City leaders have requested a meeting with the Communities Secretary to discuss Derby’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
This approach comes after Robert Jenrick MP, described Derby as one of the UK’s great cities during a Government Covid-19 Press briefing and pledged that the voice of its local businesses would be heard at Westminster.
Responding to questions around potential job losses at Derby’s largest private sector employer, Rolls-Royce, Mr Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said that the Business Secretary and Chancellor of Exchequer were already in contact with the company to see how they might help.
He acknowledged the firm’s status as one of the UK’s most important advanced manufacturing companies and said, while he was concerned at reports of possible forthcoming redundancies, he was confident Rolls-Royce would have a strong future.
He also expressed a desire to work with the city on its wider recovery strategy.
Derby City council Leader, Councillor Chris Poulter, has now written to Mr Jenrick to ask for a meeting to outline Derby’s plans and set out areas where the Government can assist.
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said:
The city will do all it can to stand with companies like Rolls-Royce, who have been badly impacted by the current health pandemic. It is vital that every effort is made to safeguard skilled employees and support industries that are strategically important to our country’s future and we are keen to hear the Government’s thoughts.
But while it is right that help is provided for affected firms and their staff in the short-term, we also need to be planning for our longer-term future.
Derby has already assembled an Economic Recovery Task Force, drawn from the public and private sectors, to build a clear picture of where assistance needs to be targeted and to produce a detailed plan for how Derby can build back – and build back better.
We don’t just want to recreate the city we had. We want to forge the city that our people want and deserve – one that is better connected, more sustainable and one that offers great opportunity.
We’d very much like to work with Mr Jenrick to achieve our ambitions. A strong Derby will help to create a strong UK.
The Derby task force is concentrating on three phases of economic recovery:
- Restart – helping the city get back to work;
- Revival – helping to boost confidence and demand;
- Renewal – making strategic changes that will help produce a more resilient local economy and a more environmentally sustainable city.
Workstreams have been set up to consider business adaptation support, transport adaptation, sector-specific support networks, city centre transformation and demand stimulus.
Councillor Poulter, added:
In typical Derby fashion, we are already rolling up our sleeves to try to overcome the challenges caused by the current crisis. With the Government’s help, we believe Derby can continue to play a leading role in innovation and wealth creation in the UK.