Attracting new businesses and helping existing businesses to grow and prosper in North Kent is crucial to the future growth of the Thames Gateway.
Our priorities include:
1. Supporting Key Industry Sectors
While supporting all sectors, the focus of activities will be on:
- North Kent’s existing sector strengths (e.g. ports and logistics, advanced manufacturing and sustainable construction)
- Sectors where there are particular opportunities for growth due to location advantages of North Kent (e.g. environmental technologies, business and financial services, creative industries and tourism and leisure)
- Sectors where population growth will bring benefits (e.g. public sector and higher education)
2. Increasing Innovation, Enterprise and Creativity
Supporting businesses and helping them to exploit new ideas through innovation and creativity is critical for economic growth.
This support can be optimised by:
- Streamlining businesses’ access to financial support
- Fostering an entrepreneurial culture
- Strengthening links between the business community and higher education institutions to exploit and embed research, innovation and creativity
3. Attracting and Retaining Investment
Our employment targets will not be delivered from growth in existing businesses alone. Attracting inward investment is key to achieving our ambitions for North Kent.
Such investment will require:
- Effective promotion of the Thames Gateway
- Access to high-quality employment and housing sites
- The necessary infrastructure and transport routes to unlock key employment sites and markets
4. Improving Skills and Employability
A skilled workforce is a key driver of productivity and competitiveness and is vital to achieve sustainable economic growth. The skills across North Kent’s workforce need to be optimised to ensure that employers remain competitive and local workers can successfully fill the newly created roles.
The skills provision must:
- Meet the skills needs of existing and future employers
- Improve skills and support skills progression for residents in work or education
- Reduce unemployment and economic inactivity through provision of training opportunities to residents
5. Enhancing Connectivity
Enhancing connectivity is essential for sustainable economic growth. The free flow of goods, information, services and people can unlock key employment sites and markets. So investment in an area’s physical (i.e roads and rail) and digital infrastructure is essential.
North Kent benefits from a number of valuable transport assets - including Ebbsfleet International station and HS1 services to North Kent stations, and its various seaports. Capitalising on these existing resources is vital to help attract high-value businesses to the area.
Connectivity in North Kent can be improved further by:
- Strengthening the area’s transport links across the south east, to London and the rest of the UK, and to Europe
- Relieving congestion on local routes
- investing in the area’s physical and digital infrastructure
6. Improving Quality of Life
Improving the quality of life in North Kent is a key part of our Vision. Creating high-quality buildings and enhancing the natural landscape is vital if we are to successfully attract new people to the area and improve the lives of existing residents.
Any investment therefore should:
- Encourage high-quality developments
- Provide high-quality cultural facilities, including theatres and museums
- Provide high-quality public services
- Ensure that development enhances the quality of the natural environment