Stroud Labour has called for more power for councils to prevent a jobs crisis as new analysis reveals there are 8,470 people either claiming Job Seekers Allowance or furloughed in the district.
Labour-led Stroud District Council has already made the local economy one of its key recovery priorities but would welcome being given more resources and powers to do even more.
Stroud District Council’s Labour leader Doina Cornell said: “The first priority for Stroud district has to be to deliver the vaccine and beat the virus – but we’ve also got to do much more to avert a deepening jobs crisis this spring.
“There are now 8,470 people in the Stroud district either claiming job seekers allowance or on furlough – that’s 8,470 people desperate to work. We can all see that the next few months are hugely uncertain – we have no idea how and when many of these jobs will come back. Councils want to do everything we can to fire local economies and create opportunities.
“From Test and Trace to PPE we’ve seen the government make the wrong calls throughout this crisis because they have repeatedly refused to trust local communities to make the decisions that work for their area. We have the local knowledge, the networks and the on the ground understanding and up to date information you need in a crisis – that’s why the government should give us the space we need to fight for local jobs.
“Local authorities should be given the powers to help those desperate to work into jobs. That means no more expensive consultants and top-down decision making. Instead, let’s harness the local expertise in our communities and give the families who have taken a battering this last year the best chance to rebuild their lives.”
Publishing the data following the annual Labour Council Leaders’ Summit on February 5, Labour in local government is calling for greater freedom and support to boost local jobs markets, including:
· Help councils make jobs their number one priority – devolving and funding the delivery of employment services so that councils can use local knowledge to get people into work
· Target economic recovery support where it is needed most – ensuring that the areas hit hardest by coronavirus receive the most help
· Build back better – require economic support to use social value commissioning and procurement to promote better work, wages, and access to skills
· Stop wasting money on expensive private consultants – instead of direct funding only to accountable public bodies such as councils and local community groups
· Devolve decision making to the local level – decision making on stimulus projects should be taken away from Whitehall and handed to the local and regional government.