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ECONOMIC CLIMATE UPDATE REPORT

By Erin Shaw,2014-07-11 11:47
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ECONOMIC CLIMATE UPDATE REPORT ...

     Appendix 1

    ECONOMIC CLIMATE UPDATE REPORT

EMPLOYMENT AND BUSINESS

Following the report to Cabinet in December 2008 a regular update of the local economic

    climate was requested to be reported to each Cabinet meeting. The following is a summary

    of the positive and negative economic changes that have taken place since the previous 5th

    February update.

ENGINEERING/MANUFACTURING/CHEMICAL

Positive

    ? Billingham-based pump manufacturer Tomlinson Hall has seen year-on-year growth

    of 7.5%-10% over four years increasing turnover to more than ?3m.

    ? Billingham based Biochemical company CRB has won new orders and clients in

    recent months after revamping its business plan.

    ? One owner of Eaglescliffe based manufacturer the Bottling Company has

    purchased Sunderland based Villa Drinks.

    ? Able UK successfully secured the contract to recycle the French air craft carrier Le

    Clemenceau, now in position at Graythorp Dock, 200 jobs to be created.

    ? Billingham firm Cotswold Manufacturing Limited received the Manufacturing Award

    at the Best New business Awards 2008.

    ? UPDATE: Corus has sold its subsidiary Teesside Cast Products. Italian firm

    Marcegaglia will become a majority stakeholder in the Redcar plant alongside South

    Korean firm Dongkuk. About 2000 people are employed at the plant.

    ? UPDATE: Nissan have announced a further 20,000 redundancies worldwide

    however this announcement excludes the Sunderland plant, which has secured

    Nissan‟s new Qazana model expected to enter production in 2010.

Negative

    ? SABIC has temporarily shut down part of its cracker complex at Wilton following a

    drop in demand, no redundancies or major reductions in staff working hours are

    currently expected.

    ? Nearly 200 staff at the Petroplus oil refinery on Teesside are threatened after the

    Swiss-owned firm announced it was considering strategic options including sale,

    stating that the refinery requires substantial reinvestment.

    ? 160 contract workers at Seal Sands based INEOS Nitriles will not be kept on as work

    is shifted to its in house team of staff.

    ? UPDATE: SeaDragon Offshore plan to remove work on one of two drilling rigs from

    Haverton Hill shipyard to Singapore after previously agreeing a contract with Tees

    Alliance Group (TAG) for the work. It is hoped that some work can be salvaged on

    Teesside.

    SERVICE SECTOR/RETAIL

Positive

    ? E-commerce specialist Visualsoft is to triple its staff as it forecast a ?1.5m turnover

    this year, based at Preston Farm, around 10 staff will be recruited over six months.

     2 ? Mandale Fine Furniture of Portrack and the jobs of its eight staff have been saved

    after it was bought by giftware chain Collectables.

    ? BrightHouse are to open five new outlets in Tees Valley, stores are planned for

    Billingham and Thornaby.

    ? The ?30m EDS Data Centre at Wynyard is due to be completed December 2009, 30-

    40 new jobs to be created.

    ? Reuben Manor a new ?5m care home due to open June 2009 in Yarm are looking to

    recruit 100 staff.

    ? UPDATE: 20 jobs at the former garage chain deVries have been saved. The

    Stockton dealership has been sold to the Benfield Motor Group ? UPDATE: Carterbar, of Billingham, has taken over Hartlepool company Retirement

    Options; the move follows the purchase of similar companies in Sunderland,

    Tyneside and Durham over the past 12 months.

    Negative

? Stylo the owner of Barratts Shoes and Priceless Shoes have put both chains into

    administration; nationally around 5,400 jobs are under threat, Priceless are located

    within Wellington Square.

    General Indicators

? JSA figures for January 2009 show 5,537 claimants in Stockton, which represents

    4.6% of the working age population. An increase of 0.5% or 699 more claimants on

    December 2008. This is 1,829 more than a year ago, (Jan 2008, 3708 3.1%) but

    Stockton is still lower than the rest of Tees Valley which is 4.8%.

