Locate in Kent at heart of county’s ‘minor economic miracle’


Locate in Kent at heart of county’s ‘minor economic miracle’Locate in Kent at heart of county’s ‘minor economic miracle’

Kent and Medway are enjoying a minor economic miracle thanks to the work of organisations such as Locate in Kent, according to Kent County Council Leader, Paul Carter.

Speaking at Locate in Kent’s Spring Networking Event at the London Golf Club, West Kingsdown, Mr Carter said the growth being seen in the county’s economy was as a result of partnerships such as KCC, Locate in Kent and the business community, which were ensuring new businesses and jobs were being attracted to Kent.

He also praised the work of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership under the leadership of Geoff Miles.

“There are more than just green shoots to Kent’s economy,” he said. “There is real traction and an optimism that the future looks much brighter, and the figures to back that optimism up.

“Employment in Kent for the 12 months to the end of December increased by 1.4 per cent. Nationally it was 0.8 per cent and regionally 0.7 per cent.

“To a degree, there has been a minor economic miracle in Kent given the substantive job losses in the public sector and the continuing reluctance of the banks to lend to SMEs. Despite those considerable barriers, we are seeing growth.”

That optimism and growth were reflected in Locate in Kent’s success in the year to the end of March, according to the agency’s Chairman, Warwick Morris.

“As a direct result of help we gave to companies, nearly 2,800 quality jobs were either newly created or safeguarded by some 56 companies at a cost of less than £2,500 a job,” he said.

“These companies came from a wide range of sectors, but the top three were ICT, life sciences and business services, all high quality sectors. Seventeen of the 56 were from overseas, including seven from the US and five from Italy.”

Warwick also paid tribute to the work of Chief Executive Paul Wookey and the Locate in Kent team for establishing a significant and growing pipeline of enquiries and activities.

However, he warned that the supply of good quality commercial accommodation was running out in some parts of the county.

He said: “The lack of speculative commercial property development in most of the county over the last few years, alongside the conversion of popular commercial property to residential use, risks hindering our ability to get investment interest converted into reality.”

He went on: “Having a close relationship with Kent County Council which attaches such importance to inward investment and jobs is great, but it is clear that Locate in Kent will have to be more resolute and imaginative in the coming years in obtaining additional financial support from the private sector and elsewhere.

“This will be an additional challenge as cost-cutting by Government at all levels continues.”

To find out how Locate in Kent can help you grow or set up in Kent, visit wwwlocateinkent.com.

Top photo: Flying high: Paul Wookey, Chief Executive (left) and Warwick Morris, Chairman, hosted Locate in Kent’s Spring Networking Event at the London Golf Club

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