New skills, green jobs and enterprise will help the south east emerge stronger from the economic crisis, according to a local MP.
Jonathan Shaw, MP for Chatham and Aylesford and minister for the south east, said it was essential in times of economic uncertainty to reflect on the region’s long term strengths and try to put in place conditions for future success.
"We need to work together strategically to make sure that we know what skills our businesses are looking for, we help ensure people can get the skills they need to take up jobs, we identify future opportunities in new sectors such as green jobs, and we help people to set up their own business."
Mr Shaw’s comments came as Business Link, the support organisation, reported that more than 3,200 "health checks" had been carried out at small and medium companies across the region since October.
Delegates at a South East Development Agency (SEEDA) conference were told it was important to work together in challenging times and identify the best ways to support businesses through the downturn, including public investment. The situation was not reason to overlook the aims of SEEDA’s regional economic strategy (RES).
Mr Shaw added: "Most - if not all - of the RES priorities still remain important, so we must not lose sight of them amid the current economic crisis."
SEEDA chairman Jim Brathwaite said there were trying times for business but it was important to manage "the here and now" and invest for the future.
"The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) guides our response to current challenges, ensuring we achieve long term sustainable prosperity for everybody in the South East," he said.
"Helping businesses to access finance is essential to support viable and growing companies; encouraging investment and helping businesses to trade overseas as well as attracting inward investment will help the South East to ride out the downturn and maintain our global competitiveness - one of the key objectives of the RES. "