Looking to the year ahead there are many exciting things to look forward to.
Since being elected in 2010, I have worked hard to improve the Dartford Crossing and this year will see two major historic changes.
In March, local business owners and residents will benefit from a £20 annual local residents discount scheme. This is the first time small businesses have been given any help with the cost of using the Crossing and will enable them to have unlimited free crossings once the £20 has been paid. I hope this addition to the current local residents scheme will go a long way to improving life for small businesses.
Secondly, in October, the tolls booths will be removed to allow free-flowing traffic. I hope the removal of the booths will make a significant difference to traffic flow in North Kent as well as ease pollution at the Crossing. I think we need to wait and see the effects of these changes before any decision is made on a second Thames crossing.
This year will also see Bluewater start its expansion creating thousands of new jobs for the area and there will be news on plans for the Swanscombe peninsula.
Last October saw unemployment at its lowest level since I was elected and this week I am visiting Dartford’s Job Centre to see the initiatives they are putting in place to ensure the number of people out of work continues to fall.
This year I will continue to hold regular Open Surgeries and Community forums. Details of these can be found on my website at www.garethjohnsonmp.co.uk