Agenda item

Questions asked by members under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5).


The Chief Executive reported that the following questions had been received under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5) from Mr. M. Hunt CC.


“1.      When, and how, do officers expect to report the level of sectoral unemployment and other labour market indicators in the county to this committee, including the fortunes of the county’s multi-site Enterprise Zone and other major engagements.

2.              Leicester Shire and Rutland  Statistics & Research seem to have ceased publication of their Unemployment Bulletin.  Is this information still published in a different form and frequency, if so where is the current source?

3.              Recently Loughborough’s Brush Traction division of the US Wabtec Corporation closed with an expected loss of 300 high skilled jobs.  This also occurred at a particular time when work to address the faults in Hitachi’s rolling stock was available.  Was the county’s economic development team able to assist in bringing this situation to the attention of Government Ministers and if so with what response and effect?”


Reply by the Chairman


1.              The Scrutiny Commission will receive a report as part of the consultation on the draft Economic Recovery Strategy, currently being developed by the LLEP at its meeting in September. In addition, there are a variety of dashboards available on LSR-online that look at the current information available including unemployment and universal credit (the latter includes in-work claimants), number of job postings, furlough and estimated employees furloughed by sector. Sectoral unemployment is expected to become clearer in the autumn when the government furlough scheme ends. There is also a Business and Economic Intelligence Update including relevant data published by the LLEP: The LLEP are happy to add any stakeholders to the distribution list.

2.              Prior to the pandemic it was agreed that the unemployment bulletin would no longer be published but that an annual report setting out the current socioeconomic data (population, economic, health etc) would be produced. This is still in development. The resurrection of the bulletin is being considered as part of the Economic Recovery Strategy work. However, the LLEP update (referred to in 1.) contains similar information to the bulletin, including unemployment commentary at district level and may be the best document to convey unemployment information in the future.

3.              Following the news of the Brush redundancies being announced, the County Council’s Economic Growth Team have had discussions with Charnwood Borough Council and more recently have received an update from the Department for International Trade (DIT). It is also understood that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are supporting Brush. Further discussions are planned at the Economic Recovery Cell, the LRF multi-agency group chaired by the LLEP.


Supplementary questions


Mr Hunt CC asked on the response to question 3 if there were any outcomes from the discussions with Charnwood Borough Council, for details of the update from the DIT and whether a further update on discussions from the Economic Recovery Cell could be provided.


At the invitation of the Chairman, the Assistant Chief Executive responded and advised Member that on hearing about the situation at Brush, County Council Officers had made contact with both Charnwood Borough Council and the LLEP (Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership) to check what steps were being taken to support the Company and affected employees and to see whether there was any support the County Council could provide.  In those discussions, County Council officers were made aware that Minsters were fully aware of the developments at Brush and we were assured that the Department for BEIS and also the DWP were providing the support you would expect in this sort of situation.  The Economic Recovery Cell being led by the LLEP was overseeing this activity and there was a meeting of that Cell due to take place in a week or so.  The Assistant Chief Executive undertook to provide Mr Hunt with a written update following that meeting on the current state of play. 


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