? There were 1208 new claims to JSA in January 2009, 979 of which were men. There

    was a 50% increase in new JSA claims in the North East between November 2008 to

    January 2009, Stockton showed an increase of 49%, compared to the volumes of

    new claims for the same period 2007/2008

? Total numbers of people on all benefits in Stockton (most up to date figures to Aug

    2008) is 20,020, an increase of 0.4% to 16.8% from Nov 2007, but compares with

    19,660 in Aug 2007, and 20,250 in Aug 2006.

? The number of Incapacity benefit claims has generally been steadily decreasing

    across the District since 2003, but Stockton showed a slight increase of 50 people,

    from May to August 2008. This may be partly attributable to the closing of Remploy

    in Summer 2008

? There were 528 job vacancies notified to the Jobcentre Plus offices in Stockton in

    January 2009 compared with 938 in January 2008. Local Employment Partnerships

    accounted for 229 of these vacancies, offering employment opportunities to priority

    group customers.

? There were 394 unfilled vacancies for January 2009, 138 were LEP vacancies. The

    vacancies unfilled include over 200 in financial services across Stockton, Billingham

    and Thornaby, over 80 in retail and, 63 in Construction.

? The Primrose Hill Industrial Estate currently has 100% occupancy within its industrial

    and training units and a 94% occupancy rate within its Business Centre.

     3 ? The current occupancy rate of the Stockton Business Centre is 75% - a reduction of

    2% from the February update. TJ‟s catering has moved into the vacant Café Unit and ndcommenced trading on the 2 February 2009.

? Company failures in the North East have increased by 98% in a year according to

    Deloitte. In 2008 there were 101 administrations compared to 51 in 2007.

? Experian report that there were 540 insolvencies in the region in 2008 a 61%

    increase on the previous year and a 77% rise in the last three months of the year on

    the same period in 2007.

? The NNDR collection rate is showing a small decrease, 95.54% up to January 2009

    compared with 97.10% at January 2008. Council Tax collection shows a slight

    increase, 93.46% in January 2009 compared to 93.28% in January 2008.

? All of the companies short listed for the Tees Valley Company of the Year award

    thannounced 17 February are from Stockton Borough they are, injection moulding

    specialists Nifco UK, Reflex Vehicles Solutions, and diagnostics company Tracerco.

    OTHER ECONOMIC INFORMATION

    Support for Business

? A number of Tees Valley companies are attending the North East Regional Business

    Fair to be held 25 26 February in Newcastle, this „Meet the Buyer‟ networking event

    will bring more than 150 national buyers to the region.

? The NECC is to hold a seminar on Banking 12th March 2009 to support local

    business. The seminar will cover to what extent recent policies have made a

    difference, and what further measures the NECC should call for on behalf of business.

? One North East have launched their „Real Help for Businesses Now‟ media campaign

    to highlight business success, and to signpost companies to the support on offer.

    One North East is working with the LSC, Jobcentre Plus, Business Link and

    Government Office for the North East to coordinate this and ensure a consistent

    message goes out from these key agencies.

? A dedicated logistics training centre has been launched based at Middlesbrough

    College, Logistics Academy North East (LANE) will provide a single point of support

    for employers in the freight, logistics and transport sectors.

? One North East has launched a ?2.4m grant scheme for large businesses entitled the

    Large Company Research and Development Grant.

? The Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS groups have both unveiled ?250m loan

    packages for North East SMEs as part of a wider ?3bn national package funded by

    the European Investment Bank.

? Business Link North East has assisted 545 businesses in the third quarter of 2008/09

    financial year, this demonstrates an upward trend with 472 assisted in Quarter 1 and

    426 in Quarter 2.

     4

    th? The Business Link „Weather the Storm Event‟ held 19 February at Wynyard was

    attended by in excess of 50 businesses.

    ? The recent announcement of the closure of the BMI daily flight to Heathrow is likely to

    have an impact on Stockton‟s and the Tees Valley‟s economy. As a result, a paper

    has been prepared by JSU for Tees Valley Unlimited for lobbying Transport Select

    Committee. A summary of that submission is attached as Appendix 2.

