The inaugural meeting of the Hounslow Recovery Programme Board, Chaired by Council Leader Steve Curran and attended, virtually, by Brentford FC Chief Executive Jon Varney, heard first how the Council and its partners had supported the borough through coronavirus over the past four months, before looking ahead to the next six. Independent research carried out by Oxford Economics forecasts Hounslow will be the second hardest hit London borough economically, with a possible 40 per cent decline in output. A major factor is its proximity to Heathrow Airport and strong links to the aviation industry.
Its initial findings include:
- 42,500 Hounslow residents are currently on furlough (37 per cent of workforce) – highest in London and fifth highest in UK, based on proportion of population
- 47.7 per cent of jobs in Hounslow are in severely impacted sectors, and 30.4 per cent of businesses in severely impacted sectors
- At least 11,000 residents are employed at Heathrow
- Up to 27,000 jobs are linked to Heathrow
- Job losses will likely impact lower skilled, lower paid, young and 50+ residents most
- BAME communities, particularly Asian, are overrepresented in sectors severely affected by coronavirus
- Pre-coronavirus employment levels not fully recovered until 2025
Council analysis shows:
- 65 per cent increase in Universal Credit claims from April to May (20,300 people to 33,900)
- The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in April exceeded 10,000 – a 52 per cent increase on the month before
The Recovery Board includes senior figures from Heathrow, health and community partners, educational establishments, Brentford FC, the Metropolitan Police, and major businesses and developers.
Cllr Curran said: “I’m immensely proud of how the Council, alongside health partners, local organisations, community groups, businesses and volunteers, led Hounslow through the coronavirus crisis. It’s been an inspiring joint effort; we’ve really seen the best of the borough.
“However, the borough now faces the toughest economic downturn in its history, with tens of thousands of jobs at risk. Only by continuing to work together can we effectively support and lead our communities through the tough months ahead, protecting jobs where we can and seizing new opportunities. This board embodies the spirit of collective focus and collaboration, of passion and enthusiasm for the people of Hounslow, that we need.”
Jon Varney said: “All at Brentford FC are very proud of our place within the borough. We represent our local community when we play and our Community Sports Trust works with residents every week, using sport to educate and inspire. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has hit everyone hard and the Recovery Programme Board is a great initiative to try and help the borough through the next stage.
“I did not have to think twice before agreeing to sit on the board and represent Brentford FC. I have seen some of the consequences of the outbreak and the forecasts of what could be coming. We at Brentford FC will do all we can to help the borough and its residents through the coming months and years. Collaboration and partnership are key values for us and it is by working together as a borough that we can get through this.”
Becky Coffin, Director of Communities at Heathrow, said: “The aviation sector is facing unprecedented challenges since the outbreak of coronavirus. At a time of crisis, it is critical that business comes together with local communities to co-ordinate our response and work collaboratively on recovery. As a big local employer, Heathrow is proud to be working with Hounslow Council to stimulate our local economy. Our community is filled with hard-working, skilled people, and by working together with our local partners, we have the best chance to drive a sustained recovery for Hounslow and West London.”
Tracy Aust, Principal at West Thames College, said: “In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we collaborate with our partners to plan, implement and execute a co-ordinated economic strategy that will support our students, our residents and our businesses as they recover from the pandemic. We have a real opportunity now to work together and I am confident that collectively we can respond positively to the challenges ahead and make a real difference.”
Dr Annabel Crowe, Chair of Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is extremely concerning to hear the economic forecasts for Hounslow. When the local economy suffers, the health of our residents suffers too. However, I am grateful to all the partners on the Recovery Board for coming together. This shows how seriously we all take the quality of life of our residents. NHS Hounslow is committed to developing a more coordinated system of health and care. By bringing together local partners we will help Hounslow to recover from coronavirus and in turn support our residents to live healthier, happier lives.”
Barbara Tilley, Chief Executive at Ealing and Hounslow Community Voluntary Service, said: “There are major challenges ahead on the road to recovery for Hounslow. However, the fantastic achievement since coronavirus of enabling meaningful partnerships between statutory services, local businesses, residents and voluntary services to collaborate together to work towards the same goal, is truly remarkable. Strengthening these partnerships will be essential to supporting communities over the coming months.”
Tom Pocock, Managing Director – Land and Planning at Berkeley St Edward, said: “London’s recovery from coronavirus presents a significant challenge to its communities, but we are confident that the London Borough of Hounslow can bounce back from this and remain a brilliant place to live, work and enjoy. We are demonstrating our confidence in the borough with the imminent planning submission of a masterplan for over 2,100 homes and over 138,000 sq ft of commercial space in the Great West Corridor Opportunity Area. This will provide significant investment in the Opportunity Area and kick-start regeneration. We are confident that working together with local partners, residents, businesses and communities, Hounslow can recover lost ground and come back stronger than ever.”
Nick Moore, Managing Director at Barratt London, said: “High Street Quarter is a hugely exciting project for us, in a shared vision with Hounslow Council and the wider stakeholder team. It brings forward 588 new homes of which 41 per cent will be affordable, along with 134,000 sq ft of commercial floor space including a 24-hour 10 screen multiplex cinema, along with a selection of restaurants, cafes and shops. Coronavirus has obviously had a huge impact on the sector, but what we have discovered is the importance of a strong local high street, and we are delighted to share that we are speaking to a number of exciting businesses and entrepreneurs who will help make this venture a success in the local area.”
The Hounslow Recovery Programme Board will coordinate how organisations from different sectors across the borough work together on a wide range of issues, such as jobs, training and learning opportunities; health and wellbeing; environment; community engagement and safety; investment, regeneration and housebuilding.
It is underpinned by Council boards covering economy, community, environment, and social and wellbeing, on which sit a variety of representatives from across the borough. Each is leading on a variety of research and practical projects to support residents, businesses and local organisations.
The membership of the Hounslow Recovery Programme Board includes:
- Councillor Steve Curran, Board Chair and Leader of the Council
- Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Vice-Chair and Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources
- Councillor Lily Bath, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing and Social Inclusion
- Niall Bolger, Chief Executive, Hounslow Council
- Jon Varney, Chief Executive, Brentford FC
- Tracy Aust, Principal, West Thames College
- Becky Coffin, Director of Communities, Heathrow
- Dr Annabel Crowe, Chair, Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group
- Victoria Eadie, Chair, Hounslow Education Partnership
- Diana Foxlee, Director of Property Service Group, Sky
- Chief Superintendent Peter Gardner, West Area Borough Commander, Metropolitan Police
- Sam Gurney, Regional Secretary, East and South East England, Trades Union Congress
- Neil Impiazzi, Partnership Development Director, SEGRO
- Nick Moore, Managing Director, Barratt London
- Tom Pocock, Managing Director – Land and Planning, Berkeley St Edward
- Barbara Tilley, Chief Executive, Ealing and Hounslow Community Voluntary Service