Port of Dover privatisation plan rejected by government
Dover Harbour Board had
submitted privatisation plans
by Beth Robson
Workers at the Port of Dover received an early Christmas present
today with the news the port will not be privatised.
The government made the announcement that was met with
delight by Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke, who has carried out
his election pledge to save the port.
He said: "The Port of Dover is the gateway to our nation and
should be forever England."
P&O Ferries, which sails from the port, have welcomed the
announcement but Bob Goldfield, chief executive of the Port of
Dover, has said the decision is "frustrating" both for the port and
for the community.
Mr Goldfield said: "Developing the port, providing an important
contribution to the regeneration of Dover, growing and adding value
to the business, were key objectives for the DHB scheme and will
continue to be our focus as we remain as a trust port.
"It is, however, a great pity and a disappointment to the
members of the Dover Harbour Board that the people of Dover will
not now benefit from the injection of many millions of pounds into
local community projects, via our proposed Port of Dover Community
P&O had serious concerns the scheme undermined the
interests of ferry operators who represent 80% of the port's
The ferry company feared higher tariffs could be imposed by a
P&O chief executive Helen Deeble said: "The fundamental
justification for Dover Harbour Board's scheme has always been the
need to raise capital for redevelopment of the Western Docks.
"We have always questioned this argument and note that the
secretary of state has concluded there are other ways to raise
capital without having to privatise."
The secretary of state took the strength of public feeling into
account when making his decision.
Mr Elphicke, who has fought the idea of privatisation for three
years, added: "The very idea that the port should be sold off was
desperate and out of touch.
"Think of the port and the White Cliffs and you think of freedom
and victory over tyranny.
"This magnificent victory is the best Christmas present the
people of Dover could have."
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