Friday, 4 March 2016

Garbutt calls for Digital Kent.

Tim Garbutt, 2016 PCC candidate and 2017 KCC Leader said:

" Kent is broken. the existing councils are mired in corruption and incompetence. The economy is rolling backwards: East Kent for example was cited as falling lower in the last 3 years by the Cabinet Office on every social and economic statistic.

Youth unemployment is soaring to at least 20% if not higher with statistics fudged.

How absurd that Kent Police are the tech leaders in Kent with body cameras and CCTV leaving Kent's youth more likely to be tasered (240 shocks last year) than gainfully employed.

Even pharma is one core industry underdeveloped after the closure of Pfizer in Sandwich and Glaxo in Dartford.

With the death-knell of Manston ringing in their ears, nothing was done by £2BN KCC last year, nothing the year before and nothing will be done this year.

While Kent is failing on the New Economies of Digital - Sussex for example created Wired Sussex and Brighton has its own digi-future economic regeneration programmes.

I will develop and lead Digital Kent as a public-private partnership to focus on digital delivery in Kent with BT, LinK and KCC.

Kent needs even more and I will pump-prime the tech industries: as KCC Leader I will insist on a free smartphone for every Kent schoolchild (68% in UK), Yingluck PC computer initiatives and at least two 3D printers and Raspberry Pi computers per school.

And an SDG2030 Gap Year Summer: with the school leaving age now raised to 18 the potential is for broader education beyond just exam-cramming and take a fresh look at the timing of exams and holidays from the current 19th century harvest system.

And end the BBCTV licence fee other than from tax: a 1930's radio tax irrelevant in the digital era and with the absurdity of forming 90% of court cases when it's already mostly funded from national tax we all pay.

While the rollout of digital broadband should match South Korea (88%) within 2 years.

Every Kent library and town centre with free wifi and plasma screen and ending of the worst road and rail digital notspots.

Every Kent 6th form, college and university will have a mobile and PC/mobile programming course.

How can Kent compete if Kent's youth are not made tech-savvy, and Kent business are not supported and enabled on the digital future?

How can major employers such as Samsung etc even consider Kent or link to Kent's universities or UK exports be stimulated?

Gordon Brown has detailed China producing 11M university graduates each year - the equivalent of the whole UK under-18 population.

In a generation, Kent's youth could be back toiling in the fields again from the failures of their grandparents and parents in developing Kent's economy beyond the cement mixer.

While the development of East Kent Film Office and Studio will further add to the East Kent economy and link to Kent Film Office, Dreamland and Paramount theme park.

The reliance on construction projects and property speculation of housing estates on flood plains is leaving Kent stuck in the past."

Time for Change


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