people and long-term unemployed. We want to say that the council has not forgotten about them.”
Clive Turner, chief executive of Plymouth Community Homes, said: “Most people are aware of the huge regeneration of North Prospect but through this plan, council-owned sites will be brought forward for homes to be built on.
“These are sites which would not have come forward for development otherwise.
“Not only will this create new homes, but new jobs, new apprentices and new long-term construction skills which are vital for the city’s future.”
A report outlining the Plan for Jobs will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on January 15.