Jeremy Corbyn plans billions in investment for Ukip's heartland of ignored seaside towns

The Labour leader will make a speech in Ramsgate this weekend

Jon Stone@joncstone
Friday 02 September 2016 19:21
A majority of the public fear a no-deal end to Brexit transition, new polling suggests
A majority of the public fear a no-deal end to Brexit transition, new polling suggests

Jeremy Corbyn is to promise billions of pounds’ worth of investment into ignored seaside towns – places where Ukip has made significant headway in recent years.

Speaking on Saturday in Ramsgate the Labour leader is expected to say that such areas have huge potential, despite neglect from successive governments.

“For Ramsgate, like other coastal towns, that commitment to invest means opening up the opportunities that are there,” he is expected to say.

“We have huge natural resources in the UK, a world-beating history of scientific research and technological development – including for many years at the Sandwich centre, just down the road from here.

“And we have talent that is simply going to waste at present because of a lack of investment.”

Mr Corbyn said a new regional investment bank for the south east outside of London would see £30bn of funding directed where it was needed most – such as some places on the Kent and Essex coasts.

“We should be talking about how to restore pride and prosperity to those places in so-called left-behind Britain,” Mr Corbyn will say.

“But we won’t get there with the failed old model. Cornwall’s £130m project to bring in superfast broadband has brought it one of the fastest growing digital economies in the country.

“This investment should be extended east into Kent to unlock potential in coastal towns across the Garden of England.”

Jeremy Corbyn (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ramsgate is in Thanet, an area where Ukip controls the town council – and Mr Corbyn’s speech represents an attempt to park his tanks on the eurosceptic party’s front lawn.

Labour has a long way to go in the area however, holding only five seats on Thanet council compared to the 29 controlled by Ukip.

Chris Wells, the Ukip leader of Thanet District Council, said the last Labour government had left a bad legacy in the area.

“Meanwhile, in the real world of local government: we struggle to keep the streets clean, based on budgets left by the outgoing Labour administration,” he told The Independent.

“We struggle to balance expenditure between Ramsgate and Margate, following careless overspends on Dreamland by Labour; we struggle to pay the bills left by Labour which have dragged this council down during our first year in office.

“The good news is that with majority control of the council restored, Ukip can restore some common sense to council finances, undertaking decisions properly and openly; so unlike the Labour ways of the recent past.”

The latest polling by YouGov suggests Mr Corbyn is likely to win the Labour leadership election with an increased majority over his rival Owen Smith.

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