Ten ideas for local authorities to help re-build economies after COVID-19

Author ARUP

Drawing on learnings from past crises, in this resource ARUP outlines ten ideas that local authorities could take into account when forming recovery and transformation plans, in order to re-build local economies post-pandemic. With a focus on locally-tailored solutions, the ten suggestions are clustered into immediate, medium, and longer-term actions.

Date added 12 October 2021
Last updated 12 October 2021

In this resource, ARUP outlines ten ideas that local authorities could take into account when forming recovery and transformation plans, in order to re-build local economies post-pandemic. With a focus on locally-tailored solutions, they are clustered into immediate, medium, and longer-term actions, as summarised below.

Immediate action

1. Use the crisis to trial new things - new technologies and ways of delivering services to businesses and local communities could be experimented with during this time of disruption, to trial and test which could be made more permanent fixtures going forwards.

2. Gather innovative ideas for solving problems - harness the power of business and the local community to generate novel ideas for solving pandemic-related problems, as seen in the use of ‘online hackathons’ during the pandemic, to share innovative ideas.

3. Support and upskill workers - given the rise in unemployment and furloughing during the pandemic, skills, training, and entrepreneurial support should be provided to prepare for future recovery and jobs. Collaborate with local education and training providers.

4. Prepare for funding calls - work on developing strategic business cases for potential government funding initiatives, demonstrating project impacts on local and wider regional economies.

Leading recovery

5. Establish a recovery task force - coordination across stakeholders and sectors can help to put in plans for economic recovery, to attract investment, and support businesses.

6. Get people back into town - more sustainable and active transport can be encouraged and designed for in town centres to get people back using them, such as free bike shares, pedestrian zones, and electric charging points.

7. Reimagine the high street - repurposing vacant space, temporary activity, and 'meanwhile uses’ can help high streets to recover through building community resilience and social connections, developing a sense of place, and attracting investment.

Longer-term planning

8. Re-think economic growth - develop any future strategies with inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability at the forefront. It is important to think about inclusive economic growth beyond the pandemic.

9. Bridge the digital divide - the pandemic has further revealed inequalities around digital infrastructure and skills. Future strategies should take into account digital investment and inclusion to bridge this gap.

10. Revisit your priorities – ensure that learnings from this pandemic are taken on board when devising future strategies, to build resilience to future pandemics and crises.