3 phases of the Kent Recovery Plan

Emergency: The Government has stepped in with significant support for many employees and businesses, but there is an impending sector crisis locally which would have national impact. Kent is the Garden of England, its fruit and salads help to feed the country. But fruit picking and preparation is done mainly by EU nationals who have returned home due to Covid-19. Kent alone needs up 7,500 workers on the fields. How can this be achieved, how can workers or those on furlough be redeployed and how can a workforce be assembled in 6 weeks to “pick for Britain” within Kent.

Recovery: We don’t know when, but do know for certain that we will emerge from the coronavirus crisis. When we do, our local Recovery Plan must be ready to roll. As the most successful inward investment agency nationally, Locate in Kent has a major role to play – but what should it be? Business dialogue and intelligence, of course; place marketing to show the county is open for business, most certainly. But how does the agency support new labour markets and skills with workers returning to jobs and businesses which may not be there? How does it support growth sectors – and what will these be? – that will provide the jobs of tomorrow? And how can Kent become the worldwide target for new international investment in business and infrastructure? Above all, how do we communicate and inspire confidence and excitement in the new and tentative business and investment world that may emerge?

Sustainability: What is the new normal for Kent? The consumer economy has shown its fragility. Key workers have saved the nation. Never again can we be unprepared for an epidemic. Our national Government must respond to increasing public demand and a huge financial and moral debt must be repaid. But where do local economies fit in the post-Covid nationalised state? From shipyards to mining, engineering to pharmaceuticals, Kent has a strong and proud industrial past. But how does it return to a maker economy – and should it? How do we support entrepreneurialism to capture the business growth of the future – and what will this be? What local powers does it need to shape the new local economy and how does a regained community responsibility fit with a buccaneering approach to securing new business investment and jobs? In short, what is Locate in Kent’s role in making Kent the global investment and business destination of choice?

Locate in Kent offers expert advice for all businesses located or looking to relocate in Kent. Advice on property, funding, skills, HR, accounting, legal and marketing. The team is made up of investment experts, headed up by CEO, Gavin Cleary.

Gavin Cleary CEO Email:enquiries@locateinkent.con Web: www.locateinkent.com Address: International House, Ashford, TN23 1HU

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COMPETITION TIME (Euro 5k prize)

Hi All,

Competition time.. Euro 5,000 to you / your team (or charity of your choice) to the team that can come with some solutions to this challenge...or I can offer a unique experience to meet some of the world’s smartest people over a Zoom drink / coffee. Up to you??

M I’m Kent sectoral challenges There will be significant impacts on those sectors reliant on discretionary consumer spending. This applies to the non-food retail sector, already facing major structural challenges, and to leisure and hospitality. Kent and Medway has a large visitor economy, which relies on the summer season: even if restrictions are lifted in the next couple of months, there will be a severe impact which will not be recovered until 2021 – many months beyond the likely lifting of the Government’s emergency support measures. Although relatively small in absolute employment numbers, Kent has a large and productive agricultural sector, reliant on a seasonal (and to a large extent migrant) workforce. While demand for food is resilient, social distancing measures and reduced migration could impose significant supply shocks on the industry. As a ‘gateway’ between continental Europe and the rest of the UK, the transport and logistics sector is large, with several major distribution operators, as well as the cross-Channel freight industry. Falling freight volumes will put pressureon the industry, but it is nationally vital for imports and exports of food and other essential supplies. Beyond logistics, the local demand-driven transport sector has already faced a collapse in demand. Kent and Medway’s construction sector is large and (given extensive sub-contracting and supply chain links with allied traded) complex. The industry is already vulnerable to cyclical change, and the recovery from downturns can often beprotracted as industry skills are lost. The Kent and Medway economy is strongly linked with that of London: over 100,000 people commute from the county to London to work, and London is a vitally important market for the Kent-based service sector. Question is: How can these sectors be protected? How will the future of these sectors look? What policy changes will help? Can there be a PPP model that is effective?

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