At one level Winchester is a prosperous city with a low level of unemployment. In 2011, unemployment in the UK was 4.4% and in Winchester it was 2.3%. In October 2017, the figures were similar: in the UK 4.3% and in Winchester 2.5%. It could therefore be argued that there is no great need at present to generate development to create more employment.
However, if employment in the public sector were to contract, this would have an adverse impact on the economy of the City.
The Trust believes that while there may not be a compelling case to attract new jobs, there is a need, in the interest of the wider planning context, to generate employment policies that create high quality better paid jobs that offer the opportunity for people to both live and work in the City.
References to the economy in parts 1 and 2 of the current Winchester District Local Plan support this approach. They identify the employment sectors for Winchester that are important and should be encouraged: education from primary to university level, creative and media industries, the professions and knowledge-based activities. All these the Trust supports as being important for Winchester.
The future of the retail sector, both nationally and locally, is difficult to predict. A significant decline in the number of shops would have a significant impact on the character of the town centre. One asset that Winchester has in abundance is its heritage. The contribution that this can make to the local economy needs to be nurtured and developed.
The Trust believes that new thinking should be given to the future of the retail economy and the opportunity to develop the economic potential of heritage-related activity.