This week Boris Johnson has set out the strategy for getting the economy going again as we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown. Whilst the government has delivered a wide ranging package of support for businesses large and small, and helped people in work through the job protection scheme, there is still more we can do. This includes bringing forward government investment in public services and infrastructure.
The Prime Minister has confirmed that over the next five years, the government will invest more than £600 billion pounds in our future prosperity, and on Tuesday he announced that it would bring forward £5 billion of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery across the country. This includes £1.5 billion this year for hospital maintenance, modernising the facilities for mental health care, accelerating new hospital building projects, and expanding A&E capacity. This will improve patient care, make sure NHS hospitals can deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections. There is a further investment of £100 million this year for 29 projects in our road network. Over £1 billion to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. Locally over the last ten years we have already benefited from investments in school buildings, and the construction of complete new build schools for the Turner Academy, Folkestone Primary Academy, the Beacon, Martello Grove and the Marsh Academy. It has also been announced this week that four local schools will benefit from money being advanced by the government to fund repairs; these are Lydd Primary, Dymchurch Primary, St Mary’s Primary in Folkestone and Brockhill Park Academy school.
The Government has also committed to support house building, and in particular to provide more affordable homes for people to buy and rent. Folkestone and Hythe District Council is already working closely with the government agency Homes England to support this kind of development in our area, including major schemes like the Otterpool Park garden down development.
Over the last year we’ve also seen a big increase in personnel working in our health service, many of whom have returned to the NHS since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since 2019 the number of doctors working in NHS England has increased by over 6,000, and the number of nurses has increased by over 12,000. Across South-East England the number of doctors working in the NHS has increased by 825 (5.2%) and the number of nurses has increased by 2,204 (5.8%), meaning patients in Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh will be able to see better results in frontline services. Across England there are now over 23,100 more doctors, and over 22,000 more nurses, midwives and health visitors working in the NHS than in 2010.