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The Thames Gateway Kent Partnership welcomes the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

Improving productivity is at the heart of the Government’s Strategy and there is massive potential for the Thames Gateway to play a significant role in meeting this national challenge.  North Kent does not enjoy the same economic prosperity and benefits as other parts of the South East, and raising the economic performance of Thames Gateway Kent to the South East average would add around £4 billion a year to the economy.

We are already helping to make this happen: the North Kent Enterprise Zone is one example, the long-term transformation of industrial sites such as the former naval dockyard in Chatham another.  We want more investment in exciting, large-scale, schemes that realise the Gateway’s potential, such as extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet, rapidly delivering the Lower Thames Crossing and building a world-class cluster of creative industries through the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.  Kent Science Park, south of Sittingbourne, has massive potential which could be realised with improved road connectivity.  North Kent can also make a significant contribution to national housing growth, but this needs to be supported by investment in infrastructure and balanced with an equal focus on employment and commercial activity to support economic growth.  We are ready to work with Government on specific, local initiatives focusing on the Industrial Strategy’s five “Foundations of Productivity” and are looking at how we support emerging and established businesses to do this.  

TGKP welcomes the announcement that Sir John Armitt will lead the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, supported by Professor Sadie Morgan as deputy chair.  We look forward to working with them to build on the considerable progress made to regenerate this part of the world.

As it seeks to deliver the Industrial Strategy we urge Government wherever possible to work through existing local mechanisms and partnership arrangements. Since 2001, TGKP has been bringing together public and private partners, from Dartford to Sheerness, to encourage, facilitate and enable sustainable economic growth and regeneration.

Rob Bennett, chairman of TGKP, said: “The Government’s Industrial Strategy is a step in the right direction – but Whitehall needs to remember that some of the biggest challenges, and most significant opportunities, are to be found less than an hour from London. Public and private investment and improvements to infrastructure are fundamental to helping North Kent realise its economic potential whilst delivering on housing growth – and we are keen to work with Government to get on with the job.”