We all want Dover and Deal to be a place where you can get a job, have a home to call your own and raise a family. Yet too many young people are priced out of the housing market.
Cutting stamp duty and bringing in the Help to Buy scheme have been making a difference. New figures reveal that more than 200 families across Dover and Deal have bought their own home thanks to Help to Buy. The 52 homes purchased in 2017 represent an increase of a third on the previous year, bringing the total to 210 households since 2013. I'm urging ministers to extend the scheme beyond 2021.
In Dover and Deal the number of new builds started last year was 434 – almost twice the national average. This is a good start. Yet there is still much more to do.
We must do more to help young people and renters save for deposits – and give everyone a chance to get on the housing ladder. For too long foreign investors and Buy-to-Let landlords have controlled the market. Things have got to change. We need to build more homes and ensure they go to local families who need them.
That is why I have been supporting local developments at brownfield sites in our area. At Connaught Barracks, 500 new homes are planned at the former MoD site off Dover Road. While at Farthingloe more than 521 new houses and flats are proposed to be built where temporary housing for Channel Tunnel workers once stood. The developer wants to give Dovorians first pick too.
Increasing supply means homes become more affordable. That is crucial, because people in Dover and Deal work hard and deserve to be able to lay down roots and secure a future for their family. So more homes must be built.
Of course, we all want to protect our beautiful countryside. Yet, despite what many people think, just 0.1% of the UK is densely built up. Indeed, 85% of the Dover district is farmland.
The real issue is making sure we have the right infrastructure in place when new homes are built. That means investment in roads, schools, local health services, transport and decent broadband. I know this is a huge concern for so many people. Because in our corner of Kent, we have to fight relentlessly to get our fair share.
It shouldn't be this way. Britain should not be a country that only works for the big cities and big business. Ours should be a nation that works for the regions and hard-working families across the land.
As we leave the European Union we have the opportunity to take back control of our laws and make Britain work for our young people. To invest in our historic towns and have a renaissance of the regions.
Dover and Deal should be leading the way. It's time to focus on the future that we can build together. A Britain that works for our young people.
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