Support for People

    ? The LSC have contracted with CfBT Education Trust to deliver the Nextstep service

    in the North East. Nextstep is able to work in partnership with Businesses, Jobcentre

    Plus, Business and Enterprise North East and other agencies to provide support to

    people facing redundancy.

    ? Due to the revaluation of the Euro an additional ?6.9m of European Social Fund has

    become available which once matched becomes a total fund of ?13.7m. This will

    help implement the regional Employment & Skills Response Plan by providing

    support specifically for those facing redundancy and those who have already been

    made redundant ensuring that people have access to the support they need to

    develop the skills and help them find new employment in local labour markets.

HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT

    ? Funding for 14 additional affordable homes has been secured through the Homes

    and Communities National Affordable Housing Programme. Funding for 8 additional

    units for rent at College Gardens, Billingham and 6 additional units for rent at

    Hardwick Green, Stockton was secured.

    ? In February the Council‟s Housing Options service co-located with the Tristar Homes

    Allocations service to Stratford House in Stockton Town Centre. From here they will

    be able to deliver an enhanced housing options service that will incorporate the new

    Choice Based Lettings Scheme (from April 2009).

KEY STATISTICS

    The statistics below show key data from the Housing Service and compares them with

    previous data.

    Monthly Housing Benefit Workload Applications on the Council’s Housing Register (including transfers) December 2007 - 4,501 January 2008 - 7,271 November 2008 - 3,998 December 2008 - 5,909 December 2008 - 4,231 January 2009 - 9,307 January 2009 - 4,117 There has been a 28% increase in Housing Further data cleansing exercise has led to Benefit workload in January 2009 compared decreasing number on the register. Choice with January 2008. Benefit teams are based letting applications sent out however currently working overtime and taking on applicants have decided to remove themselves

    experienced agency staff to help clear benefit from the list rather than complete a new form.

    claims. Temporary staff are also being

    recruited to train in claims processing.

Number of households approaching

    the service on homeless grounds

     5

January 2008 - 48

    November 2008 - 93

    December 2008 - 75

    January 2009 106

Number of approaches to the Housing Number of housing options customers

    Options service seeking assistance with mortgage/rent

     arrears January 2008 - 186

    December 2008 - 153 January 2008 - 9 January 2009 - 272 November 2008 - 7

     December 2008 - 12 January is traditionally a busier month for January 2009 - 21 approaches however there was a 46% increase in January 2009 compared with

    January 2008. There has been some

    redistribution of workload to ensure frontline

    staff have additional capacity to deal with the

    increase in approaches.

Number of House Sales in the Average monthly House Prices in the

    borough (source: land registry) borough (source: land registry)

    September 2007 - 354 November 2007 - ?136,393 October 2007 - 401 December 2007 - ?136,434 September 2008 - 143 November 2008 - ?126,503 October 2008 - 176 December 2008 - ?122,645

    STOCKTON BOROUGH COUNCIL RESPONSES

    ? Additional support to encourage more enterprise in the Borough over the next three

    years is being funded from the Communities Fund and ERDF. The projects include

    encouraging an enterprise culture amongst young people, establishing Enterprise

    Gateways in the more disadvantaged areas and supporting small businesses to

    overcome barriers to growth. This forms part of a wider Tees Valley ERDF package

    of projects that has recently been announced in the press; however a formal approval

    letter for the ERDF has not yet been received from ONE but is expected imminently.

    ? An information bulletin detailing available support for business is being issued with all

    forthcoming Stockton Borough Council business rates bills.

    ? The “Busting the Credit Crunch”, event held at Stockton Parish Church saw Stockton

    Borough Council, Tristar Homes, Tees Credit Union and Stockton District Information

    and Advice Service give guidance to close to 100 residents.

    ? Stockton Renaissance held a „Credit Crunch‟ workshop as part of its February

    meeting for attendees to discuss the localised impacts of the economic downturn

    upon Housing Issues, Major Development Projects, the Third Sector and

    Communities across the Borough. Forthcoming risks were discussed alongside

    possible intervention measures, joint working and positive actions already underway.

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