The North Norfolk economy has traditionally been based upon employment in the agricultural, manufacturing, tourism, care and local service provision sectors – largely in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Whilst the District has high levels of employment amongst people of working age, local wages and incomes fall behind England and East of England averages.
In recent years businesses in the tourism sector, particularly, have invested in the quality of the accommodation and visitor offer. This has reduced the level of seasonality of employment through the development of short-breaks and niche products based on the District’s high quality natural environment and independent accommodation and retail offer.
However, there are challenges in the wider economy through the limited availability of serviced sites and premises and access to fast broadband and mobile coverage and in some areas utility provision, all of which hold back investment in other sectors. This includes homeworking and new business start-ups in emerging sectors of the economy, such as the digital and creative sectors, which are seen as opportunities for the District given the quality of our environment, diverse housing stock, lack of congestion and high quality of life.
In common with many other areas, the District’s towns also face challenges in adapting to the changing trends of the retail and financial services sectors and the impact this is having on local “high” streets.
The Council is ambitious in wanting to support a strong local economy and new job-creating investment which strengthens and broadens the business base and employment opportunities in the District. The District has strengths in the Agri-Food / Agri-Tech and Clean Energy sectors and wants to promote the future success of businesses operating in these sectors in alignment with the priorities identified by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and emerging Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy. The Council remains concerned that many of the impacts of offshore wind energy developments will be felt by the District, with few, if any, direct benefits being seen by the local community. The Council would therefore hope that regional partners will recognise the specific issues faced by our economy particularly with respect to the challenges of providing serviced sites, broadband and mobile coverage.
The Council is committed to working alongside partners in the education and business sectors in promoting inclusive growth which seeks to match the skills of the local workforce with the needs of local businesses.