Staff and businesses affected by the closure of Northallerton Prison, and the closure of the Rural Payments Agency office, will be supported by a range of agencies and organisations, coordinated by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.
David Kerfoot, Deputy Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership and member of the Northallerton Prison Independent Monitoring Board for 27 years said:
I was shocked and saddened by the Governments announcement of the prison closure, but as someone with a foot in both the LEP and the prison camps I can assure all those affected that we will be doing everything we can to help. I’m commissioning a dedicated Task Force to pull out all the stops here.
The Enterprise Partnership brings together the public and private sectors to drive economic growth, but it also has a key role to play in coordinating the response to economic shocks such as this.
The team at the LEP have long identified Northallerton as being at risk due to the above average reliance on public sector jobs, but this is a major shock with several hundred public sector job losses announced in such a short period. However, the team tell me that employment in the private sector is going some way to taking up the slack, as overall employment in North Yorkshire has risen 13,000 in the past year. So it’s not all doom and gloom.
We are benefitting from moves such as the relocation of R&R Ice Cream’s Leeds plant to Leeming Bar and the team regularly hear from other employers looking to move to, or expand in, the area. Whilst it’s clearly bad news for those affected, the picture is not as bleak as it might have been in the teeth of the recession.
Training will be available for those looking to develop new skills, or move into self employment. A job matching process will be established for those looking for new employment. The Enterprise Partnership will continue to shape the economic fortunes of the area, a role it will be able to play more effectively following the Governments plans to devolve responsibility for the allocation of EU funding in the area to the LEP.