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Talks held over recession

PUBLISHED: 08:54 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:59 03 July 2010

TALKS have been held this week to determine how Norfolk County Council can continue to support the county's residents and businesses through the recession.

TALKS have been held this week to determine how Norfolk County Council can continue to support the county's residents and businesses through the recession.

A special meeting of the council's economic development and cultural services overview and scrutiny panel was held on Monday to consider the effects of the economic downturn on the Norfolk economy and how the council can best prioritise the support it is able to offer. Representatives from Shaping Norfolk's Future, Business Link East, Job Centre Plus, Clydesdale Bank and Norwich International Airport were invited to give their views in order to ensure any future actions are unified and are targeted to have the greatest impact.

Jenny Chamberlin, chair of the panel, said: “It's important that we understand how Norfolk's businesses are faring and what they perceive as the biggest challenges they are facing now and in the coming months. It was extremely useful to hear from each of the organisations who were invited to the meeting and what came out of it was a clear commitment from all of us to work together to offer support to Norfolk's business community.”

One of the themes that came out of the meeting was that there is much support already in existence for Norfolk's businesses, and ensuring that employers and business leaders are aware of the help and support that is relevant to them would be vital in coming months.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of Shaping Norfolk's Future, gave a presentation at the meeting called Outlining the Impact of the Recession on Norfolk's Economy, which examined the current state of Norfolk's economy by its major industry sectors.

He said: “There's no getting away from the fact the county's economy faces big challenges, however there are sectors within Norfolk, such as renewables and even financial services, where the situation is more positive.”

Rob Hetherington of Job Centre Plus also revealed that it estimated there were around 12,000 vacancies in Norfolk in December 2008, suggesting that while some redundancies are being made, there are still many companies recruiting in the county.

The panel will meet again next month to decide which actions to support local business it will recommend to cabinet.

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