All posts tagged 'Essex'

Kent Conservative MPs sound off to Pickles over Kent-Essex alliance

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Tuesday, October 5 2010

It seems plans to create an alliance between Kent and Essex to drive forward investment and boost jobs have not gone down well with Kent's Conservative backbenchers.

MPs voice doubts over "Kessex" bid>>>

The alliance has been proposed by KCC and Essex county council as the preferred option for the body - known as a Local Enterprise Partnership - that should replace the soon-to-be-scrapped Regional Development Agencies.

But the idea is not being supported by Kent MPs, who have sent a letter to communities secretary Eric Pickles saying it is not in the interests of Kent's businesses and they would prefer a LEP covering Kent and Medway - which was actually favoured by KCC.

The letter states: “As Kent Members of Parliament we believe any reform relating to its overall strategy and infrastructure should be in the interest of Kent and Medway’s economic stability and prosperity. We are therefore very concerned the proposal to create a super-LEP across Kent and Greater Essex is contrary to that belief. We feel the proposed LEP is not representative of the various micro-economies that exist throughout Kent, each with their own distinct characteristics and requirements that we feel will not receive the tailored attention they require.”

It goes on: “We believe the intention of creating a super-LEP to save central government money in the short term will in fact harm the people and businesses of Kent in the long term.”

This is a little embarrassing for KCC's Conservative administration, which initially had supported the idea of a LEP for Kent and Medway but appears to have gone in the direction of a Kent-Essex bid after Eric Pickles - an Essex MP - advanced the idea of teaming up with its counterpart over the Thames.

It's also a shot across Mr Pickles' ample bows. I gather MPs were unhappy that he hadn't involved them in the earlier discussions about the idea. There are also concerns that in getting rid of one regional body, the government is simply substituting another where the common interests are not that obvious.

Unsurpisingly, Medway council - which has advanced the Kent-Medway option - has scarcely contained its delight at the MPs' backing for its plan. Over to Mr Pickles...


Not all Kent MPs have headed to Birmingham for the party conference. Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson and Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch have stayed in their constituencies.

Gordon tells me he feels his time will be better used tackling constituency issues.  "My constituents recognise that my first priority is to them and I put them first."  He's got four visits  to schools lined up for the week.


I reckon George Osborne has got himself in unnecessary difficulty over child benefit. The excuse that it will be impossible to administer a system to distinguish between a couple who stand to lose £1,752 if the father earns more than £43,875 while a couple between them earning £87,778 will lose nothing is particularly weak. Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch has already expressed reservations, saying that while she agrees with the principle, she has "enormous sympathy" with those that consider the proposals as set out are anomolous and potentially unfair. 

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Categories: KCC | Local Politics | National Politics | Politics

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