Posting this a little later than usual – after my return from holiday. In this edition:
- Suffolk Growth Hub
- The Tip-off
- Careers help for young people
- Council’s strategic plan
- New build programme
Suffolk Growth Hub
Babergh has been working with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) to develop the support available to businesses. One key area of this work is the new Growth Hub, launched recently at the Suffolk Show, which will provide Norfolk and Suffolk businesses with a “no wrong door” route for accessing business support. The Growth Hub team will provide a first point of contact for any business and give easier access to local and national programmes and initiatives, including a small grants fund, an innovation readiness programme, innovation vouchers and business start-up help. There will be face-to-face support, advice and workshops, access to funding, business mentoring and help for social enterprise development. Web resources are already available: http://www.businessgrowthhub.com/ and there’s a telephone support line: 0300 456 3565.
The Suffolk Waste Partnership recently and successfully bid for national DEFRA pilot project funding to prevent fly-tipping. The Suffolk Fly Tipping Action Group (STAG) were awarded £28K. The project was aimed at anyone acting as a waste carrier, including the “man in a van”, with messages also aimed at householders who must take responsibility for disposal of waste from their premises. It is an offence to “give waste away”. All carriers must be licensed, though licenses are free to smaller businesses and tradespeople such as plumbers. Many unlicensed workers operate on social media and word-of-mouth. The Council can and does take enforcement action. Working with the police, 46 vehicles were stopped and searched. Advice can be given at the roadside, but there were some notable prosecutions brought against offenders resulting in fines, costs and many hours of unpaid community work. More information at: http://www.greensuffolk.org/recycling/fly-tipping/
“Showcasing the local economy” – careers help for young people
The effectiveness of careers information, advice and guidance (IAG) for young people is a key component in raising aspirations and attainment across the whole age range of children. There is a worrying disconnect between the needs of business, the aspirations of young people and educational provision. Babergh will be committing to support the development and maintenance of an online careers platform, alongside the other local authorities in Suffolk. Considerable research and consultations have been carried out, including work by University Campus Suffolk, with young people, educators and over 130 employers, regarding the concept and technical specification of the platform. This is an example of the partnership approach being adopted throughout the county, and is at the core of Raising the Bar and the Greater Ipswich City Deal. The platform is being designed for ease of access in a variety of formats, free of charge from home or school, via internet and mobile devices.
Council’s Strategic Plan
The Council’s blueprint for the next few years sets out how we – and the communities Babergh serves – can shape the future, albeit in very uncertain times. The aim is to set a shared sense of direction, reflecting both reducing resources in local government and our aspirations to be a flexible, quick-moving and responsive organisation to both residents and businesses. The three main priorities identified some time ago remain as housing, the economy balanced with the environment, and communities that are strong, healthy and more self-reliant. The document is available on Babergh’s website under the Strategy agenda for 12th June, P20.
New build programme
Babergh has the opportunity to bid for funds from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to enable new affordable homes to be built. To do this the council must meet some conditions which include introducing new and higher rents to some new tenancies when stock becomes empty. Known as “rent conversion”, this would mean a small percentage of new rents rising to 80% of the private rental market level. Existing tenancies would not be affected. The additional rent contributions, together with the HCA grant bid would enable new homes to be built, initially five in this first bidding round. New homes will not only raise the council tax base but will also generate new homes bonus and help with economic growth.
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