The proposed plans for the Port of Dover are a positive step but more information about how it will operate and how the community will benefit is needed, says Labour’s Clair Hawkins.
A community fund, increased local engagement and new borrowing powers have been outlined in a plan to safeguard the port’s future but there is little detail about how this would work in practice and how large the community’s share of profits would be.
Clair Hawkins, Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Dover and Deal, says when the full details are known people can decide if this plan goes far enough.
...is privatisation off the table for good and will the staff at the port get better job security and support?," Clair Hawkins.
Clair Hawkins said: “From the details I’ve seen this looks like a positive step for the port and people of Dover that will directly benefit the community and local area.
“I’ve been calling for the Port of Dover to remain a trust port but have said all along that it must be reformed. Now we need to look at the small print and see if the plan on the table goes far enough.
“We need to know how the community fund will work and how much of a percentage it will be. We need details of how local people will be selected to join the Harbour Board.
“Also is privatisation off the table for good and will the staff at the port get better job security and support? I welcome the announcement but we need answers to these questions."
The Devil is in the Detail
Labour’s Shadow Maritime Minister, Gordon Marsden, has been pushing for action and says community involvement is essential.
Gordon Marsden said: “Having pressed Stephen Hammond in Parliament’s Access to Ports debate a fortnight ago to stop dithering over Dover, I welcome the fact that he has finally announced plans for the Port of Dover’s future.
“It’s a tribute to all those who have campaigned strongly on this, including my colleague, Labour’s Clair Hawkins, who has steadfastly demanded a future that involves the community. The people of Dover deserve no less.
“The devil is in the detail – people in Dover will want to know the details of how the community regeneration and borrowing powers will work, as well as how the Board can link up to get support in addition via the Local Enterprise Partnership, not least to help provide improved road and rail access to the port.”