SEMLEP chief says Northamptonshire is built to weather the Brexit storm

Chief executive of SEMLEP, Stephen Catchpole said more firms have considered coming to Northamptonshire since the decision to leave the EU.
Chief executive of SEMLEP, Stephen Catchpole said more firms have considered coming to Northamptonshire since the decision to leave the EU.

More overseas firms have expressed an interest in moving to Northamptonshire since the UK voted to leave the EU, according to the region's enterprise partnership.

In his first interview with the Chronicle and Echo since the South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) took the place of the county-wide partnership, its chief executive Stephen Catchpole, said the concern over invoking article 50 and a weakening pound were not having a profound effect on the county's growth.

Catchpole: "We are seeing no companies leaving of any note."

Catchpole: "We are seeing no companies leaving of any note."

He said: "Clearly there is an uncertainty about Brexit.

"But we've seen no sign of companies wanting to leave Northamptonshire - in fact we've had more inquiries to move her since Brexit.

"That's maybe because of the pound, but we would like to think it also has something to do with the strength of the local economy."

Mr Catchpole said a lot of the companies interested in moving to Northamptonshire were "connected with the automotive industry," though he could not say which ones.

"The Silverstone cluster and high-performance sector is something that attracts companies. The skills are here," he said.

Though as to whether he felt existing firms in Northamptonshire would experience a slump as soon as Britain leaves the EU, he said: "I would honestly say to you hand on heart we don't know.

"We are seeing no companies leaving of any note.

"We just have to keep an eye on it.

"If the country is going to have a slump, then this area is the most likely to ride it out because of our location, because of where we sit between the two major cities in the country."

SEMLEP, which is funded by around £650,000 of public money a year, is currently negotiating the Local Growth Deal for the region.

Mr Catchpole said an announcement on the Government funding Northamptonshire is set to receive as part of that is due in the coming weeks.