20 DEC 2018

More jobs, better healthcare, great schools and safer streets

With all the focus on Brexit, it is easy to forget the bread and butter issues that affect our daily lives. However jobs, money, homes, better healthcare, safer streets and great schools matter to us all as well.

That's why it's such good news that jobs are at record numbers – with 32.5 million Britons in work and wages rising. Such a strong labour market is only possible with policies which support business and enterprise. That strong economy also provides the money we need to increase investment in our public services.

We have made incredible progress locally – building the new hospital in Dover that everyone said would never happen, as well as safeguarding Deal Hospital which had been left teetering on the edge. Yet the £20 billion extra investment in the NHS will enable so much more to be done, starting with a greater priority for mental healthcare. Working closely with community groups like Talk It Out, I know how much mental health support matters – and how the quality of service has not been good enough in the past. That's why the extra investment in mental health matters so much.

The extra investment in schools is paying off too. Almost two million more children are now being taught in good or outstanding schools. In Dover and Deal, 2,432 kids are now attending these higher quality schools. Goodwin Academy in Deal is making real progress under new management. The Boy's Grammar School in Dover has ambitious plans. I have been working hard to get improvements and new buildings for the Girl's Grammar School in Dover, where construction is now underway.

Meanwhile Deal's primary schools look set to come together under a head teacher with a truly outstanding record of success. Everyone knows how easy it is to play cheap politics with schools and use them as a political football. Yet what really matters to parents is getting the best possible chances in life for our children. That only comes with the best teaching and the highest school standards.

We also need to ensure our streets are safe. Tackling crime – especially county lines drugs gangs – has been coming up the agenda. For years, crime has been falling. The signs are that may be changing. Working closely with Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner I have pressed the Home Office and the Treasury for more cash. This has been successful with another £24 million being allocated to boosting policing in Kent. That is on top of the extra 200 officers currently being recruited.

We've come a long way since 2010. Yet there is much more to do. Of course we have big decisions to make on the EU and Brexit. But we mustn't let that crowd out our other priorities. A strong economy provides us not just with jobs, but the cash to invest more in public services too. It is only with a strong economy that we can deliver on those other hugely important issues that affect our daily lives.

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Charlie Elphicke

Here you can read about local news matters and what I've been up to. You can make comments too. I'd welcome your feedback, so please do feel free to comment!

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