The Royal Borough has announced plans to boost jobs and the local economy. Recent employment figures reveal Kensington and Chelsea has a higher unemployment rate compared to the London average.
A new economic strategy has been approved by RBKC’s leadership team Live, Work and Learn – Our plan for a successful economy. This has at its heart the ambition to support better growth for all across the areas of employment, business and enterprise.
The council is also committed to directly helping over 1000 residents over different demographics and, if approved, these specific measures include helping over 350 residents over the next three years. There will also be personalised support to 300 residents with health issues through the Work and Health programme and supporting 500 young people through enhanced careers programmes like the Construction Youth Trust Project.
The Strategy contains priority actions including support to help those who may struggle to access affordable childcare so will prioritise promoting the range of childcare funding available to working parents.
The council has acknowledged that although the borough has many strengths, such as world-class institutions, visitor attractions and a bustling market, it is not immune to the difficulties facing the wider economy. Another challenge has been that some residents and businesses are not fully benefitting from the opportunities available, as many people struggle to find well-paid and secure work.
Keen to lead by example, there has been direct employment of 74 apprenticeships within the council so far this year and confirmation of continuation of the supported employment training programme for up to 16 vulnerable and at-risk young people a year. The London Living Wage pledge has been made for all council staff and contractors. And, there will be every attempt made to ensure that the £300 million spent on procuring external services annually provides a range of local benefits.
Commenting on the new strategy, Councillor Catherine Faulks, the skills and enterprise lead member said: “Kensington and Chelsea has world-famous institutions, a diverse entrepreneurial population and many thriving businesses and employers who are all committed to helping our residents fulfil their potential and together we can support a strong and inclusive economy”.
The strategy has been developed in response to priorities and issues ‘raised by residents and stakeholders’ in consultation conducted for both the Grenfell Recovery Strategy and the Council Plan. Conversations have taken place with a range of local contacts and organisations including education, community and voluntary sectors.
Providing a business-friendly borough for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and entrepreneurs is also important and as a recent example, RBKC refunded £13,700 of business rates to Holland Park Autos in Silchester Row. Established by Narain Jagtiani in 1986 it has developed a niche by providing car services to a number of international embassies and provides local employment.
Bid to Boost Local Economy