Leeds City Council’s Leader, along with other business and political leaders from across the north, has joined Business Secretary Sajid Javid on a UK trade delegation to Singapore.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, is taking part in a seminar with potential investors that is being addressed by Prime Minister David Cameron and will also meet senior figures from the Singapore government.
Cllr Blake took up the invitation from the government to join the Business Secretary on the trade mission and she has been accompanied by the council’s chief economic development officer Tom Bridges.
They are part of a large group of UK business leaders, including a representative of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, hoping to capitalise on the opportunity to expand economic links with South East Asia. A main objective of the mission is to promote investment in the north and in particular in Leeds and Manchester.
It follows a recent announcement that a Singapore-based consortium, led by Heeton Holdings, has acquired a prime 2.45 acre development site in Leeds off Regent Street and New York Road. The Leeds delegation has met representatives of the company during the trip.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“This is a rare opportunity to meet key business leaders and investors from the other side of the world- including one company that have recently invested in a major development site in Leeds- to really raise our game in international economic links.
“By building partnerships we are hoping to tap into in a vastly-expanding economic market to build trade links and further attract South East Asian investment. This in turn should widen opportunity for local businesses and create employment for people in our city.”
Leeds is already performing well internationally, according to the recently-released annual Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey which measures inward investment activity by region.
It says: “In Yorkshire, project numbers grew from the US (up from 3 to 13), Germany, France, Japan, Spain and India. This was based on software growing from zero to six projects, financial intermediation and business services increased and manufacturing was strong. Leeds led the charge, moving to fifth in the country in the ranking of cities with 15 projects.”
Those messages are also being brought to South East Asian investors, who are hearing how Leeds and the wider city region is well-positioned geographically, with good transport links and clear ideas for growth. They are also hearing how a skilled labour force and investment in training will make the area ripe for investment.