This article originally appeared in the LGC
Post-Covid-19, local authorities must guard against merely following the economic development path taken after the global financial crisis. Then, as now, the bounceback was predicated on a stimulus programme in which national government sought a return to growth via its willingness to part investment in “shovel ready” hard infrastructure and regeneration projects. But whilst these shovel ready projects offer construction jobs over the very short term, over the longer term, jobs are dependent on subsequent investment.
Therein lies the rub: in a highly-probable global recession investment will be sluggish at best. With many of these projects predicated on commercial office or retail development, securing additional funds will be challenging, especially given ongoing social distancing measures, changing consumer behaviour and the normalisation of home working.