Charlotte visits a local business with Shadow Minister for Small Business Bill Esterson MP
Charlotte visits a local business with Shadow Minister for Small Business Bill Esterson MP

Too many people in our area cannot find decent, fairly paid jobs. Many have to travel well away from the town or village they live in, often to London, Canterbury or Folkestone on unaffordable train routes or congested roads.

Furthermore, according to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people in Dover & Deal currently unemployed and receiving universal credit has rocketed over the past year: I am hearing the message loud and clear: people need more jobs, more secure jobs and better wages. People here have been failed by a Tory government.

Many of our area’s big employers have folded over the past decades and for surviving employers, business rates are cripplingly expensive and deter fledgling businesses from taking on premises or investing in our area. I support a wholesale national review of business rates, with business rate-free zones extended to coastal towns that are really struggling in a London-centric, bonus-fuelled economy.

I also want to see leaders in Dover & Deal champion co-operative ownership in new and bought-out businesses, giving workers a stake in the financial and strategic direction of the businesses they work for.  See more about this sort of business modelling here.

People living in Dover and Deal deserve better than the low pay many have to accept. Since some private contractors began to drive wages down at the Port and since the loss of Pfizer outside Sandwich in 2011 average weekly wages in our area have dropped from some of the best in the region to some of the worst. Far too many men and half of women in our area are paid less than the living wage. We have so much potential here in Dover & Deal and our people deserve better.

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