11th June 2020

 

As the island begins to slowly emerge from lockdown, it will be important to focus on how we can support our local economy.

Island Labour believes that action is needed both in the short and longer term to help families, businesses and communities recover from the economic costs of the virus.

 The Island Economy

As other councils have done across England, but notably Preston’s Labour council, we must  work with the biggest employers on the Island (including the NHS and the council) to:

  • Increase council spending with Island based suppliers
  • Shorten supply chains to source more goods and services directly on Island to support Island businesses
  • Encourage the living wage to increase money circulating in the local economy
  • When access to the £100m council investment fund re opens
    • Provide start up incubator sites for tech, marine and agriculture businesses
    • Invest on the Island in county farms to provide income and food supply resilience

Tourism and the high street

  • Remove the need for licences for outdoor seating to help businesses safely cater to customers
  • Increase pedestrianisation to expand public spaces for social distancing
  • Free parking for the first hour in all short stay car parks to encourage the use of our town centres

Labour’s Richard Quigley said:

“We know the council is now facing a near £10m shortfall in its budget this year and an ongoing £2.5m annual shortfall due to the deferring of agreed funding. Bob Seely has long promised an Island Deal, but it hasn’t emerged. Even if it now did , it wouldn’t be enough.”

“I think the employees at the council have worked miracles with already decimated resources, but now is the time to approach things differently.  We need to build on the community spirit that has been displayed during the crisis and rebuild the Island in the image of success and possibility.”

“Hopefully islanders will elect a Labour-led council in 2021 to drive through the necessary changes, but in the short term, we would support the existing council in taking the above action.”