Strategy to tackle ‘significant challenges’ to Harrogate’s economy a step closer

Coun Graham Swift.
Coun Graham Swift.

A strategy that aims to address the “significant challenges” facing the economy in Harrogate over the next 18 years has been recommended for approval by senior council members.

The Economic Growth Strategy for the Harrogate District (2017-35) identifies six themes and four key employment sectors which it is hoped can be drawn on to boost the number of better paid jobs in the area.

On Wednesday, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet members approved the strategy and recommended that other councillors agree to sign it off at the next full meeting.

The six areas that council members want to see thrive are: land and buildings, skills, business support, digital and telecommunications, transport, and branding and promotion.

And the authority aims to work with organisations to achieve its goals by concentrating on the sectors, particularly in the private sphere, where it feels the district has an advantage –creative and digital, financial and professional services, scientific research and development, and logistics.

Coun Graham Swift, Cabinet Member for Resources, Economic Development and Enterprise, said that the district already has “a lot to be proud of”, citing its “vibrant” visitor economy, its position as “one of the country’s leading conference locations”, and the more than 2,500 jobs achieved through rural business.

But he added that “there are significant challenges to address before we can build a truly sustainable economy that works for everyone”.

He said: “There are currently barriers in place preventing the growth of higher paid jobs either due to specific skills gaps or where transport, office accommodation and digital infrastructure is preventing business growth.”