Agenda item

Verbal updates by Cabinet Members


1.            The Cabinet Member for Communities, Mr M Hill, gave a verbal update on the following issues:-


·         Public Protection’s newTrading Standards Checked’ fair trader scheme had now successfully signed up over 500 checked and vetted traders from a wide range of trade sectors. On 21 September the website was launched to consumers which, together with Public Protection’s Alternative Dispute Resolution service, provides a significant contribution to supporting vulnerable homeowners and tackling rogue traders in Kent.

·         Visits – Mr Hill had visited libraries across Kent, including Tenterden and the Kent History and Library Centre, as well as Shorne Country Park and the Southborough Hub project, which was now moving ahead well.


2.            The Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Mr M J Whiting, gave a verbal update on the following issues:-

·         The Straits Committee - the tourism agencies of Pas-de-Calais, West Flanders and Kent had met recently and agreed to draw up an outline business case for marketing the Straits as a near and safe destination for longer-term recovery, digital acceleration of tourism businesses, and greater sharing of intelligence and good practices. Earlier this week, MPs from Kent and northern France signed a joint letter to President Macron and The Prime Minister, stressing the importance of cross-border trade between the UK and France and the need for fluidity across the Straits at the end of the transition period. Problems caused by restrictions to cross channel traffic and the importance of keeping traffic moving had recently been demonstrated. The next Straits Executive Committee meeting would take place on 7 October.

·         The new Employment Task Force, a vital arm of the Kent and Medway Renewal and Resilience Plan, would hold its first meeting on 1 October, under the chairmanship of Roger Gough. The Task Force would work over the next 12 - 18 months to help ensure young people leaving education and those made redundant as a result of covid-19 would have the best opportunity to find work or to access the training they need to meet the requirements of employers. One of the first areas of focus would be maximising the benefits for Kent of the Government’s Kick Start scheme.

·         High-Speed Rail - The County Council would be contributing to a study by HS1 to help make the business case for additional high-speed rolling stock to serve Kent. The target would be to secure £90m of Government funding to provide ten new, five-carriage trains to improve services and increase capacity.

·         The Kent Developers' Group had met recently to discuss the Government’s proposed changes to the planning system. The County Council’s response to the consultation had yet to be finalised but would be detailed and robust. One area of concern shared by the County Council, district partners and developers was the effect any change in policy may have on the delivery of much-needed affordable homes. Mr Whiting had requested a substantive item on affordable housing at a future meeting of the Developers' Group.

·         Produced in Kent and Visit Kent worked together to encourage people to ‘buy local’ and ‘eat and drink local’. The campaign included a series of competitions, and Mr Whiting had been pleased to present a £100 Shepherd Neame voucher to the first winner at the Boat Yard, Yalding, last week.

3.            Mr Whiting also recorded his congratulations and best wishes to Mr James McInroy and his fiancée for their wedding. The Committee added its best wishes.


4.            There were no questions and the updates were NOTED, with thanks.