Hounslow’s Cabinet last night approved the Council’s bold and far-reaching Recovery Plan to support the borough over the major economic and social challenges over the months ahead.
Published: Wednesday, 21st October 2020
Hounslow’s Cabinet last night approved the Council’s bold and far-reaching Recovery Plan to support the borough through the major economic and social challenges over the months ahead.
Bringing together four months of work with a range of organisations, businesses, voluntary and community groups, academics and residents, ‘One Hounslow, Forward Together’ sets out the major interventions the Council is undertaking.
Hounslow is projected to be one of the hardest hit boroughs economically due to the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown. An independent report by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Council, forecasts an almost £1bn hit to the borough’s economy due to due to the downturn at Heathrow, and estimates more than 40,000 jobs could be at risk.
The total projected impact on Hounslow’s economy is expected to be £2.7 billion for 2020/21, and new data this month found 40% of the borough’s workforce is now unemployed or on furlough.
Many of the jobs at risk are concentrated in sectors which are more likely to employ lower skilled, lower paid workers. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, as well as younger people, are expected to be disproportionately affected.
Part of the Recovery Plan includes the Council’s work on leading the call on the Government for an Aviation Communities Fund to support areas heavily reliant on airports and associated businesses, which will be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The Recovery Plan was developed by the Hounslow Recovery Board – comprising leading Councillors and senior representatives of major local organisations and business - as well as four taskforces which covered economy and regeneration, social and wellbeing, community and green recovery. It was also shaped by a virtual recovery conference hosted by the Council in September, joined by more than 200 people and thought to be the first such event in the UK.
It highlights how the Council supported the borough through the first wave of COVID-19, before explaining the impact of the global pandemic on Hounslow and the emerging social and economic challenges. It then describes what we intend to do to help the borough thrive over the coming months and years.
Major interventions are based around four themes – renewing local economies, empowering local residents, tackling local inequalities and reimaging local places – and there is strong emphasis on empowering and connecting communities and voluntary organisations, improving engagement and representation, and fostering a borough culture of supporting local businesses and groups.
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “Hounslow’s facing some incredibly tough times ahead, the biggest challenge of our generation. To lead and support our residents and businesses through this, we need to do things differently, we need to come together, knockdown barriers and work with a common purpose.
“Our Recovery Plan – One Hounslow, Forward Together – builds on the fantastic community spirit we saw during the first wave of COVID-19. Its broad range of interventions to make Hounslow a fairer, greener, stronger borough embodies the spirit of collective focus and collaboration, of passion and enthusiasm for the people of Hounslow, that we will need over the coming months.
“Though the Council working together with our communities, partners and businesses can do a great deal to support and empower people, the Government needs to play its part too.
“Thousands of individuals and businesses in communities across the UK reliant on the aviation industry are facing widespread unemployment, deprivation and barriers to securing future work. These communities around airports, so impacted by the crisis, cannot be forgotten. Places like Hounslow need a targeted Aviation Communities Fund to help minimise job losses, support training to help people into new roles, enable investment in infrastructure and ensure a sustainable and green airport recovery.”
The work of the Recovery Plan includes:
Renewing local economies
- A new Economic Recovery and Regeneration Strategy
- Introduce a Green Enterprise Zone and develop a pipeline of low-carbon job opportunities
- Use innovation districts to create and attract new high-quality jobs
- Working with partners to understand the impact of technological change on the logistics sector
- Establish a business-led group to oversee projects and interventions
- Expand current provision of dedicated start up, micro and small business support
- Encourage and support ethical and social purpose
- Developing green travel infrastructure in to and out of the borough
- Support for start-up and micro digital tech, IT, TV, media and production creative sector
- Improve links between SMEs and larger companies
Reimagining local places
- Deliver a low carbon, 15-Minute Neighbourhood model for Hounslow
- Develop low traffic neighbourhoods, with plentiful cycle parking and clean streets
- Work with residents to a create a net-zero estate in the borough
- Activate disused spaces and vacant properties
- Launch the digital dock in Brentford, an affordable co-work space
- Decarbonise council housing stock
- Invest in new leisure and community hubs and green spaces
- Help communities to shape their local areas
- Continue to rollout fibre broadband and 5G to ensure all residents are digitally connected
Tackling local inequalities
- Launching a Green Skills Academy
- An extended ‘Work Hounslow’ job service
- Expand successful Skills Escalator programme, helping people retrain and advance their careers
- Return to School campaign to increase parent and student confidence
- New Parenting Strategy with a better offer to parents
- Targeted support to those most affected by the pandemic
- Targeted diabetes programmes and vaccination campaigns - the best ways to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on local people
- Commissioning of an online therapy offer for 11 to 25 year olds
Empowering local residents
- Work with communities to develop a different, community-led engagement model
- Develop our strategic relationship with voluntary organisations and community groups and develop a live directory to work as a better joined up system
- A new Anti-Poverty Strategy
- Create a One Hounslow Grants Strategy
- Improve translation to better support specific communities
- Enhance the local volunteering infrastructure and sector support
- Accelerate roll out of Council’s employer-supported volunteering programme
Summary of council response
Over the past number of months, Hounslow Council has:
- Supported 22,500 shielding residents
- Provided £37m of support grants to local firms
- Performed 30,000 additional home visits
- Provided £630,000 in Covid19 hardship funding to 4,200 residents
- Distributed grants to more than 2,000 local businesses
- Housed over 150 street homeless people
- Provided 1,000 extra parking permits for health and care workers