Kent bosses call for investment in growth after loss of AAA rating
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
Kent bosses have called for more investment in growth after the
UK was stripped of its triple A status.
Moody's decision to reduce the UK's coveted status to AA1 hit
sterling and heaped criticism on chancellor George Osborne.
Lack of growth and the country's escalating debt problems
despite the coalition government's austerity measures were the main
reasons for the downgrade.
Many have called on Mr Osborne to implement a Plan B to
Kent's business leaders believe easier access to finance is key
to economic turnaround.
Nick Yandle, chief executive of Gallagher Group, the
Aylesford-based civil engineering, aggregates, building and
property business, said: "The banks must make finance available and
without imposing ridiculous demands on either the cost of the
facility or the security.
"Major lenders have become impersonal and don't trust themselves
to judge business people or the opportunities presented to them. As
a result they continue to stifle the economy while milking those
who can or must pay."
The leaders also called for more investment in infrastructure
which meant supporting construction.
Paul Wookey, chief executive of Locate in Kent and pictured
right, the county's inward investment agency, said: "You can't have
a healthy economy without a healthy construction industry, and the
government must support major infrastructure projects.
"This would get more people in the sector working, present
employment and training opportunities for young people, and result
in a massive boost to the supply chain."
Charles Buchanan, chief executive of Manston Airport, said:
"Rebuilding confidence will be fundamental to future business
growth. A key part of achieving this will be by the government
investing in new infrastructure, or improving what we already
"Across Kent, as elsewhere across the South East, there are a
series of ‘pinch points’, such as the Dartford River Crossing,
restricting the free movement of traffic and hindering business
efficiency. Tackling these should be a national priority.
"Kent already benefits from High Speed 1, and with a little
investment in the service between Ashford and Ramsgate and the
creation of the Thanet Parkway Station, further business growth
could be unlocked across East Kent."