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Making Fife the best place to do business

Fife Council is looking to build on a positive year for business in the Kingdom in 2014.

The council has being working together with businesses, local communities and the Fife Economy Partnership in a range of different ways to help develop and grow a vibrant economy.

The Fife Economic Strategy, launched in October, sets out the ways both organisations believe Fife can move further ahead next year and in years to come to recover from the global financial crisis, tackle the barriers to employment some of its residents face, and help Fife’s businesses take advantage of opportunities for growth.

In addition, the council has shown its commitment in a range of ways.

Funding support has been made available for existing businesses with the council introducing a new Town Centre Business Support grant and highlighting support available from the Regional Selective Assistance grant scheme.

Thanks to an investment of £5 million in apprenticeships over the next three years through the Fife Youth Job Contract, 340 apprenticeships and training positions for young people were created too.

The council has also been working with the Scottish Government and BT to deliver superfast broadband to over 98 % of premises in Fife and promotion to encourage businesses to set up in the Kingdom has also been carried out.

The publication of the Invest in Fife Investment Prospectus this year helped promote the investment zones available to show the business community properties and development opportunities available in the Kingdom.

In addition, figures released this year showed Fife house building was on the rise for the first time in five years and the yearly audit of employment land, which provides an up to date picture of availability and status of employment land within Fife, shows encouraging signs.

Figures showtake up of employment land at a ten year high with 34.64 hectares of land developed and 33.55 hectares of land under construction in Fife.

And since January 2013 there has been a fall of over 2,500 in the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), a 23.7% reduction and currently the number of people claiming JSA is at its lowest level in five years.

Councillor Lesley Laird, Executive spokesperson for Business, Enterprise, Economy and Planning said there are a number of signs that there has been a positive move forward for many of Fife’s businesses this year but work will continue to build on progress achieved so far.

She said: “Fife Council is committed to supporting businesses in the Kingdom and making Fife the best place to do business.

“2013 has been a very busy year and the good news is that we are now starting to show some very positive signs of the wealth of opportunity for businesses that exist in Fife.

“This year has seen Fife become home to some of the world’s most exciting and ground breaking renewable and energy projects including the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine.

“The strength of our renewables sector was also recognised nationally when the council was voted best public sector team at the Scottish Green Energy Awards.

“We are also seeing the continued success of companies in the oil and gas sector who are helping the collective growth of that area.

“Arange of different companies, large and small, have had positive stories to tell about expansion and job creation.

“The council has reiterated its commitment to supporting and revitalising town centre businesses this year too, with the launch of the Town Centre Business Support Fund.

“It is also helping develop skills of young people through Fife Youth Job contract and apprenticeship Skills Academies in partnership with local businesses.

“We are also working with Education, Fife College and the business community at how best we can prepare our young people for life and work and I am excited about how we can take this project forward in 2014.

“There’s been a wealth of positive news to tell but there is still also so much still to do and it is important the council continues to build on this year’s successes and continues to move forward.

“By working together with local communities, the businesses and the Fife Economy Partnership we are already seeing the benefit of some excellent partnership working and the council will continue to strive with our partners to achieve the aims set out in our Economic Strategy and make Fife the best place to do business.”

 

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