Investment has rocketed in Dover and Deal in recent years. We've come a long way - yet there is much more to do.
That's why I was delighted that Dover's bid for a bridge over the A20 was shortlisted by the Government last week. I have long pressed ministers about the case for major funding for our area. It seems we are finally getting through.
Because with Burlington House down, St James up and the new marina on the way, a better link between the town centre and seafront is vital. The subway is not fit for purpose. A proper connection has been needed ever since the A20 was built.
The Secretary of State wrote to me confirming that Dover District Council's bid had made the shortlist. They will now receive £150,000 to put together a full business case.
This comes on top of over £500 million of investment in our area since 2010. 7,700 more people are in now in work. We have a strong economy and wages are rising.
We’ve also delivered a new Dover hospital and safeguarded the future of Deal’s. Education standards are up, with 27 local schools improving their Ofsted ratings. School budgets are increasing above inflation thanks to the new funding deal we fought for, while our early years providers and primary schools are in the UK top 10.
Yet that is not all. The town of Deal is on the rise, with the fast train having made an incredible difference.
So far so good. Yet what about the future? Brexit is a great opportunity to reshape our country. We can build a Britain that delivers a better deal for working people. One that will lower taxes, starting with the lowest paid. Big business needs to pay a fairer share of taxes – and without complex EU laws it will be easier to force them to do so. We also need a better deal for consumers with big energy suppliers, big banks and the like broken up to promote competition.
It’s important to build a Britain everyone can be part of. A Britain that doesn’t just work for the big cities – but for all parts of the country.
We also need a Britain that works for our community. More homes are needed in Dover and Deal to help for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder. The A2 needs to be dualled and everyone knows there needs to be better better Dover to Deal road.
Greater access to health care is needed locally to save people long journeys. And more investment is needed in further education colleges to give our young people the best possible start in life.
We must build on recent progress. Our area is clearly on the up. Yet we must continue to fight, so we continue to get the investment that has been long deserved.