The Dover District Council core strategy was developed in the period immediately preceding the global financial crisis of 2008.
The Global Financial Crisis 2008
The financial crisis of 2008 that hit Britain and many other countries around the world was effectively a global financial crisis. It resulted in the bailout of numerous banks, increased unemployment, recession, cuts in government spending and a decline in consumer expenditure.
One of the main reasons leading to the global financial crisis was the burst of the so-called housing market bubble, when the artificially inflated property market proved to be unsustainable. This led to an increase in home-evictions through failure to meet mortgage requirements, and to many unnecessary housing-estate projects being abandoned after construction had begun, as is the case in several European countries.
Another result of the global financial crisis is the realisation that numerous countries are in no position to reduce their national debt, and even find it difficult to service the interest on their debt. As a result, they have to resort to printing more money, an operation known as Quantitative Easing, or to full-scale bailouts through other countries. This in turn has led governments to introduce austerity measures.
In Britain, austerity measures include reducing the number of public sector workers by many hundreds of thousands, and decreasing the funding of council budgets by about 40%.
Dover District Council (DDC) Core Strategy
The Dover District core strategy was developed in the period leading up to the global financial crisis of 2008. It is based on the principles of the unsustainable housing market economy that preceded the global crisis and largely contributed to the banking crash of 2008. This core strategy has never been amended and does not take into account the ensuing bankruptcy that is pervading national economies around the world, including the British economy.
The DDC core strategy is based on a set of calculations that have not materialised in the local economy, including the belief that the pharmaceutical research and development facility of Pfizer, which is based in Sandwich and employed 2,400 people, would expand and offer more employment. Since then, however, it has downgraded its production significantly.
The core strategy also envisaged the creation of 4,000 unspecified jobs, perhaps some of these in relation to Pfizer, but fails to take into account the fact that many factories in East Kent employ out of principle Eastern European workers, recruiting these through work agencies in return for the minimum wage.
The failure of the DDC local Government to even mention this in the core strategy is proof of the unreliability of their notion of economics.
The rapid downgrading of Pfizer in the Dover area puts a radical new dimension to one of the few local companies in East Kent on which Dover District Council's core strategy is based as a means of sustaining the local economy. However, the recruitment methods of the numerous minimum-wage factories in East Kent, offering jobs specifically to Eastern Europeans, do not receive any mention in the present DDC planning strategy.
DDC Core Strategy: Housing and Mass Migration to Dover
The core strategy envisages the allocation of mainly farm and woodland in the Dover area for the building of 9,500 new houses over the next few decades, with the evident intention of attracting tens of thousands of people to migrate to Dover.
This plan quite clearly needs revising, as it is not in line with economic reality in Dover, where unemployment has increased considerably since 2008, and local minimum-wage factory jobs are given prevalently to foreign workers. Indeed, a number of other sectors of the local economy also offer minimum-wage employment mainly to foreign workers, and so, for many local people, there is no prospect of ever being in a position to purchase a new house, as they are largely excluded even from minimum-wage jobs. As a result, many are unlikely to find any permanent employment at all.
With regards to migrants moving to Dover by their thousands to buy a new house, the question arises as to where they are supposed to work, and where their children will be working when they leave school.
Will they be competing with local people for the vacant jobs in shops and supermarkets, in banks and at the post-office?
It seems likely that this would be the case, and it would certainly not be to the benefit of the local people living in Dover. So the legitimate question arises: can the DDC core strategy go ahead without being revised?
A New Core Strategy for Dover District
Perhaps a new set of eyes and ears are required that are open to Dover's reality, indeed a new local Government that would be elected at the next local elections after presenting a capable and credible economic programme. One that does not base its ambitions on the pre-2008 era of building upon the foundations of the housing market bubble that led to the global financial crisis, the bailout of the banks, Quantitative Easing (money printing to avoid national bankruptcy) and, ultimately, the bailout of a whole nation by foreign states.
Were the DDC core strategy to be projected on a national scale, our Country would possibly increase its population to 120 million people through migration over the next few decades, and would be rife with unemployment and bankruptcy, ultimately requiring a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This would be a bailout we could never repay, with austerity measures exceeding those even of the southern Eurozone countries.
Written by D. Alexander
Read on: DDC plans to build settlements on Western Heights and at Farthingloe, respectively a Scheduled Ancient Monument and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: