9. Objective 3 - Promoting an inclusive economy, by raising skills and improving access to a range of employment opportunities for people on low incomes
As outlined above, while East Devon is very prosperous overall, there are significant levels of inequality in the city and a proportion of residents are on low incomes or in poverty. As part of the Anti-Poverty Strategy, the Council will seek to promote a more inclusive economy, where all residents can benefit from East Devon’s prosperity. The OECD defines inclusive growth as: “economic growth that creates opportunity for all segments of the population and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, fairly across society.”
One of the key causes of poverty and inequality is differences in education, skills and employment levels. Evidence suggests that in East Devon there is:
- an educational attainment gap in East Devon, which impacts on longer term life chances for young people from low income households.
- a skills gap in East Devon. 32.9% of the working age population in East Devon had higher level qualifications (NVQ Level 4 and above) in 2019. ONS data for 2020 shows that for everyone one person who has no qualifications, there are around five individuals who hold a qualification at NVQ4 and above.
- a low level of social mobility, possibly as a result of these education, skills and employment issues.
Actions for 2021- onwards
The key actions the Council will take from 2021 onwards to promote an inclusive economy are set out in detail in the action plan that accompanies this strategy. They include:
District Council actions
The Council will seek to use its planning powers to help create a more inclusive economy. One of the themes identified in the East Devon Local Plan is: Wellbeing and social inclusion – how the plan can help spread the benefits of growth, helping to create healthy and inclusive communities. As the plan is developed consideration is being given to how this theme can be integrated throughout, drawing on relevant evidence.
There are also opportunities to promote inclusive growth through major new developments, such as Cranbrook. Specific policies will be firmed up as the development progresses, but should include a requirement for developers to submit an employment and skills plan with planning proposals, setting out how they will seek to employ a skilled local workforce and provide training and apprenticeships throughout the delivery of the development.
We will work with local businesses to identify ways in which they might use their skills, capacity and resources to help tackle poverty and disadvantage. This could include businesses making financial contributions, engaging with local schools or providing skilled volunteers to support local voluntary and community groups taking action to reduce poverty.
We will also work in partnership with those organisations which have greater responsibility for education, skills and employment issues, including Devon County Council, JobCentre Plus, schools, further education colleges, the University of Exeter.
Influencing and lobbying actions
As identified above, there are a number national and international economic factors that affect the shape of the local economy, which it is difficult for a local authority to influence. We will take opportunities to lobby Government on relevant economic policy issues, and seek to influence the strategic approach of the Local Enterprise Partnership.