The Derby Economic Recovery Task Force, of which the Cathedral Quarter BID is a proud partner, is calling on the Government to make millions of pounds of funding available for projects to help reboot the city’s economy.
It has already submitted a bid for £23.7 million to kick-start major improvement schemes in the city centre.
It is now asking for support for the SME loans and grants initiative that would help businesses across the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership area create new jobs. The initial ask for this is £10m, with the intention to try to source more funding if enough credible job-creation proposals are identified.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that claims for Universal Credit in the city were 142 per cent higher in May than in the same month last year.
Initial findings from a survey of Derby’s small and medium-sized businesses also indicate that 40 per cent of companies fear they will have to make redundancies among their furloughed staff.
DWP’s figures show that the number of people claiming Universal Credit in Derby rose to 12,595 last month, compared to 5,200 in May last year. The number is up 99.6 per cent on the count in March, when the UK entered lockdown.
And the tally looks set to worsen, with Rolls-Royce in the process of making 1,300 redundancies in the city, aerospace logistics company Incora announcing a restructuring that could lead to major job losses and many other businesses saying that they may have to let go some of their currently furloughed staff.
The task force has been in dialogue with local businesses to understand how the crisis is impacting upon them and how they see the future.
Nearly 70 per cent of companies responding to a Council survey said they had seen decreased sales as a result of the COVID crisis, 50 per cent said they were suffering cashflow issues and 44 per cent thought it would take between one and three years for their businesses to return to pre-crisis levels.
Fifty-six per cent had furloughed staff. Forty per cent of those expected to make some furloughed staff redundant and six per cent had already made redundancies.
The Council has already issued more than £40m in grants to help support businesses in the short-term.
Task force leaders have also been supporting private sector investors to continue with new developments in the city. Companies behind schemes worth more than £450m have reiterated their confidence in the city and pledged to deliver their projects.
There was also positive news last week when planning permission was given for the new Landmark residential development – which will bring 200 new apartments to the city centre and inject up to £68m into the local economy.