I was recently invited by KCC’s Chairman Cllr John Davies to attend his West Kent Reception. The Chairman’s Receptions, which take place around the county during the Chairman’s year are a great opportunity to bring together people from all walks of life with a common interest in our great county. Graciously, John has agreed that this year should celebratE Kent’s business community, with my “Backing Kent Business” campaign taking centre stage.
The West Kent reception was held at Hadlow College’s recently-opened Animal Management Unit, built on time and on budget and providing superb new facilities. Around a hundred and forty people were there to hear Hadlow’s Principal Paul Hannan talk with passion about the college and its future, followed by Amanda Cotterill, previous High Sheriff of Kent and now Chairman of Visit Kent and Patron of Produced in Kent which is located at the Hadlow site.
I was asked to speak about the Backing Kent Business campaign, which was launched in January of this year to support Kent businesses through the recession. I was able to report that since we started, KCC has increased the percentage of invoices we pay within twenty days from just 44% to now over 80%; that we’ve encouraged over 440 more companies to apply successfully to join our approved contractor lists; and that Leader Paul Carter and I have lobbied Government at the House of Commons on reducing the burden of bureaucracy for business; and again at the House of Lords to protest at the nonsense of French industrial action which causes the misery of Operation Stack.
John Davies and his wife Christine were excellent hosts, and more Chairman’s Receptions will follow in coming months, giving KCC a chance to thank all those who make Kent the great place it is to live, work and play.