From the town hall: Doing our bit to grow local economy

PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 August 2020

Cllr Darren Rodwell wants to support resdients but needs government help.

Cllr Darren Rodwell wants to support resdients but needs government help.


It is impossible to know the long-term impact of coronavirus on our high streets and on other parts of the economy.

And with tough times ahead for many here in Barking and Dagenham and across the country, the council will be working hard for a recovery that delivers for our communities.

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During lockdown, unemployment tripled, and claims for Universal Credit doubled. Around half of all our residents in work have been furloughed or received self-employment support. And about a quarter of local jobs are in retail and hospitality which has been hardest hit and where there are fewer vacancies.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we believe the council has a vital role to play in supporting people find jobs and help secure a recovery for the borough, building on our existing work. But we need support from the government to help us realise our potential. We have a strong record helping people through our job shops. Last year we were able to help 1,300 people back into work, and we have been working round the clock in recent weeks to put in place resources to help up to 1,500 people at a time find work, access skills, training, and apprenticeships.

Like most people, we want a hand up, not a handout, so we are doing our bit to grow the local economy. We recently submitted proposals for over 22,000 homes and over 1,000 jobs as part of our bid for government support. Looking to the next few years, we have secured the three markets of the City of London, recently granted planning permission for a new film studio, attracted a global data centre, and brought a new state-of-the-art research site for the UCL.

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