We are continuing to respond to the ongoing economic effects of COVID-19 in the short term. In the longer term, the response to the climate and ecological emergency will also influence the council’s decisions and actions for the foreseeable future.

COVID-19 Respond, Recover, Reset

The immediate economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis are becoming clearer.

The shutdown of the tourism and leisure sector in spring 2020, and the impact upon aviation and marine sectors is likely to affect Dorset significantly in the short term, however it is not likely to be one of the worst affected areas of the UK in the longer term, as Dorset usually has high levels of employment, a relatively balanced economy, and has proven resilient in recent recessions.

There will however be some sectors, areas, and elements of the community that are hit harder than others - tourism and aviation/marine engineering are of concern in the medium term.

Towns, particularly coastal towns, are likely to suffer more than other parts of Dorset.

Younger people and BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) are likely to suffer more from the longer-term economic scarring effects than older people.

Tomorrow's reality

It is too early to tell how places and sectors will change in the medium and longer term as a result of COVID-19.

For example, the recent trends for businesses to relocate to regenerated urban cores, city centre apartment living, and increased use of public transport have all been stopped in their tracks. It is not clear whether these are temporary pauses or longer-term changes in behaviour. The strategy will be reviewed frequently to check it is relevant to tomorrow’s reality and enables a reset situation more sustainable and inclusive than before the pandemic.

Local Resilience Forum

COVID-19 recovery is being coordinated by the Local Resilience Forum and includes a Dorset Council-led working group focussed on the economy. While the local economic policy framework is fit for purpose in the longer term, there are a series of tactical and operation actions to help Dorset residents and businesses minimise the negative effects of COVID-19:

COVID-19 recovery steps

Phase Objectives Timeline Actions Council lead


Health first – save lives, minimise longer term economic damage

March-June 2020

Informing government of local need

Providing advice and information to local businesses and third sector organisations

Administering business rates rebates/rebilling

Administering government grants to local business and organisations

Monitor unemployment numbers and respond as appropriate to general increase or significant business redundancies

Economic Growth Comms


Revenues and Benefits


Restart the economy

May-December 2020

Preparing “oven ready” capital projects for government funding

Providing advice and information on how to safely reopen businesses: Government guidelines (e.g. Covid Safe), regulatory advice, industry standards (e.g. Good to Go)

Working with Towns and Business Improvement Districts to safely reopen High Streets and Town Centres

Economic Growth, Transport


Economic Growth, highways, transport


Help shape a stronger, greener more inclusive economy

August 2020 – Ongoing

Implement and update Council strategic plans for sustainable, inclusive, clean economic growth, through improved digital and transport infrastructure, an upskilled workforce, enhanced business offer, support for innovation

Economic Growth

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