Committee learns of progress on city’s socio-economic rescue plan

Members of Aberdeen City Council’s City Growth and Resources Committee were yesterday updated on the progress of the authority’s Socio-Economic Rescue Plan.

The 2020-21 Plan, which also includes an Aberdeen City Council Business Charter, is now in its implementation phase and was approved unanimously by the Council’s Urgent Business Committee in June this year in response to the impact of Covid-19.

The Committee members noted that four of the 75 actions in the Plan, which aligns with Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP) strategies for Economy, People, Place, have already been completed while 65 are currently on track for completion.

Members were also updated on three additional activities to support the delivery of the Plan:

  • Support to extend restaurant week beyond the business improvement district (BID) area;
  • Support with the development of an Aberdeen Gift Card, preloaded by purchasers with a value that can be redeemed in participating city shops, restaurants, cultural venues and attractions;
  • Support with the development of a Check-In System App, adapted specifically for Covid-19 Test and Protect to support the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector.

Committee Convener and Council Co Leader, Councillor Douglas Lumsden, said: “It is really heartening to hear that our Rescue Plan, unanimously agreed in June, is on track to help minimise the unique and extraordinary impacts of Covid-19.

“We have said all along that, by working together, we will get through this and the coordinated city-wide plan, aligned as it is to existing LOIP and putting partnerships with key organisations at the forefront, puts us in a great position to deliver on that.

“The additional interventions are welcome and imaginative initiatives which I believe will provide really positive outcomes for businesses currently facing challenging circumstances”.

While the longer- term implications of Covid-19 and oil price fluctuations on the city’s economy are not yet clear, the expectations are that Aberdeen faces an even more significant economic shock than previous downturns. It is anticipated that the impact on businesses, individuals, young people and vulnerable groups in the city will be considerable and the Rescue Plan has been devised specifically to address the issue. 

While the Plan focuses on immediate actions, there is an opportunity for it to inform the scheduled refresh of the LOIP in 2021. It is proposed that scrutiny and oversight of the implementation of the Plan is ultimately done through the Community Planning Aberdeen Board (CPA). 

CPA Outcome Improvement Groups provide an established structure to drive delivery and will take a lead. Delivery will, however, need input from wider stakeholders not currently represented within these groups. 

As the Plan progresses some actions may be reflected and ‘mainstreamed’ in the refreshed LOIP, the Regional Economic Strategy and the associated governance where appropriate. 

The Aberdeen City Council Business Charter, included in the plan and informed by feedback from a sample of businesses and other representative groups, aims to continue to make Aberdeen an attractive place to do business and sets ‘standards’ for responsible business and developing people and skills.