County Councillor Karen Constantine: A decent day’s pay for a decent day’s work

Cllr Karen Constantine

It seems strange to me that as the rest of the South East enjoys prosperity and jobs growth, Thanet finds itself losing out on much needed employment opportunities and economic growth.

Thanet has recorded the largest increases in the claimant count in Kent, up 115 to 3,070. This may be skewed by claims for Universal Credit which is currently being ‘rolled out’ in Thanet for those making new claims. So, some of those counted as claimants may be in work but also claiming benefits. It’s still indicative of a very low economic base especially compared to the wealthy South East.

‘Sustainable jobs’

I think it’s high time for urgent action on economic regeneration, Thanet needs rewarding and sustainable jobs, not zero hour contracts, not just seasonal roles, and other insecure work, but decent employment that people can actually build lives around. In particular creating opportunities for our young people should be paramount, we don’t want this generation left behind or forced to leave Thanet. We need to use all our talent.

There’s a clear link between our poor Labour Market, (local workers are paid about £5k per year less than other parts of Kent and the South East), and child poverty in Thanet. The ‘cure’ for poverty is decent work and decent pay. Put money into people’s pockets and they tend to spend it in the local economy. Meaning local businesses feel the benefit.

Inward investment

We need to prioritise inward investment into Thanet. In particular any opportunity to welcome jobs that will stand up to the rapid technological change on the horizon should be grabbed at! This rules out ‘warehousing’ type jobs in favour of companies developing battery technology, or other green, pharmaceutical, and advanced manufacturing for instance.

There is no intrinsic reason why Thanet cannot transform into a thriving and sustaining economy. It’s a beautiful place, the coast adds a great deal to our quality of life, there are many talented, entrepreneurial and community minded people. We need joined up thinking between our politicians, community and business leaders, and our schools and college.

Year on year Thanet’s employment prospect seem to grow worse. A proper plan for economic regeneration is long overdue.


  1. The key reason why Thanet has failed to move on is that the business parks have been staggeringly unsuccessful. Other areas of the country have seen thousands of jobs created on business parks with a wide range of occupants.
    Despite the many attractions of the area, Thanet’s business parks have remained underused. I remember when Wiggins owned Manston business park and did nothing with it. The council was unable to reclaim it until Planestation went bust. There has been a desperate need for people who know what they are doing to get involved and for the council to listen carefully to what they have to say. The owners of Discovery Park have demonstrated that they have the skills to attract businesses to a redundant site. Now that they are planning to do the same at Manston it is very important that Thanet’s councillors pay attention and stop trying to wreck their plans to regenerate the site. New housing is very important. If you want to attract companies offering high quality, skilled jobs you have to provide good quality housing for those young professional people to live in. There is, obviously a limit, but a lot of work has been done to plan for the next fifteen years and the new local plan presents an acceptable balance between growth and conservation. It is very worrying to hear that a cohort of Thanet councillors are planning to prevent the new local plan from being adopted which could result in the council losing control of planning in the area and could result in thousands of additional houses being built in areas on local farmland. It should be of concern to everybody that this group of councillors are deliberately playing politics with an issue of local importance rather than properly representing the needs of their constituents and local people. I am told that Conservative councillors will be ordered to vote down the local plan, even if the council’s professional officers advise that it should be accepted. I do hope that the Labour group on the council will act more responsibly and will not ignore professional advice. In recent years Thanet District Council has destroyed Ramsgate seafront by selling the site to developers who failed to develop it, lost millions subsidising a failing car ferry, lost millions on a CPO of Dreamland and lost millions trying to stop live exports illegally. I really don’t think that councillors have covered themselves in glory when they have gone off piste.

  2. Much as i d like to paint a picture of doom and gloom, on the business park issue there seems to be a thriving business estate building up on the area by Cummins power in Manston. With a wide variety of enterprises filling units as fast as they are built.

    • But Karen Constantine is completely right we need a lot more but I can’t see a serious plan coming out of our local council until a Labour council is elected.

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