Council to spend £450k to lure in foreign investors
Discovery Park at
Kent County Council is to spend £450,000 in an ambitious
drive to lure foreign investors to the county, saying it could
create 750 jobs.
The council is to focus its investment drive on America and
plans to position Kent as the destination of choice for foreign
companies looking to relocate or establish a UK base.
Council chiefs say Kent must be more proactive in the race to
secure international investment if it is not to lose out on jobs to
They believe a combination of factors are making Kent a more
attractive proposition to foreign companies, particularly from the
They argue the development of the new Discovery Park Enterprise
Zone in Sandwich, along with the possibility of interest free loans
through the Expansion East Kent programme, are giving the county
competitive advantages over other regions.
The scheme will aim to target companies specialising in growth
areas, such as life sciences, the creative and media industries and
initiative will be overseen by Locate in Kent, which will work with
the government agency UK Trade and Investment.
Cllr Mark Dance (Con, pictured right), cabinet member for
economic development and regeneration, said American companies were
looking more closely at the UK because of the higher tax regime
“If we are not willing to step up on to the world stage and be a
player, we will lose out and companies that could have come to Kent
will go elsewhere, like Manchester and Liverpool,” he said.
He added it was vital Kent was seen as “open for business.”
“We are seen as a safe haven - American companies are facing a
larger tax burden and the EU is seen as unstable. It is an ideal
opportunity for us - the timing is perfect.”
The initiative will involve KCC appointing agents in America to
generate leads with companies, as well as attending overseas trade
shows and conferences.
Cllr Dance said that despite the severe financial constraints
facing the county council, the £450,000 investment was
“It is not a massive investment for the return we could
A report setting out Kent County Council’s plans says economic
uncertainties in Europe mean companies in France and Germany are
holding back from investing in the county.
It adds: “The ready availability of world class assets at the
Discovery Park...and zero interest funding through the Expansion
East Kent and Tiger programmes provide a significant window of
opportunity for investment in east and north Kent.”
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