A COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Plan, setting out actions to tackle inequalities and improve opportunities for people across East Lothian as we seek to bounce back from the pandemic, has been agreed.
While society remains in the response phase of the ongoing public health emergency, the plan has been developed to refocus the county’s continued preparations for the longer term recovery and renewal phase, with a focus on ‘building back better’ and maximising opportunities for a sustainable and green recovery.
Aligned to the key themes of the East Lothian Plan 2017-27 and national policy outcomes, the plan will remain and be kept under review to reflect operational and local needs, as well as emerging national policy and guidance.
Speaking as the plan was agreed by councillors at a meeting today, Councillor Norman Hampshire, Depute Council Leader, said:
“The ongoing pandemic has had a profound and long-lasting impact on individuals, families and communities across East Lothian – exacerbating inequalities. COVID-19 continues to present major challenges to local people, as well as businesses and public organisations. While the risk to public health and its implications remain very real and present, it’s essential that we plan for better days ahead and ensure the recovery and renewal phase is an opportunity to push our vision of an even more prosperous, safe and sustainable East Lothian.
“I’m delighted that the council has approved the COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Plan 2021. It draws a number of important strands together, recognising the significance of the climate emergency, helping young people achieve their potential, boosting East Lothian’s economy and the need to achieve a sustainable future.
“The plan highlights that we must ensure a person-centred approach and embed a new world of work, reduced emissions and new behaviours into a green recovery. We need to address increased service demand delayed as a result of the pandemic, protect the health and wellbeing of our residents, focus support for our economy, young people’s education and safeguard those who are vulnerable or isolated.”
The plan sets out a number of priority areas:
- Support our communities to tackle inequality and social exclusion
- Climate and ecological emergency
- Support business, employment and promote inclusive economic growth
- Help children and young people achieve their full potential
- Deliver improved connectivity and digital innovation to ensure the most effective use of all of our resources
- Maintain and develop resilient and sustainable services
- Develop our people and future ways of working
- Invest in regeneration and a sustainable future
To support these areas a number of key actions will be progressed, including action to tackle inequality including implementation of the East Lothian Poverty Plan 2021-2023.
Achieving a reduced carbon footprint, along with improved connectivity and digital innovation, and increasingly resilient and sustainable services are other significant priorities.
The plan identifies support for business and employment, including use of the council’s business recovery investment fund, as an important facet.
Through work such as youth citizen initiatives, wellbeing support and targeted interventions, children and young people will be supported in achieving their potential.