My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Ramsgate's Child Poverty Scandal

According to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank  the UK is one the richest nations on earth,  yet today we have news that millions of children and adults across our country  are going hungry.  In a  report published this morning by the  Parliamentary All-Party Group on Hunger,  MPs estimated  that 3 million children go  hungry in the school holidays because they don’t have access to free school meals and their parents can’t  afford to buy them lunch out of term time.  Also today the UKs largest foodbank provider the Trussell Trust reported that it had  provided a record 1.1 million emergency  food parcels for children and adults across the UK in the past 12 months. How can we be considered a wealthy and civilised nation when millions of our citizens, including children, can’t afford regular meals?  This is an unacceptable national scandal which is also having a devastating impact on parts of Thanet and Ramsgate.

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

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