The cost of unemployment and worklessness to the Bristol city region is significant and is set to grow. Assuming, at a conservative estimate, the same proportion of claimants to population as at present, the number of claimants by 2050 will have risen to over 130,000 unless effective measures are taken now to address the issue.
It is estimated that the cost of worklessness to the city region at present is £255m. By 2026 this could rise to £420m and by 2050 it could reach a staggering £1bn.. This situation is clearly unsustainable and innovative plans and programmes need to be established now to reverse the trend and provide jobs, training and opportunities for people not in work, education or training. The business community has a critical role to play in this area but it also requires the support and commitment of central and local government to trial new schemes and listen to business requirements.
In any discussion with business in the city region someone will always mention transport and congestion as a major obstacle to growth. The volume of traffic on the roads in the West of England continues to grow at a rate above the national average. It has been estimated that at least £350m is lost to the economy each year as a result of congestion, a figure that is expected to rise to almost £600m by 2016. As well as the need for a more strategic body coordinating transport across the city region, there is a desperate requirement for investment in new infrastructure to support the growing needs of business and the economy.
- Support the development of improved skills and education programmes to reduce the costs of worklessness across the city region
- Support the future development and international accessibility/connectivity of the sub region through extending High Speed Rail to Bristol, supporting Port and Airport expansion and strategic road access together with the roll out of superfast broadband