All five candidates for the Faversham and Mid Kent Constituency which includes Hollingbourne at the General Election on 8th June have been asked for their views on local issues. These include the impact of Brexit on the ability of the NHS locally to retain staff recruited from the EU, the effect of no Customs Union with the EU which could lead to major traffic delays on the M20, and the move of passport controls from Calais to Dover which could also create problems. Additionally candidates were asked for their views on the long promised resurfacing of the M20 between Junctions 8 and 9 and development at Junction 8 of the M20 at Woodcut Farm.
Dr Alastair Gould, a Faversham GP, who is the Green Party Candidate is the first one to respond as follows:-
- We need early and clear guarantees that EU citizens living and working here will be allowed to stay . People’s lives are not bargaining chips, and if they are being made to feel unwelcome by the careless rhetoric of politicians, they may well choose to leave.
- A significant increase in health service funding, with an end to the pretence that it can find the sort of “efficiency savings” that the current government is asking for. These are being made at the cost of the staff, both in the form of below inflation pay rises, and unfilled posts with gaps in the service covered by the extra work of those left behind. This will lead to the departure of UK staff, let alone those from abroad. There are efficiencies to be made by better working between social care, hospitals and primary care , but a system that is at breaking point has not got the flexibility to innovate.
- Regarding Operation Stack, there are considerable risks that changes to customs regulations and border controls could lead to significant delays and the more frequent activation of Operation Stack.
The way in which we leave the EU was not decided by the referendum, and issues such as the customs union, the overall level of immigration , our membership of the single market were not on the ballot paper. Models of relating to the EU involving being part of the single market such as those of Norway and Switzerland were frequently discussed as leave options, and we still do not know what will actually come out of negotiations. A second referendum on the final terms of the EU deal , as the Green Party is calling for, would therefore give people the chance to decide on the facts rather than the fantasy.
Concerning the impact of lorry traffic, I would certainly support measures to reduce the noise : I live very close to the A2 and am only too aware how intrusive this can be at all hours of day and night(including at the time of writing of the e-mail, close to midnight!). However, the long term solution must be an end to the relentless growth of traffic, and plans which simply assume this will happen are not sustainable, both for their effects on climate change , and the ruining of the countryside.
As and when the other candidate respond their views on the same issues will be posted on this website.
Pictured below is Dr Alastair Gould outside the Faversham Cottage Hospital.