New Kent Medical School a “massive benefit to students and patients”, says Craig

South Thanet’s Member of Parliament, Craig Mackinlay MP, has welcomed the news that Kent will host one of five brand new medical schools.

The Kent Medical School, based at the Universities of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church, will open its doors to 100 student doctors in 2020.

Kent has been chosen as part of a rigorous bidding process to help place more medical students in areas which traditionally struggle to attract doctors, particularly rural and coastal areas.

It will mean that, for the first time, Kent will have its own medical school, delivering benefits not just for the local area but also for NHS patients.

Previous studies show that doctors tend to remain in the areas they trained in.

Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

CM with doctors at Kent and Canterbury Hospital Nov15.jpg

“A Medical School for Kent is fantastic news and a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to addressing regional imbalance across England.

This educational facility will be key to the training and retention of 100 new doctors and will be of massive benefit to both Kent students and patients alike.”

Further information about health and care careers is available on: and

My thoughts on Thanet District Council, International Women's Day and the Church Hill Dental Practice closures

As a Conservative I am obviously delighted that we have taken, albeit minority, control of Thanet District Council. The mantra I would recommend to Bob Bayford and his new team is to do what people expect of their council well, as an entity to try to say ‘yes’ in as few words as possible rather than express over pages of local government patois the reason for a ‘no’, ensure value for money across all that is done, and focus on those difficult issues, be they the Local Plan, Ramsgate Port, Manston airport, parking and housing to come to common-sense decisions for the benefit of local residents. I very much look forward to working with the new team whom I’m sure will work positively with KCC and other Kent MPs. As can only be imagined, my relationship with the previous administration was, to put it mildly, somewhat strained.

The last couple of weeks have been very much constituency focussed, despite my usual ongoing work in Parliament on national issues – Brexit, pensions, health and taxation. We are coming to terms and seeking explanations for the appalling chemical weapon use in Salisbury which has rightly led to international condemnation of the Russian regime which is looking increasingly like a failed and rogue state.
I was pleased to have supported International Women’s Day on Thursday 8th March, a date that often passes by unsung but particularly important this year as we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the first votes for women in 1918 following the courageous work of the suffragettes. South Thanet Conservative Association held an International Women's Day 2018 event, with the Rt Hon Priti Patel as guest speaker, and we were delighted to raise £1,000 for the Margate based Oasis Domestic Abuse Charity who provide invaluable support across East Kent.

I had a great session with politics students in year 12 at Chatham and Clarendon school. We had a lively debate on the role of an MP, what my working week involves and discussions on topical political issues that could have continued way beyond the allocated hour. In advance of the tourist season, I held a street meeting with local residents and Cllr Lesley Game (Thanet and KCC) to discuss solutions to the parking problems faced by residents in and around the Botany Road area as tourists flock to our fantastic beaches.

East Kent College held an East Kent Business leaders lunch where we discussed all manner of opportunities and threats to the East Kent economy, and finally on the local round up I called for a meeting of the relevant health bodies behind the impending closure of Church Hill Dental Practice. I was unimpressed with the explanations given as to how we are now where we are, leaving up to 8,000 patients without an obvious and accessible alternative.

I hope all enjoyed the weekend’s St. Patrick’s day celebrations. I expect the tills were ringing across the towns but serious issues are being raised as to the viability of local pubs, an issue I contributed to on Radio Kent. Use them or lose them is key but the tax system relating to them certainly requires review.

7500 children in Kent are now benefiting from 30 hours of free childcare

South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, has welcomed new figures showing that around 7500 children are benefiting from the Government’s 30 hours free childcare offer in Kent.

The offer saves working families around £5,000 per year per child and saw over 200,000 children benefit nationally in its first term. There are now nearly 300,000 children in 30 hours places in England. It’s backed by a record investment of £6 billion per year in childcare, which includes an extra £1 billion per year by 2020 to deliver the free entitlements.

High quality childcare not only helps children get the best start in life, but also supports many parents who want or need to work. Beneficiaries of the scheme have reported improved family finances as well as a better work-life balance.

Alongside introducing and increasing the National Living Wage, and raising the personal tax allowance, childcare support is one of a number of ways this Government is helping families with the cost of living.


Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

“For many parents, being able to afford good-quality childcare is essential to working and supporting their families. It’s not just an issue, but the issue, and I know from speaking with families in Kent what a difference 30 free hours is making. Reliable childcare gives parents peace of mind and makes day to day life that bit easier.

“We want to help people with the cost of living. That’s why this government is spending more money on childcare than ever before, helping parents to balance their home and working lives whilst ensuring more children get the best possible start in life.” 

Craig celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

This National Apprenticeship Week, Craig Mackinlay MP is celebrating the vital contribution of apprentices in his South Thanet constituency.

Since 2010 there have been 5430 apprenticeship starts in South Thanet, and over 1.2 million new apprenticeship starts nationally since 2015. Take up of higher-level apprenticeships in 2016-17 was up by nearly 35 per cent compared to 2015 -16.

CM1 at National Apprentice Week Mar18.jpg

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Conservative Government’s strategy to expand opportunity and develop the skilled workforce the country needs. This includes working with industry to deliver an ambitious target of 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

But we know there is still more to do, which is why we recently launched an education and funding review that will help people make more effective choices between the different options available to them, promoting parity of esteem between technical and academic pathways.

Craig Mackinlay MP said:

“Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn, and open doors to highly skilled, rewarding careers.

“That is why I am so pleased there have been around 5430 apprentice starts in South Thanet since 2010 - 780 of these were in the last year alone.

“This Government’s reforms are not only increasing apprenticeship numbers, but also driving up the quality of apprenticeships, meaning they have real value in the jobs market.

“We must continue to work hard to ensure everyone can get on in life, and go as far as their talents and hard work can take them.”

My thoughts on fishing policy post-Brexit, the Church Hill Dental Practice and National Apprenticeship Week

Whilst we escaped the very worst of the weather in Thanet, the ‘beast from the east’ gave us an unexpected sting to the tail end of winter. The unusual pressure system from eastern Russia stopped the usual west to east jet stream from flowing. It is this jet stream that keeps the UK temperate beyond that which our northerly latitude would dictate, so was a truly rare event. As ever, we’re rarely prepared with train services often the first casualty. Our third rail power pick-up system across the network is inherently flawed, and is all too easily fallible, and I doubt, if rail infrastructure were to be constructed afresh, that this would be the preferred system. We are where we are; we would similarly grumble if national and local authorities invested billions in infrastructure and equipment only to see it unused for years. The bad weather makes the world slow down a little, which can be welcome, and brings out the best in community spirit and neighbourly camaraderie.

I promised to report on my recent trip to Brussels as part of regular Brexit Select Committee meetings with Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt. Both charming characters, but a fairly fruitless exercise, with the same mantras of ‘no divergence allowed’, ‘adherence to the Customs Union and Single Market’, and ‘Brexit in Name Only’ the offer. I don’t think the EU is serious about a deal, bizarre given the huge trade surplus the EU27 enjoy with us as one of their best export markets; we should similarly be honest with ourselves and plan to walk away. I was encouraged by the Prime Minister’s speech of last week, with the UK’s red lines of taking back control of our borders, laws and money firmly in place. It was a disappointment that Labour are prepared to stay in the Customs Union, effectively taking the prospect of the biggest Brexit dividend – that of negotiating new international trade deals with old and new friends permanently off of the table. I can only imagine how that is sitting with Labour voters who supported Brexit.

In Parliament I gave robust contributions in debates about live animal exports and post-Brexit fishing policy. There are few constituencies in the UK so affected as South Thanet by these issues. Links to my speeches easily available online.

The looming problem of the closure of Ramsgate’s Church Hill Dental Practice at the end of March is, rightly, of concern to thousands of patients with many sending me copies of their blunt letters of advice received from the service provider. I have a meeting with NHS England this week. In my early analysis, this has been handled appallingly. It is late in the day, with closure just weeks away and I but wish I had been informed months ago. I will be doing all I can to salvage something positive from this fiasco.

It is National Apprenticeship Week, and figures show significant uptake of apprenticeship opportunities across Thanet. East Kent College plays an important part in this success, so congratulations to them. Interestingly, new figures show that those taking up apprenticeships in construction and engineering are likely to earn more than many who decide to go to University. Certainly food for thought for those thinking about options for the future.