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Kent CC is teaming up with other local authorities in the area to expand the region's assisted area status, reports...
Kent CC is teaming up with other local authorities in the area to expand the region's assisted area status, reports The Guardian (p18).

The authorities in Kent fear that 5,000 jobs may be lost in the Dover area with the end of duty-free concessions. The closure of the Ramsgate-to-Ostend Sally Ferries service will cause further damage to the local economy.

Local authorities believe that extra funding - potentially tens of millions of pounds - is essential to attract new jobs to the region and to prevent the level of unemployment, currently running at 9.4%, from rising even further.

The county council is masterminding a bid to get the government to maintain the assisted area status for Swale, Thanet, Dover and Shepway, while extending it to include Herne Bay, Whitstable, Medway and parts of Dartford and Gravesham.

The local authorities say that Kent, despite its air of prosperity created by London commuters, is just as much in need of government and European Commission aid at the north-east.

The county has lost many jobs in recent years due to the decline in traditional industries, and the Royal Navy's departure from the Chatham Dockyards in the 1980s, which cost 18,000 jobs.

Authorities hope that infrastructure-spending coupled with the region's proximity to the European mainland will bring other firms to the area.

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