A RECOVERY plan to support Newport’s economic stability and look to new opportunities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has received a mixed reception.

The city council’s staged strategy agreed by the cabinet this week focusses on economic recovery in the short term, followed by a ‘repositioning’ of the city to look at new opportunities.

Supporting the city’s businesses is key to the recovery stage, followed by attracting investment and repositioning Newport in “a new world where we are able to rebalance the economy, the environment and society”, the strategy says.


Regeneration work is also “at the heart” of the plan to encourage investment, support business growth and reduce inequality.

“We started this year with great optimism as Newport had clearly become a more competitive city with some fantastic businesses and poised to become a pivotal part of the digital revolution,” said Cllr Jane Mudd, leader of the council.

“The pandemic and the lockdown have had a devastating impact which has required significant financial intervention from government.

“In Newport, the council has distributed more than £46 million in business-related support but we now need to take urgent steps to ensure the economy can recover and businesses can not only survive but continue to grow.

“Alongside the challenges that rebuilding the economy presents, there will also be opportunities and these must not be missed so we can ensure Newport reaps the benefits for businesses, employees, the local economy and the environment.”

In the medium term, the focus will be on promoting the city as well as helping further and higher education providers to expand.

The longer term aim is to provide “greater economic resilience” and improved wellbeing for residents.

Cllr Matthew Evans, leader of the council’s Conservative group, said the financial support the council has provided to businesses was “extremely welcome news”.

“But the report itself, while well-intentioned, lacks specific detail and as we all know the devil is in the detail,” he said.

“It’s far too woolly, and where there are new opportunities we need to identify those.

“If we do not hit the ground running we will be left behind because it is going to be extremely competitive out there.”