Decision details

Employment and Skills Plans - Annual Report & Economic Recovery Proposal

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report on progress that had been made by Reading UK with the implementation of planning policies concerned with promoting Employment and Skills Plans (ESP). The report also highlighted Reading UK’s proposals for delivery over the next two years to specifically address the challenges facing the town and support the economic recovery of the town, in line with the Powered by People Strategy that had been adopted by the Council at the meeting of Policy Committee on 28 September 2020.

The report explained that the Council had adopted the requirement for Employment and Skills Plans (ESP) under a 2013 Supplementary Planning Document that had sought to implement adopted Core Strategy Policies CS9: Infrastructure, Services, Resources and Amenities, and CS13: Impact of Employment Development to improve the work and training opportunities of local people. An ESP requirement was attached to any new development or any regeneration or extension Programme where more than 1,000 square metres of new non-residential floor space or ten dwellings were being created, or where the cost exceeded £1million.

The report stated that Reading UK was the main agent for implementing the policy.  The process enabled the developer to choose to either enter into a delivery plan, through Reading UK and work with local partners, or to pay a financial contribution towards the delivery of training and employment Programmes. The financial contribution was based on a simple percentage of the anticipated construction costs and would be confirmed by a Section 106 legal agreement which was entered into by the developer before planning permission was granted.  To date (November 2020), 32 developers had chosen to pay financial contributions ranging from £1,600 to £178,000 and a total of 54 plans had either been delivered or were in the process of being delivered.  There were a range of partners supporting this work.

The Programmes that had been delivered from July 2019 to June 2020 were set out in Appendix A to the report: these had been supported by Section 106 cash contributions. It was noted that most of these Programmes had provided outcomes benefiting local people and the economy. 

The report went on to explain the Programmes that would be delivered within the framework of Reading’s adopted Economic Recovery Strategy Framework, “Powered by People”, which was prepared by Reading UK, working with key stakeholders, and had been adopted by the Council at the meeting of Policy Committee on 28 September 2020. The Strategy provided a short term and medium-term response to ensure that every part of the community would benefit from support, both during and beyond the pandemic. 

The post lockdown employment impacts on Reading following Covid-19 (October 2020) were set out in Appendix B to the report, Appendix C provided details of the Programmes to be delivered between 2020/21 and 2021/22 continuing the work to support local people into self-employment, develop sector skills and find good quality work. The total package of delivering the Programme over the next two years was £385k: comprising around £249,500 to Reading UK CIC and around £135k to New Directions. 

Attached at Appendix D was a table setting out the Section 106 contributions by development.

The Committee welcomed the ongoing work by Reading UK CIC and New Directions in the delivery of the projects to date and its ongoing work in delivering future projects which would benefit local people and the economy.

Resolved -

(1)     That the report be noted and the delivery of the employment and skills outcomes by Reading UK, as enabled by Section 106 Employment and Skills Plans, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be welcomed;

(2)     That the following be agreed:

(a)   The proposed action plan, specifically tailored to the needs of the local economy following the financial impact of Covid 19 on residents and small businesses, as set out at Appendix C;

(b)   The Council’s commitment to close partnership working to support Reading UK and its partners to manage and deliver this Programme to ensure the sustainable economic recovery of Reading;

(c)   The allocation of £385k of Section 106 developer contributions comprising around £249,500 to Reading UK CIC and around £135k to New Directions to support the delivery of the action plan.


Publication date: 29/03/2021

Date of decision: 18/11/2020

Decided at meeting: 18/11/2020 - Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee

Accompanying Documents: