On tar­get to hit 28,000 jobs to­tal

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - RE­CRUIT­MENT & BUSI­NESS -

AL­THOUGH many re­gard the tar­get of 28,000 new jobs for Ash­ford by 2031 as a po­lit­i­cal pipedream, fig­ures out this week show the town is still on course to achieve it. The fig­ures claim to show that the £650m in­vest­ment to trans­form the town is be­gin­ning to pay div­i­dends. Lat­est find­ings from the An­nual Busi­ness In­quiry (ABI) show that 3,100 jobs were cre­ated be­tween 2001 and 2005 and that Ash­ford is now the fastest grow­ing town be­tween Lon­don and Europe. Abi­gail Ray­mond, act­ing manager for Ash­ford’s Fu­ture who took over the role from Martin Ba­con, was de­lighted. She said: “We are con­fi­dent we can hit our 28,000 jobs tar­get by 2031. “The ABI sur­vey, to­gether with other eco­nomic fac­tors, demon­strates we are def­i­nitely moving in the right di­rec­tion” “While one should be cau­tious about us­ing a sin­gle source of sta­tis­tics, this, com­bined with the fact that un­em­ploy­ment rates be­tween 2001 and 2006 re­mained un­changed at 1.6 per cent, paints a very bright pic­ture.” Sev­eral ma­jor commercial de­vel­op­ments un­der way will shortly boost jobs with an ad­di­tional 700 at the £65m County Square shop­ping cen­tre ex­ten­sion and be­tween 250 and 500 ex­pected at the soon to be com­pleted Eureka Busi­ness Park devel­op­ment. The fig­ures show that Ash­ford busi­nesses grew by 29 per cent be­tween 1998 and 2005, al­most dou­ble the rate across the South East.

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