Friday, 5 October 2007

Port - bigger, independent but no privisation!

Photo: L to R: Bob Goldfield, CEO of Dover Harbour Board, Charlie Elphicke, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Dover & Deal and Julian Brazier MP, Conservative Shadow Shipping Minister.

Julian Brazier MP, Conservative Shadow Shipping Minister and I met with Dover Harbour Board Chief Executive Bob Goldfield to discuss the future of the Port of Dover. We are supporting Government Harbour Revision Order proposals which will aid the Western Docks expansion and give the Port more independence without the threat of privatisation. I want to see two directors on the Harbour Board jointly appointed by Kent County Council and Dover District Council to help strengthen the growing partnership between the Port and the community.

I was delighted that we won support for these important changes, which will hopefully quickly clear Parliament. I listened carefully to the community. People told me they want to see the job creating Port expansion happen quickly and more local accountability without privatisation. If our proposals are taken up in full, these community goals can be delivered.

The Port has increasingly been a positive partner in the Dover Renewal and it is essential that this should continue. Two community appointed directors on the Harbour Board can be a bridge to the betterment of Dover and the Port for the long term.


My family have lived in East Kent for many years and we live on the seafront in Deal. My wife Natalie and I have two children – Charlotte 7 and Thomas 9 months.

Natalie went to Clarendon House grammar in Ramsgate. My mother in law lived in Shepherdswell and taught at local primary schools. So I am passionately concerned about improving school and vocational education and realising our opportunities.

My father in law is a lorry driver. He used to work for Kent Salads. In my job, I specialise in inward investment and British job creation. Yet wages locally are £378 a week – below the Kent average, while unemployment is higher than the average. I want to see that change. I am excited about job opportunities from our dominant distribution position combined with our knowledge industries.

I believe we can achieve greater success across the board. The wealth gap is too high and I want to see this fall. We need a Britain we can all feel part of.

There is not enough respect for older people. My late father, an alzeimer's sufferer, lived in a home that closed down at Bossington near Aylesham. In the last ten years, pensions have seen tax raids. Low annuities are cut further by mean tested pension credit. That state pension is too low and should be higher. Older people should get more respect and have enough money to retire with dignity. The 17,000 pensioners who live locally deserve better than that.