A high proportion of working-age adults are deprived of work in Thanet, making it the 11th worst local authority area in England. Many of the jobs that do exist are low-paid and seasonal. Previous attempts to attract industry to South Thanet and enter into collaborations with outside developers and corporations have created few lasting benefits for our community and have often had destructive consequences for our economy and environment. We must learn important lessons from experiments like Westwood Cross, which has left our high streets and seafronts depleted and created the looming prospect of green spaces being further destroyed.
In January 2016, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, invited Momentum Thanet to produce a new economic plan for the area. Many locally relevant options could be explored for securing sustainable development in South Thanet. These include the growing of micro businesses and local agriculture, the establishment of a renewable energy establishment and the attraction of a government department or agency. Our priorities in considering these options must be the quality of work and benefits to working people, the local community and the environment.
The Ministry of Labour that will be created under a Labour Government will use public investment to create high-quality jobs and strengthen workers’ rights. We must ensure that South Thanet is among the beneficiaries of this pioneering policy.