Coronavirus: Multi-million pound plans to help Peterborough and Cambridgeshire recover from pandemic

The launchpad for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to recover from the coronavirus pandemic is based around “five pillars of delivery”.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 4:45 am

Each one will receive huge funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority - and investors - to propel growth in the area.

The focus will largely be on re-training, up-skilling and adapting to a new model of working.

As is noted in a new Local Economic Recovery Strategy, which has been endorsed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority: “The key message for all businesses is to find ways to capture what they have learned from the unforeseen and forced Covid-19 experience.

An artist's impression of the new ARU Peterborough campus

“Returning to ‘business as usual’ may not be the best strategy.”

In the final part of a three piece feature on the economic recovery from the pandemic, the Peterborough Telegraph outlines the ‘five pillar’ plan and some of the huge funding commitments which form the strategy.

1. Accelerating Start-Ups, Scale-Ups & Set-Ups

. A New Rebound & Grow Coaching Service - £29 million

This will launch in October and will target and engage the area’s “highest potential growth firms”.

. Innovate to Grow Service for Small Firms with Big Ideas - £500,000

A new Innovation Grant Scheme to help “highest potential businesses” enlist external support to secure research and development funding of at least £1 million.

. Capital Grants & Start-Up Advice for Employees Transitioning to Entrepreneurship - £500,000

Support entrepreneurs and the self-employed through mentoring, grants, incentives and by designing specialised courses.

Other ideas include grants for finance start-ups, business rate discounts, equipment grants, supporting mature workers to embark on a start-up venture through finance unlocked from their home-equity, tax breaks or early access to pension pots.

. A New Inward Investment Service to Attract More Firms - £4 million

This will target national firms and foreign investors with tailored packages of support. It is expected to generate more than 1,200 new jobs during the rebound phase of the pandemic recovery.

. Support for City & Town Centre Firms to Rebound - £13.1 million

A new fund to support the regeneration of city centres moving to outside entertainment and socialising, while improving access and finding alternatives to retail.

2. Accelerating Hi-Tech Jobs Growth

. A New University for Peterborough - £30 million

ARU Peterborough is due to open in 2022, starting with 2,500 students before expanding.

. New Manufacturing & Agri-Tech Innovation Launch Pads - £5 million

Dual investments between local firms and the combined authority to deliver five “innovation centres” featuring apprenticeship academies and technology research by the spring of 2021.

The centres include a new head office for Photocentric in Peterborough which will include space focusing on the development of new 3D printing technology. This will create 1,000 jobs over next four years and 50 apprenticeships.

. A Manufacturing Innovation Eco-System in the North of the Economy

Establishing the first independent research and development centre for Peterborough to “generate significantly greater growth in high-value, knowledge intensive jobs”.

Accelerating Recovery in Construction

. Increasing Skills Capacity in the Construction Sector to Support a Boost in Infrastructure Investment - £1.7 million

The combined authority will focus spending more on growing further education capacity to raise skills and numbers in the construction sector. This includes £2.5 million for a hub in Huntingdon with similar investments targeted for Wisbech and Peterborough.

. Guaranteed Training & Interviews for Jobs in Healthcare & Construction

Sector based academies will be developed.

. Stimulating the Housing Market - £100k Homes - £100 million

Look at expanding the combined authority’s £100,000 Homes programme to avoid “the worst excesses of a contraction of the housebuilding industry”.

Moreover, the combined authority is looking at potentially developing three new garden towns which would be linked to the proposed Cambridge Autonomous Metro scheme (which currently is planned to go from Cambridge into Huntingdonshire, but may extend further).

Each scheme could deliver approximately 6,000 new houses but would require around £20 million over the next few years.

Accelerating Upskilling & Retraining

. More Resources into Schools to Better Connect Leavers with Jobs

Better connecting careers guidance in schools to the local labour market and creating links between them.

. Local Piloting of a New National Retraining Scheme

The combined authority will fund an £80,000 pilot for adults to retrain into better jobs,

This includes working with health trusts to create 300 to 400 new jobs for people retraining in the health and care sector

. New Funding for Training for School & College Leavers Unable to Find a Job

Localising the Government’s High Value Courses initiative through a £150,000 pilot to support school and college leavers into work and enabling them to gain the skills they need to get jobs.

. Connecting Displaced Talent into Re-Skilling & Jobs Faster Skills

Displaced workers from the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic will be targeted and given a pathway to retrain and get a new job. Training will be funded and will include a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to cover 25 hours a week at the minimum wage, as well as National Insurance contributions.

Accelerating a Greener and more Sustainable Economy

. CPCA Digital Infrastructure Programme “Keeping Everyone Connected” - £1 million

Help support businesses and communities in some of the most hard to reach areas to be better connected to support remote working, education and training, access to

healthcare and social inclusion.

. Adult Skills And Capital Support for Digital Transformation of Delivery - £320,000

An Adult Skills Digital Delivery Innovation Fund to finance the costs of digital transformation for further education providers.

. Focusing Recovery & Growth Where it Can Improve Health & Wellbeing

Partners will work to develop health and wellbeing programmes for employers to implement, along with a scheme for accreditation for employers to aspire to and attain.