Latest update from Council Leader
Posted on 16 Jul 2020
It’s good to see continued progress in tackling the virus and I am sure most people will be pleased that we have entered phase three of the route map.
There remains no room for complacency, however. The virus is still here, even if the rate of infection is lower, and we must not forget that other countries have experienced second spikes. It’s important that we continue to follow the government guidance, even when it can be more challenging like making the wearing face coverings mandatory in shops and public transport.
Many of the things that we previously took for granted will return this week with the reopening of more shops, restaurants and pubs. This presents an opportunity for us to support our local businesses and help them get back on their feet.
North Ayrshire’s economy is a fragile one, susceptible to big shocks and the pandemic has rocked many local businesses.
We recently launched our Community Wealth Building strategy which aims to use the public pound in North Ayrshire to support local businesses and create new democratic models of ownership, including worker co-operatives, to create good, well paid jobs.
The need for local people to spend locally is an essential pillar of that strategy and we are supporting that need in the coming weeks by urging people to ‘Keep it Local’.
But we are not just reopening for our own local residents, our tourism and hospitality sectors will be pleased to welcome people to our beautiful coastal area to spend their money in North Ayrshire. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and support countless families - they need our support at this time.
Local services continue to reopen too, even if some will take longer to reopen as resources, particularly our staffing resource, is prioritised towards supporting our residents such as childcare for key workers throughout the summer holidays.
Covid-19 has been an unprecedented challenge for the Council. We have been dealing with a situation that no one has dealt with before and even the best civil contingency plans could not prepare for every situation that has presented over the last few months. It has often felt that there has been something new to deal with every day. But overall, Council staff have done an amazing job supporting communities, it has been a massive effort and the health and wellbeing of our communities has been at the heart of every decision we’ve taken and will continue to be over the coming weeks and months.
We are well on our way on the journey to recovery but what is more important is ‘renewal’. I can’t be clearer, that we don’t want to recover to the old normal, we want to create something better. Our process of renewal will involve our communities, giving residents a say in the new priorities for North Ayrshire post-Covid. That’s why I created a new Cabinet post for Participatory Democracy and Councillor McPhater will be focused on ensuring local people are at the heart of building a new relationship with the Council and communities, that helps build a better North Ayrshire.