Figures produced last year show that out the 67 local council areas in south east England, Thanet has the highest average rate of child poverty. Out of the 84 parliamentary constituencies in south east England, Thanet fares little better with South Thanet, which includes Ramsgate, having the second highest child poverty rate and North Thanet the seventh. A detailed analysis of child poverty rates in Ramsgate paints an even gloomier picture with Newington and Eastcliff having rates approaching 45% which are not only amongst the worst in south east England , but some of the worst in the entire county.
These are truly shameful and worrying figures which demonstrate that despite living in a very rich country a growing number of people, including children, are being forced to live in poverty so extreme that they are forced to skip meals. The causes of this poverty include, unemployment, sickness and disability, low wages, increasing rents, energy bills and council tax, frozen and late payment of benefits and benefit sanctioning.
To solve this problem we need, as country, to invest in providing more affordable social rented housing for those unable to buy their own homes; control rents in the private sector; cap energy prices and have a fairer system of in and out of work benefits. We also need, especially in deprived areas such as Thanet and Ramsgate, to be investing heavily in regenerating the local economy and creating sustainable, decently paid jobs.
That’s why I support Discovery Park and support proposals for the Stone Hill Park development on the former Manston Airport site. These industrial parks will both attract significant inward investment, host new and growing businesses, and help to create many more jobs for the area. In Ramsgate there needs to be a major investment in developing the seafront and turning it into a major visitor attraction. This includes the compulsory purchase of the derelict Pleasurama site and its transformation into a leisure area. The redevelopment of Ramsgate Port into a state of art 21st century modern marina with shops, bars, a fisherman’s wharf etc. A re-invigorated seafront at Ramsgate will generate £millions every year for local economy and provide hundreds of jobs.
Tackling poverty in Thanet and Ramsgate and throughout the country won’t come cheap but it can, and should be, paid for by a fairer system of taxation. And if higher taxes for the wealthy means that children aren't going hungry and that people are no longer being forced to choose between heating and eating then its price worth paying.
Published and promoted by Ian Driver, Independent Candidate, Kent County Council election 4th May 2017, 45 Sae View Road, CT101BX