I believe that economic growth comes about when residents and local politicians of all colours pull together locally. We are united by our efforts. In Rye we have improved train links via Ashford, which I am now building on with the plans for not just electrification but for HS1 to come through Rye, Hastings and Bexhill.
This is a long-term plan which is part of a politician’s role – to look ahead and seek investment for the future as well as the present. It is part of my job to lobby hard at Westminster to get the extra help that we need to really achieve our full potential.
I catch Ministers in the voting lobby and Secretaries of State in the Tea Room. Nobody forgets which towns I represent! But one of the lessons I have learned is that to achieve change, an MP needs to act in concert. So to get change for the fishermen, I worked with other MPs from coastal communities to press the Fisheries Minister for that transfer of quota from the larger boats to our under 10m ones. We achieved this, although there is more to do to get more of it and to get it into the nets of our fishermen. I have already had an early meeting with the new Fisheries Minister to make that point and have invited him down to Rye to see our fleet and meet our fishermen. There is no better way of making a point to a Minister than getting him or her down to the area to see the evidence and be persuaded by the argument and the evidence in front of him.
Now I am lobbying the Minister for Enterprise and Skills to make Hastings an Assisted Area to get more investment into our manufacturing sector. And for Rye, I am following closely the Rye Harbour development to deliver more jobs and opportunities locally at the Wharf. I have also followed up with the Supermarkets regarding the stagnated negotiations over the site. I call them regularly to press for progress. I am disappointed with the current continuing stand-off. It is tricky because they have a commercial disagreement but I am always stressing the needs of my constituents who they will want as customers and the need for them to maintain their reputation. The best way forward is now for mediation over price which both parties have agreed in principle to arrange this. We have been patient enough.