“Like everyone, I was shocked to see the election of Rosie Duffield on June 9th. I had bumped into Rosie the previous day and we spoke about the election campaign, where she seemed hopeful she would reduce Brazier’s previous majority of over 9,000. What happened next no one expected, so I was delighted when I had the opportunity to apply for work experience with the Labour (at last!) MP in Canterbury. I applied wanting to learn about the world of local politics, as I was then completely unaware of the amount of work covered by MP’s and their teams.
Admittedly, I was apprehensive when I started, being unaware of what I would be tasked with. However, Rosie’s Senior Parliamentary Advisor dropped me in at the deep-end, asking me to draft letters, research issues, and proof-read documents. I would like to think I quickly developed the skills needed for these tasks and they will certainly help me in jobs I later apply for. Though, for me, the highlight was accompanying Rosie to the Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham. There, we spoke with the CEO Jonathan Neame, who explained to us the extent to which government policy influences the hospitality industry; this was a side to politics I had not seen before.
Having personally considered a future career in politics, I can now say I have been well and truly enthused. I have realised how being an MP is busy and demanding, but Rosie deals with it perfectly, demonstrating what it is to be a good constituency MP.”
Freddy Waters, Work Experience Student
Yesterday, Rosie went to meet Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame Brewery and Chairman of Visit Kent. Mr Neame gave Rosie a guided tour of his family’s historic brewery, the natural brewing process and they discussed the importance of Kent’s hop-growing and brewing heritage. Rosie was also delighted to see the brewery’s use of local sign makers, shipwrights and other craftsmen in providing services and products to be used on the Shepherd Neame site.
During their meeting Rosie and Mr. Neame had an enthusiastic dialogue about the issues facing the local hospitality industry. They discussed how archaic taxation systems are causing difficulties for the UK pub and hospitality industry; the current regulations are seen by many to encourage people to drink low-price, low quality spirits at home, turning away from fermented drinks.
Rosie believes that supporting a thriving hospitality industry is vital for Canterbury and Whitstable. The hospitality industry is a key employer of 18-25 year olds and enfranchising younger workers in our community is vital for economic sustainability. Pubs landlords are often community champions, and good pubs, which often serve excellent locally-sourced food, should be celebrated. There is a world of difference between consuming alcohol in moderation, within a caring venue, and drinking to excess with the sole ambition of inebriation. Rosie agreed with Mr. Neame that current tax legislation penalised pubs (10,000 pubs have closed since 2007) where often the problem with heavy drinking lies elsewhere. It also is clear that where the hospitality and brewing industry is hit by heavy taxation, the digital sector continues to evade the government’s coffers. On both drinking behaviours and taxation policy, Mr Neame said the government should “deal with today’s problems and solve tomorrow’s”. Rosie couldn’t agree more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]