There are a wide range of factors that contribute to a vibrant and thriving economy and the aim of this Strategy is to set out the priorities and actions for the next five years.
The Local Plan objectives to 2036 set out in 2019 stated our ambition to build an additional 20,100 houses and create 14,400 new jobs. Despite the effects of COVID-19, our aspiration is still to meet these objectives. The Strategy is accompanied by an Economic Growth Plan which contains further context and detail including our priorities for the next 12 months. Key themes are:-
- Inward investment
- Conditions for growth
- Fuelling our economy
- Maximising our skills
- Vibrant town centres
- Supporting our business sectors
In 2013 Huntingdonshire District Council published an Economic Growth Plan covering the period 2013-2023. The document set out some ambitious plans to “go for growth”, and an economic vision based around a strong and stable economy following the recovery from the financial crash of 2008. It can be argued that this was the right approach at the time. GDP per head grew by 88% between 1998-2018 and Huntingdonshire has much to be proud of. Great opportunities for future growth lie ahead with key developments such as the newly completed A14 and the longer-term proposals for the OxCam Arc. But the global health crisis sprung by the COVID-19 pandemic has eroded cash reserves and levels of resilience within Huntingdonshire’s businesses. Greater, and potentially more significant challenges will lie ahead as businesses transition to a new trading relationship with the European Union and other markets. The turbulence that businesses have experienced and will experience, suggests that a new short-term strategy should be adopted to help the businesses in our district recover, ready to grow again.
Our sectors will need greater support to help them re-build or build back better after COVID-19. Strengthening our clusters will help optimize the performance of those businesses here in Huntingdonshire and will help build
ecosystems to attract new businesses. We may also need to assist businesses who wish to import and export after January 2021. One of our biggest challenges will be the skills landscape. Many workers and residents have recently lost their livelihoods. Some will need to seek new skills and training opportunities in order to re-enter the workplace. We will need businesses and education providers to work closer together so that our local population
are equipped and ready to add value to the employers in our district. This Strategy sits alongside other documents as part of the Council’s strategy and planning framework supporting and creating a strong and vibrant local economy.
Huntingdonshire lies within one of the world's leading technology hubs in Greater Cambridgeshire which hosts a multitude of cutting edge businesses and high tech clusters. The region is home 10 $1 billion companies and 1,500 high-tech business.
There is a particular excellence in design, R&D and manufacturing which draws upon the long established history of successful manufacturing in Huntingdonshire and collaboration between academia and industry. Huntingdonshire supports over 7,500 enterprises made up of thousands of local start-ups and home-grown success stories and hundreds of firms that have relocated from all over the world. These companies have recognised the many business benefits of the region for their headquarters, back-offices, technology, manufacturing or logistics projects.
Principle employers include the likes of Xaar, Envigo, Hotel Chocolat, Sealed Air, Defence Estates, ABB, Bosch, RGE and Forward Composites to name but a few.