After a breakfast meeting of KCC’s Cabinet and Chief Officer Group at Oakwood House in Maidstone, I caught up on emails and papers, then set off for the Ashford International Hotel, where the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce had organised its 2010 Business to Business exhibition. I had been asked by Jo James, Chief Executive of the Chamber to speak at a lunch for business people from across the county.
Jo (pictured with me above on the BKB stand at the exhibition) kindly agreed to take over the chair of the Backing Kent Business Steering group, and has done an excellent job, bringing the various organisations together into a strong, cohesive group who are pushing us at KCC to do more to support businesses in Kent.
I was happy to speak after lunch, covering various topics, but on the day of George Osborne’s emergency budget I couldn’t avoid talking about the state of the nation’s economy and the difficult decisions that lay before us all over the next few years. Issues such as European procurement law, punitive bureacracy and overburdening legislative pressure on our businesses were very real challenges which needed solutions. In Kent, specific issues such as atrocious broadand provision in our urban, not to mention our rural areas was a major problem.
As always happens when I meet businesses these days, I spent most of the rest of the afternoon in discussion with various business owners. But the number of exhibitors, the sheer volume of attendees, and the conversation before and during lunch left me with the distinct impression that – no matter how tough the times ahead – Kent’s businesses are well set to weather the storm.