Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has outlined an ambitious framework aimed at helping the local economy to quickly recover and forge a path to future inclusive growth.
The ABC Recovery and Growth Framework – launched at an online event today (Wednesday) – focused on how the council can create the right social and economic conditions to help the borough recover from the pandemic, and drive sustainable long-term growth for the region.
It sets out a series of aims which will meet the immediate needs of companies within the borough, such as boosting tourism and footfall in towns, and delivering support to business of all sizes, as well as longer-term interventions which will boost efficiency and competitiveness.
The Framework emphasises the regional focus on driving economic investment for Northern Ireland around key sectors such as; agri-food, health and life sciences and advanced manufacturing, where the borough already excels and which, with support to improve skills, connectivity, and productivity, can become global exemplars.
It addresses the need for a specific focus on the case for investment in sustainable roads and rail infrastructure, for urban regeneration and rural development; for education and training to upskill the talent pool; for support of technological developments including Industry 4.0 and investment in manufacturing research & development; and a commitment to driving regional competitiveness through the development of a start-up and innovative business ecosystem.
Targeted actions like these feed into council’s overriding focus to accelerate the borough’s recovery and set it on a path of renewed inclusive growth and prosperity, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Kevin Savage said:
“Council has been working hard with key partners to help support our borough throughout the pandemic and we will continue to do so in the future. We are here to help our businesses and our community, and are firmly committed to both.
“We have articulated clearly in our Recovery and Growth Framework our ambitions and commitment to the recovery and development of the council area. A range of business stakeholders and government representatives have shaped the evidence and informed the actions which will support our businesses, traders, urban and rural communities.
“Our Framework clearly outlines our intent for the year ahead and our commitment to actions which will help lay new foundations to ensure all our people and places have a solid plan on which to build our future together and to ensure inclusive growth for everyone who calls Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon home.”
Councillor Brian Pope, Chair of the council’s Economic Development and Regeneration Committee said:
“Today’s session has highlighted how we as a council will ensure growth and recovery is inclusive of all our citizens. We are here to create the right conditions to bring that future into focus for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon as soon as possible.”
“While we are aware of the challenges we face in the short term; we are excited about the possibilities for this borough in the years ahead. I would like to acknowledge all who have contributed to the development of this action plan; together we will recover and together we will create success with a sense of optimism.”
The ABC Recovery and Growth Framework was commissioned by council and researched and developed by KPMG. It can be viewed at: www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/recoveryandgrowth.
Guests at the virtual launch event heard from Roger Wilson, Chief Executive of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Ashleen Feeney, Partner at KPMG in Northern Ireland, Trevor Lockhart, Group Chief Executive of Fane Valley and Adrian Farrell, Chair of the Business Partnership Alliance.