Last week the new Parliament finally got into full swing. The debate on the Queen’s speech has seen the House of Commons focussing on Boris Johnson’s plans for the Brexit Britain we will build. Not simply better healthcare and more police but a land where the environment, productivity, aspiration and opportunity are at the heart of what the government seeks to achieve.
Investment in the infrastructure we need to see a renaissance of regions. Communities like ours are at the heart of the Prime Minister’s programme.
Everyone knows we’ve needed to see greater investment in broadband so that our villages are properly connected. And investment in our roads – not least dualling the A2 and sorting out the problems of the Whitfield roundabout which are causing so much concern to the villagers who live there. I used my first question in Parliament to ask for a debate on the urgent need for roads investment in east Kent.
Yet it’s not just investment in infrastructure we need but investment in education and skills too. For too long further education colleges have lost out. Yet we know here in Dover & Deal institutions like East Kent college are critical to bringing opportunities to our young people and helping to change lives. That’s why greater investment in our schools and colleges is vital if we are to energise the country and build an aspiration nation that will help drive our nation’s independent future.
There is a renewed energy about the government since the election and a genuine interest for new ideas to make a Britain that works for everyone and for the environment.
Jobs and money are also at the heart of the Government’s programme. That’s why a smooth Brexit where trade continues to flow freely through the Port of Dover matters not just to Dover but to Britain as a whole.
Last week I went to see port bosses to hear their plans for the future – and to make the case to consider greater investment going forward and to minimise job losses from the proposed restructuring.I am concerned to do all I can to safeguard jobs and I look forward to the Port of Dover progressing its investment, growth and jobs plans at pace to ensure that they make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.
The port is not simply a cornerstone of our local economy, it is a key element of the beating heart of our international trade. Yet our local economy cannot just work for the Port. It must work for our many smaller and medium sized businesses here in Dover & Deal too.
I also had a positive meeting with Dover District Council leader Trevor Bartlett and his Cabinet to talk about plans for Dover town centre and support for retailers there, along with the importance of free village parking to help boost access to village shops.
The future of our country is about so much more than getting Brexit done. It’s about better healthcare, safer streets, improving life chances, investment in the future – and of relentless focus on the kind of Britain we can build in the decades to come.