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Equality objective - produce economic strategy

Business Plan/Service Plan priority 

Work to create opportunities for good quality jobs for local people – Produce West Lancashire economic strategy

Rationale

Securing local jobs for local people is a core element of the sustainable regeneration and growth commitment within WLBC’s Business Plan.  The West Lancashire Economic Study from 2009, commissioned by the Council, set a challenge for the area – laying a foundation for economic recovery that surpassed its recent past.  

The Skelmersdale Vision town centre action plan has progressed to outline planning permission and the scheme is now being marketed. Improvements in transport and hi-speed broadband are being developed with partners to enhance the local economic infrastructure and investment is planned in enhancing local industrial estates.  The West Lancashire economic strategy will want to ensure that the local labour market is well placed to take advantage of these developments and that the local economy is further improved by addressing the legacy of generational unemployment in some areas of the borough.

Equality Objective 

To develop an appropriate labour market initiative(s) within the emerging West Lancashire economic strategy that improve the life chances of residents and have a positive impact on the West Lancashire economy,  including:

  • understanding which residents might be particularly vulnerable to long-term unemployment because of one or more of their personal characteristics
  • working towards a shared information protocol across local and national partners, such as Job Centre Plus, which allows for fuller analysis of worklessness data and experience
  • looking at how to sustain and embed the good practice within the West Lancs Challenge Project including the tracking of positive outcomes and of missed referrals
  • evaluating the barriers to local people for becoming, and staying, economically active and addressing these within the strategy.

Equality Information

Background
The West Lancashire Economic Study will form the basis for the new strategic approach and partners are currently considering their options for refreshing its data set. The Local Economy and Employment evidence paper for the Local Plan 2012-2027 also provides an overview of economic activity in the area and identified key actions including:

  • reducing the disparities and inequalities between skills and education, health and employment opportunities between Skelmersdale and other areas of the Borough
  • working to reduce unemployment levels and JSA benefit claimants
  • providing more jobs including better job densities
  • competing against the demands of an ageing population by providing employment opportunities for those over the age of 50
  • tackling barriers to work and linking workless people and vacancies to improve employment rates

West Lancashire Council for Voluntary Service, which hosts the West Lancs Challenge Project, has carried out regular evaluation of the scheme and is able to report on its outcomes – there is an opportunity to develop this further in terms of longer term tracking and the identification of  referrals that are not taken up and other missed opportunities.

Further data for analysis can be found at:

  • the Office for National Statistics (NOMIS)
  • 2011 Census
  • Employment Land and Premises Study 2010
  • DWP statistics
  • Job Centre Plus data 

Data

  • 86% of the male working age population of West Lancashire is economically active compared to 74% of women7
  • up to 10.6% of the population of Skelmersdale is unemployed7
  • there are 1.8 JSA claimants per unfilled vacancy in West Lancashire6
  • those claiming JSA in West Lancashire are doing so for longer than in 20087
  • 58% of all benefit claimants in West Lancashire live in Skelmersdale and Up Holland7
  • in some parts of Skelmersdale 34% of the population have no qualifications (9.7% nationally) 6

Nationally8 we also know that:

  • in the last 30 years, the chances of employment for low qualified men with disabilities has reduced from 77% to 38%
  • only 23% of people with depression are in employment 
  • 45% of disabled people in the early 20s are NEET (not in education, employment or training) 
  • Women aged 40 earn on average 27% less than men of the same age

References
6. NOMIS, Labour Market Profile, West Lancashire 2012
7. West Lancashire Local Plan, local economy and employment evidence paper, 2013
8. How fair is Britain?, EHRC, October 2010