A report released by Harrogate Borough Council has shown that the local economy is showing strong signs of recovery.
The ‘Economic Overview of the Harrogate District’ examined the period between 1st October and 31st December, 2013 and found:
- Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimant rate for this period over the last year has reduced from 1.5% to 1%, and is now below pre-recession levels (July 2008). It remains the lowest rate of any North Yorkshire district and below the county average of 1.8%
- The number of JSA claimants aged between 18-24 years of age has fallen by 46% year on year. 18-24 year olds make up 14.1% of the district’s total claimant count, significantly below the overall county proportion of 23%.
- The Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax bill, has reduced annually by 3.6% (9,137 (Q3, 2012) / 8,808 (Q3, 2013), while Housing Benefit claims have fallen by 2.7% (7,477 (Q3, 2012) / 7,276 (Q3, 2013).
- 1-to-1 business advisor appointments for people seeking advice on starting or growing a business increased by 22% annually.
Councillor Alan Skidmore, Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Economic Development welcomed the findings of the report.
Councillor Alan Skidmore said: The council’s recent economic overview report has revealed a generally positive picture of the district with increasing signs of economic growth.
There is a continued decrease in benefit claims, especially amongst young people. The council’s free business advice service continues to grow in popularity. People who are thinking about starting a business, and those already trading, are both taking advantage of the help on offer. It is also heartening to learn of the recent upturn in commercial planning enquiries and planning applications This is a clear indication that more and more people are feeling that the economic picture is rosy enough for them to feel confident about establishing a business presence within the Harrogate district.
In addition tourism is also increasing with visitors to Harrogate’s Tourist Information Centres (TIC) and the council’s museums growing year-on-year. With the Tour de France only a matter of months away, we will undoubtedly see a further boost to visitors to the region.