We’re on a mission to reinvigorate our local economy, foster enterprise and create jobs, combat rising fuel and energy costs and to repair our island’s eco-system.
As we have become more and more reliant upon the mainland more and more of our hard-earned cash has found its way off The Island, never to be seen again. Keeping more of it on The Island will encourage businesses to invest more, leading to more jobs and greater security; especially if those businesses source as much as possible from traders on The Island.
Research by Asda suggests that the average household has around £150 per week of discretionary income. This means that combined we Islanders have around £115 million to spend each year or, put another way, close to £10m per month. We estimate that only 20-25% of this stays on The Island, the rest is spent off The Island.
To compound things, a lot of what we do spend on The Island is spent with multi-national brands. Whilst they provide jobs, only around 20-26% of their profit benefits Islanders in the form of wages. A local retailer, based on The Island, will invest 40-50% of their profits back into The Island.
We’re not saying spend less with the national brands, they have their place. However we are saying that we can all do more to support our local retailers; we also believe that had we more choice, we’d spend more of our money with homegrown businesses. We therefore wish to encourage enterprise and also to give Islanders more and more reasons to support The Island’s more creative and entrepreneurial residents.
The Island’s land once provided all the needs for its residents. There is no reason why it could not provide many of these needs again. Turning land over to growing produce, for consumption on The Island, is a priority.
We need to capitalise on the £156million invested in the new crossing and the Academy. The bridge has brought more people onto The Island but not more businesses and so we need to help local businesses extract more value from the new bridge. The Academy is making steady progress on its road to recovery and the team there are working hard to improve our children’s education and inspire them to succeed. They need the support of us as parents, as business people and as socially aware residents to help show more-and-more of The Island’s youth that there is hope for them on The Island and that if they are of a mind to, if they are disciplined and respectful in their approach they can carve out a successful future for themselves without having to leave The Island.
It’s also important to capitalise on the appeal of The Island to visitors and really play on The Island’s history, its natural beauty, its significance to the birdwatching community, costal features and its maritime roots to attract more visitors willing to spend money on The Island.
Fuel and energy costs continue to spiral and with the worlds limited natural resources being in greater demand then there is not much scope to reduce prices anytime soon. Recognising this leads us to believe that we have to act in order to reduce our current usage and find alternative and more sustainable methods of heating our homes, powering our gadgets and fuelling our vehicles.
Sheppey’s eco-system was much richer than it is today with large forests areas, providing a valuable source of income to local foresters. Working with the local authorities to plant new forests, replace hedgerows and develop coppice woodlands, for sustainable alternative fuel sources, will create jobs and improve our environment.
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