The government department responsible for negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union produced position papers last week setting out our proposals for managing trade and customs after Brexit. These are very significant issues for our area, as ninety percent of the UK’s trade with Europe carried by road freight runs through Kent, to the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover. We need to make sure that goods can flow freely in order to keep Kent moving. The government’s position papers have set out to address two main areas of concern. Firstly, that there should be highly streamlined customs arrangement between the UK and the EU, with customs requirements that are as frictionless as possible. This would aim to continue some existing arrangements we have with the EU, reduce or remove barriers to trade through new arrangements, and adopt technology-based solutions to make it easier for businesses to comply with customs procedures.Secondly, the government has proposed a new customs partnership with the EU by aligning the UK’s approach to the customs border in a way that removes the need for a UK-EU customs border. One potential approach would involve the UK mirroring the EU’s requirements for imports from the rest of the world where the final destination is the EU. Whilst there is much more work and negotiation to be carried out on these proposals, it is right that we are setting out up front solutions that can work for business and residents in Kent.
Last week students across the District collected their A level results. This nerve wracking experience for all concerned is the culmination a lot of hard work for those who sat the exams, and support from teachers and family members. I would like to send my congratulations to all who achieved the results they were hoping for. For students who have missed out this time, there is help and advice available for what best to do next, to achieve your goals. The pathway to success by no means always follows a straight line. Whilst there were excellent results across all of our local schools last week, a special mention is due to the Harvey Grammar school for achieving a record set of A level results this year.
On Wednesday last week, along with my wife Sarah, I was delighted to attend the Hythe Venetian fete. This fantastic biennial event has been held in its current form on the Royal Military Canal since 1927, interrupted only by the Second World War. Once again there was a marvellous presentation of brilliantly decorated floats from a wide range of local societies, and a spectacular fireworks display. The fine weather on the day helped ensure that the event was a sell out, and it was expected that around 12,000 spectators would attend the event. I would like to send my congratulations to John Schoner and his team for another excellent Venetian fete.
Last Saturday, Folkestone hosted its first Pride festival, organised in the town centre, Payers Park and at the Quarterhouse. I hope that everyone who attended had a fantastic day, and that this is the first of many Pride festivals. Again, congratulations are due to everyone involved in organising the event.