The results of a far-reaching survey launched this week will be the catalyst for plans to spearhead a business resurgence in North Wales.
Delivered by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board’s Programme Office – on behalf of the six local authorities – the study focuses on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has affected regional businesses and their industries, with a view to understanding what needs to be done to spark and support a revival when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The data will help to inform the councils, and the region, of the emerging situation and guide planning already underway to kick-start and renew the economy in the short and medium term.
It will also feed into the long-term Growth Vision and long-term strategy to improve infrastructure, create jobs, and generate investment when companies need it most.
The North Wales Growth Deal is a key part of that Vision, and Programme Director Alwen Williams is encouraging people in all sectors to take the survey and make a difference for those businesses affected by Coronavirus, and future generations.
Representatives working on behalf of the local authorities will also be picking up the phone to owners and managers to capture their responses and use them to shape proposals and priorities.
“The evidence gathered will be pivotal in helping us to fully understand the most pressing issues facing all sectors in North Wales, and the best ways to move forward,” said Alwen.
“Then we will know where we are, what the priority areas are, what needs to be done, and how we can help these companies to navigate their way through this.
“There are many challenges and the first we need to overcome is finding out exactly what we are up against, which areas are in the most urgent need of support – hospitality and tourism, for example – and what can realistically be achieved in the short term to generate renewed optimism.”
The Programme Office will be looking to discover the effect across different counties and sectors, the size of businesses and with what force they were hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
There will also be examples of best practice and positive outcomes as some firms were able to adapt to the situation and use their machinery and technology to manufacture PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), hand sanitiser or medical products.
However, the picture has been largely bleak, with firms encountering a wide range of issues, namely loss of revenue and staff, reduced productivity and sales, a disruption to the health and wellbeing of employees and temporary closure.
“This isn’t a box ticking exercise, the information and insight from businesses will form the understanding we have and help to shape the way forward. We would welcome the opportunity to maintain communication with those surveyed so we can see if progress is being made, and if not, how we can build momentum.
“We urge people to please take part, have your say and provide as much information as possible so we have a detailed report on what happens next. Every person who answers the questions will have played their part in helping to get the region back on its feet.”