By Ian Mean
Business West Gloucestershire director and vice chair, GFirstLEP
A few years ago I was involved in the Gloucestershire 2050 project when perhaps the key concern exposed was the haemorrhaging of talented young people from the county.
And as our companies are now facing an unprecedented recruitment crisis here there is an added challenge to retaining our young people.
That challenge revolves around homes to own and rent for young people.
Gloucestershire is not an inexpensive place to live at the best of times, of course.
So, I believe this is the right time for our councils-with government support-to help business prosper and help to prevent more of our young people leaving.
Our councils must be helped and encouraged to build more council homes to help young people setting out on their careers.
In a relatively small way, Stroud District Council have the right idea and I congratulate them for it.
Since 2015, the council have have delivered 239 homes in their new homes programme with a plan to build 51 more over the next three years.
As well as building their own homes, Stroud are also working with housing associations and community land trusts to enable new affordable homes.
Many of their homes are for rent or made available for local residents.
I was staggered to learn last week that renting in the UK has now grown to 32% with mortgage payers down to 22%.
Hats off to Stroud. They are the only local authority in Gloucestershire which still owns and manages council homes.
Some years ago- as an editor- when I was considering a campaign for more
affordable homes for young people I went to a Stroud council meeting when the issue was being discussed.
Unbeknown to me, Renishaw’s boss Sir David McMurtry was at that same meeting .
Like me, he was concerned how his young people could be helped into homes locally.
Caring businesses like Renishaw know that affordable homes-to rent and buy-are vital to encourage young employees to stay in Gloucestershire.
Government must realise that business needs them to support councils like Stroud who are trying hard to make staying in Gloucestershire much easier.