THERE are many reasons to be positive about the strength of the Fife economy – even in the current depressed financial climate.
That’s the view of Councillor Kay Carrington, Fife Council’s executive member for business, enterprise, economy and planning, who has highlighted major new investment projects, the success in attracting inward investment from big companies, and the growth of the oil and gas and renewables sectors as reasons to be optimistic about the outlook in 2013.
Cllr Carrington said: “Our success in attracting major new projects in recent years has been remarkable, as we have private sector investment projects totalling almost £0.5bn on site being built in Fife at the end of 2012.”
The energy and renewables sector would be one of the growth areas for Fife over the coming 10 years, she said, highlighting positive news from BiFab about major orders from the oil and gas industry.
Investment by RWE/Tullis Russell and Diageo in their plants, which created a civil engineering boom with over £300m investment between these two projects, had safeguarded manufacturing jobs for staff at both sites.
And she hoped that the Samsung Offshore Wind Demonstrator Project would be given the go ahead by the Scottish Government in the coming weeks, leading to much-needed manufacturing jobs in Methil.
Cllr Carrington continued: “The Council’s investment at Energy Park Fife continues to attract potential manufacturers, and we hope that these will lead to commitments once clarity around delivery of offshore wind farms is achieved at UK Government level.
“And I am delighted that the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre has been so successful in attracting tenants even before the official opening later this year. The Centre is already home to six companies with major announcements due over the next month.”
She said the Council would continue to work to improve market development and trade opportunities for Fife’s manufacturing sector, was supporting and promoting tourism, and was working with the Scottish Government to improve transport links and to ensure there was an adequate supply of employment land and business property in the right locations.
Cllr Carrington said the Council was also working with businesses, schools, the new regional college and St Andrews University to produce a supply of locally skilled and motivated workers, with major initiatives in place to create opportunities for young people.
She added: “I have great optimism for 2013 and the future of Fife’s economy and we will continue to strive throughout the year to make Fife the easiest place to do business.”