Hampshire's 'in business' for growth and investment
Friday, 30 November 2012
One thousand young people are to be given their first steps on the career ladder at Hampshire County Council in the biggest investment in youth employment ever made by the Council.
The plan to employ one thousand 16 to 25 year-olds as apprentices over the next five years will support more young people to develop the skills and experience needed to set them on a path to successful careers. In addition, a new scholarship scheme would enable up to 50 young people from families with limited financial means to have a chance to progress to university.
Tackling youth unemployment is part of a multi-million pound package of investment in infrastructure and jobs that was outlined by the Leader of the County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, at today's County Council meeting.
Further details and costs will be developed as part of the County Council's budget for 2013/14 that will be drafted over the next few weeks for decisions in February.
Other proposals outlined by the Leader were:
- A 'substantial sum' to build a state-of-the-art district energy network for parts of Winchester that would reduce carbon emissions and save money on energy for major organisations in the city and help guarantee Hampshire's future supply of energy. Producing both heating and electricity, it's expected to be a model that could be used elsewhere in the county.
- A 'very substantial' financial contribution to superfast broadband to install speeds of 24 megabits in 90 per cent of Hampshire and at least 2 megabits in the 10 per cent of the county that is hard to reach, by 2015.
- Up to £2m to renovate and restore to its former glory, one of Hampshire's most significant waterways, the Basingstoke Canal. Local tourism will be given a boost by improving the opportunities for boating, canoeing, walking, cycling and angling.
- A heritage support package that includes £1m over two years towards the £19m appeal fund for Hampshire's greatest, world-class tourist and religious facility, Winchester Cathedral. It will support the education centre attended by 10,000 children from Hampshire and 15,000 out of county children each year and help secure the facility for future generations.
- Further investment to improve the quality of life in Hampshire's small towns and villages through the concept of 'Shared Spaces' to reduce the impact of vehicles, as well as increased funding to help community halls in the work they do.
- Stimulating Hampshire's economic development, property market and employment through the strategic management of land. This includes joint ownership of Manydown where, in partnership with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the County Council would jointly promote the land over the next 15 years to ensure development is the most sustainable and of the highest quality.
The Leader has also had talks with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, about the Bordon and Whitehill area after the MoD transfers its functions and the potential for new jobs, new housing and commercial and trading opportunities that would exist if the much needed infrastructure can be provided.
Councillor Thornber said afterwards that the Council was in a position to consider these investments in economic growth due to the Council's successful approach to tackling the tough financial climate and cuts in central government funding.
"Our cost reduction programme, with early action taken to make savings by restructuring the Council and modernising and sharing services to protect front-line resources, has put Hampshire in a strong position to lay the ground for future investment.
"Having achieved £100m savings over two years, our focus now is on growth and improvement, while continuing to deliver quality services at lowest cost to the taxpayer. Hampshire really is in business" he said.