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For the next four years we will

  • Support training providers and employers to increase the number of traineeships and apprenticeships for young people and for people to upskill to reflect changes in employment opportunities
  • Work with at risk sectors to widen skills and support business development
  • Develop the Skills Hub to promote information and support around careers, employability, upskilling and reskilling
  • Promote Devon nationally and internationally to attract new inward investment
  • Secure investment in transport infrastructure to stimulate economic growth, improve accessibility, increase travel choices and improve road safety.
  • Maintain and, where necessary, improve our highway network and improve sustainable transport options to help generate and sustain economic growth, improve air quality and provide better places for people to live
  • Deliver £500 million Council capital investment programme over five years
  • Ensure financial resilience of the Council in the face of growing demand, tightening funding and an increasingly complex and unpredictable financial environment

Are you in?

We want to hear your thoughts on how we can work together to make Devon the best place to grow up, live well and prosper

Devon’s economic recovery

Supporting the county’s hardest-hit sectors is paramount if Devon’s economy is to recover successfully. This includes tourism, retail, construction, agriculture and food and drink, which provide significant employment across the county and underpin the economy of many local communities.

We are similarly determined to ensure that no individual is left behind, with a clear focus on supporting the county’s young people to learn and work; assist employees who have lost their job or wish to do more to find a new opportunity; and support businesses to retain staff, apprentices and suppliers.

There is an opportunity to build on Devon’s dynamic and entrepreneurial culture, coupled with the county’s world-class environment, global expertise in climate science and green technologies, and a talented workforce, to create a stronger, more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Why is this a priority?

The economy of Devon is diverse, with health, retail and tourism accounting for 43.1% of employment. Agriculture, education, manufacturing, construction and real estate employment are also over-represented in Devon compared with nationally.

Devon has proportionately fewer working age people compared to England, particularly in those aged 16 to 49 years. Employment rates are high, but wages are low and many jobs are part time. Devon has one of the highest incidences of self-employment in the country at 15.8%.

Averages mask some important differences between districts. Exeter has grown relatively quickly in recent years, with a good skills base and the highest workplace earnings. East Devon has seen earnings drop considerably over the past few years, following sharp rises previously.

Performance in the other five districts is more mixed, and notably poorer in the north of the county. Torridge and North Devon are among the most deprived districts and this correlates with other indicators such as wages, education levels and social mobility.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Devon’s economy?

  • The pandemic has caused an economic decline not witnessed in the UK since the 1930s. Prior to the start of the pandemic, the economy appeared to be slowing down and the claimant count was rising in Devon. However, the impact of successive lockdowns and restrictions on businesses that started in March 2020 has caused a decline in output of around 11-12% in 2020, with a further decline of 3% expected in 2021.
  • Sectors that are traditionally important to the Devon economy, such as retail and hospitality, have been hit significantly, while others such as manufacturing and construction appear to be holding up. Economic modelling suggests a long-drawn-out recovery in much of Devon, especially in Mid and West Devon, with only Exeter and Plymouth performing better.
  • The pandemic has further stretched local government finances as well as revealing the deeper roots of the funding crisis in local government
Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills

“The Council will support the economic recovery of the places, enterprises and individuals hardest hit by the pandemic. There are opportunities for the Council and Team Devon to build back better, to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economy.

“The keys to success include supporting businesses to become more resilient and improve their digital skills, targeting key sectors such as tourism, retail and health and care, helping hospitality businesses to improve the skills of their workforce, supporting farmers to diversify, improving skills and training, stimulating new business start-ups and supporting individuals with redeployment and employment support.”