£2.4m to boost North Yorkshire’s economy
12:58pm 24th April 2012
An innovative package of measures designed to help North Yorkshire’s economy through the recession, and to provide desperately-needed employment opportunities for young people, has been approved today by the County Council’s Executive.
Some £2m will be spent extending the repairs and improvement programme on the council’s highways network – a move which will create employment while at the same time addressing even more of the issues raised by the impact of recent severe winters.
A further £400,000 will be used to create apprenticeships for young people. With only one exception, every district of North Yorkshire has seen rising unemployment over the past year, and at the end of February, just over 3,000 people aged 18 to 24 were claiming Job Seekers’ Allowances. The money from the county council will fund 90 apprenticeships or related employment support and preparation posts in areas such as social care, outdoor education, and library services.
“This is an imaginative and practical way in which the county council can help to bring the local economy through the worst ravages of the economic downturn, and at the same time, by providing apprenticeship opportunities, give young people those skills and confidence which are so important in improving their long term employability prospects,” said County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Economic Development.
“Prudent monitoring of our finances has enabled us to identify this additional money, which is largely the result of our strong performance in terms of delivering against the savings programme which was introduced as a response to cuts in funding from central Government.
“Some of those savings have been made earlier than planned, and therefore give us a one-off opportunity to target the local economy with additional resources.”
The County Council had already introduced a raft of measures to protect and promote local businesses. They include the payment within ten days of receipt of all invoices from small and medium sized businesses, to assist cashflow.
The money earmarked today (Tuesday 24th April 2012) for extending pothole repairs could pay for approximately 13,000 tonnes of macadam, to repair 3,000 further potholes. On top of that, 24,000 tonnes of macadam would fund a further 550 repairs and improvements to the network.
The work would be organised by the council’s new Highways Contractor, Ringway, which would use only a local, North Yorkshire, workforce to carry out the repairs, either directly employed by the company, or through the use of local sub-contractors. Wherever possible, the materials used in the work will be sourced from quarries in North Yorkshire.
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