Premier Inn, Spa Gardens and Theatre openings and Prime Minister visits Port
I was delighted to be invited to the opening of the new Premier Inn on Undercliff Road along with local Mayor Doreen Savage. I believe that Premier Inn coming to town is further proof that Felixstowe is on the up and is becoming a more attractive destination for visitors. By their own estimates, the new hotel could attract 20,000 guests a year which is great news for local businesses. I’m confident our new guests will see a town with a lot going for it. This news of course comes hot on the heels of the Spa Gardens being redeveloped, the Spa Pavilion Theatre re-opening and plans being submitted for the old boating lake to be turned into an events area. There are exciting times ahead for Felixstowe! The one area where Felixstowe is still struggling is to get a replacement mobile phone mast. The council has been considering some applications. I hope it gives full support to siting a new mast. The Prime Minister was in town recently marking 100 days to the EU referendum. He visited the port to speak to workers and explain why Britain is stronger and safer inside a reformed EU. I was pleased he came to our port as it reinforced his message that he could not think of a more appropriate location in which to highlight the importance of Britain remaining a member of the world’s largest trading bloc. Britain is and has always been a trading nation and Felixstowe is the largest container port in the country. Over a quarter of all exports from the port are bound for other EU countries which is why maintaining our EU membership is crucial not only for our prosperity here in Suffolk, but for the whole of the United Kingdom. His point has been further underlined by the owner of the port, Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing who also owns other businesses in the UK like Superdrug, mobile phone provider Three, Suffolk Water, UK Power Networks and other infrastructure businesses. Reporting to his investors, he categorically stated that if Britain votes to leave, then his company would consider scaling back their investment in the UK – strong stuff from (reportedly) the richest person in Asia. We need to encourage and promote investment from across the world into our country. The risk of leaving the EU should be clear on the barriers raised to securing future investment. I hosted a further update meeting with the East of England Ambulance Service. Chief Executive Rob Morton has been in the job for more than 6 months and has had the chance to get his feet under the table. He described a “perfect storm” about to hit response times due to staff being out of action while training. However, he and the Board have taken decisive action on handovers of patients to hospitals. Their new policy may mean patients travel further but with the outcome that they will be treated more quickly and the ambulance can get back out on the road to help more patients waiting for a response. Finally, there has been some good news for savers recently. One of the largest shake-ups of savings accounts for a generation will see people able to earn up to £1,000 interests on their savings tax free. This will mean 95% of people will no longer pay any tax on their savings thanks to these Government reforms.
Submitted by MP Therese Coffey