MP launches petition to save Maidstone barracks

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant is launching a petition opposing the closure of Invicta Park Barracks.

The petition calls on the Ministry of Defence to reconsider this decision in light of the negative impact upon some 800 service personnel and their families as well as our County town both economically and socially, and through loss of the army's longstanding civil community support.

Helen said, 'From all of the soundings I have taken so far I know that many local people are concerned about the decision to close Invicta Park Barracks, breaking centuries of military tradition in Maidstone. There is also great affection for the town's vibrant Nepalese community and local people are wanting to show their support for them. I feel duty bound to launch this petition and provide an official platform for people to voice their opposition. I am also sending a survey to around 10,000 randomly selected addresses in the central Maidstone area to allow people to share their views about the proposed closure of Invicta Park Barracks. The survey can be downloaded here http://bit.ly/2kjPxSI and I encourage anyone and everyone to take part.'

The petition is available online at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-maidstone-barracks. Petition forms are also available at Helen Grant's constituency office on the London-bound forecourt of Maidstone East railway station. The petition will be handed in to the Ministry of Defence before Easter this year.

Leader of the Maidstone Nepalese community Mr Dhan Chand issued the following statement;

'We all feel that that this decision will have a devastating impact on our community. We have always been encouraged to take a long term view and create a permanent home here and we have worked so hard for many years to become an integral part of the Maidstone community.

We hope that people from across the borough will use Helen's petition and survey to voice their opposition to the barracks closure and help us to keep Maidstone as our home.'

Lt Col J B Awford (ret), former Commanding Officer of Invicta Park Barracks, said;

'I believe the decision to close Invicta Park Barracks is unsound. It will be a negative step for the army, for Maidstone and, no doubt, for the established Nepalese community.'


  National Cyber Security Centre - 17-02-17

The digital revolution has been undeniably transformational, bringing endless opportunities through vast social and economic change. Like all great revolutions however, it presents new risks to our safety. Moving forward one of our greatest challenges as a nation will be cybercrime.

The UK has one of the most digitally dependent economies in the world, with the sector worth an estimated £118 billion a year. In the past three months alone, there have been nearly 200 recorded cyber-attacks in the UK. This poses a threat not only to our national digital infrastructure but also hampers the confidence of consumers and businesses.

Whilst this is happening on the national stage, it also affects many individuals with breaches of personal information in some of our biggest companies such as Yahoo, TalkTalk, Tesco, and Lloyds, to name just a few. Not to mention the countless numbers of spam emails, text messages and phone calls that many fall victim to every year. It is only natural that when these incidents occur, we question the safety of our personal data and who we are able to trust in protecting it.

The Government have shown a commitment to tackling this issue, with HM the Queen opening the new National Cyber Security Centre this week. The hub aims to improve Britain's resilience to cyber-attacks and protect the economy and wider society.

This is not however a fight that can be fought alone, it requires support from business. 65% of large businesses reported a cyber-attack in the past 12 months. Yet nine out of ten do not have an incident management plan in the event of a cyber breach. Support will be offered by the specialised centre to prioritise tackling this digital challenge.

It is clear that modern day crime has evolved and we must all play our part by remaining vigilant. For more information on how to stay safe online visit: www.getsafeonline.org


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With very best wishes

HELEN GRANT MP

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