I congratulate all three candidates on getting through to the final selection meeting on Sunday 10th November and I look forward to greeting the winner.
The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access and which would be supported by £500 million investment from Government.
Sir Michael backed this cross-party initiative and wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.
Sir Michael said: “My constituents in rural areas cannot be cut off because of where they live. Our local economy depends on people being connected online – this initiative will help more people stay connected with fast and reliable mobile coverage.”
A final agreement between Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.
Kent County Council is seeking views on a proposal to expand Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys by increasing the Published Admission Number (PAN) from 210 places to 300 places, facilitated by the establishment of a satellite of the school on the Wildernesse site in Sevenoaks from September 2021.
The public consultation will run for a period of 6 weeks from 28th October 2019 and will conclude at midday on 6th December 2019. You can take part by emailing your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcoming the consultation, Sir Michael said: “This could be the key breakthrough. Far too many boys from the Sevenoaks area have to travel back and forwards to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, at a huge cost in both time and money. If it was right to have the girls’ annex, then it must be right to provide for boys too. Grammar schools should be allowed to expand like any other school.”
Sir Michael Fallon met members of Sevenoaks District Senior Action Forum on the morning of 18th October to discuss the concerns of older residents in the constituency.
The group were particularly concerned about how loneliness impacts the elderly but praised the work of volunteers who runs pop-in cafes in the constituency. These give residents an opportunity to socialise and also give information about benefits, safety and using the internet.
There was some concern about the future of these services, but with the announcement of £2 million from the Government this week for organisations tackling loneliness it is hoped that more funding can be secured for organisations like the café.
The group finished by presenting Sir Michael and Lady Fallon with flowers as a thank you for their service to the constituency over the years.
Sir Michael also met with residents and staff at St John’s Cottage, an assisted living facility for adults with learning disabilities.
Sir Michael was given a tour of the premises before hearing the concerns of residents and the work the Sevenoaks Voices to be Heard Group, a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, has been doing as part of the #WalkInOurShoes campaign. This campaign has been launched to encourage society and policymakers to consider the issues faced by people with learning difficulties when making decisions that will affect them.
He said: “It was a pleasure to meet residents and staff from St John’s Cottage last Friday. Their #WalkInOurShoes campaign is a fantastic initiative to raise much needed awareness regarding the concerns of adults with learning disabilities.”
On the weekend of 26-27 October, the M20 between junctions 7-9 on the London-bound carriageway will be closed overnight. The coast-bound carriageway will remain unaffected. This will ensure that Operation Brock can be implemented safely. Operation Brock will become active on Monday 28 October.
Sir Michael Fallon today (Monday 30th September) welcomed the opening of a new access ramp to platform 1 at Bat & Ball station.
The new access ramp, which was formally opened by the Mayor of Sevenoaks, will for the first time permit step-free access to both platforms of the station.
Attending the opening, Sir Michael said: “It is vital that those less able to take the stairs are properly accommodated for. This is an important step forward for Bat & Ball, and I will continue to push for easier access at all stations in my constituency.”
Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon this week met with Michael Gove, Chairman of the Government’s Brexit Preparations Committee, to press for further reassurance that the A25 will be kept clear in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Sir Michael outlined his concerns about the potential use of the M26 as a lorry park, and has attended Operation Brock meetings with fellow Kent MPs, the Department for Transport, HMRC and the Kent Resilience Forum regularly. Those meetings will intensify as the Brexit deadline of October 31 approaches.
Sir Michael has demanded greater reassurance from the Government, and warned: “There are eight schools along the A25 in my constituency, and the road is already very congested at peak times. The current level of traffic will only be made worse by an increase from the ports in the East.”
One of the great pleasures I take in being your MP is hearing about the growing number of success stories there are for our local businesses that make Sevenoaks much more than a commuter town. I was delighted to attend the Sevenoaks Business Awards on Friday 13th September to celebrate the training and development of businesses, established as well as new, and I wish all of the nominees every success in the future.
Sadly I have decided that this parliament will be my last. I have served as an MP, for both Darlington and Sevenoaks, for more than 30 years – quite long enough. I want to thank all my constituents for their support and encouragement. Wendy and I will continue to live in the constituency and to be involved locally.
If an immediate election is called, I will not therefore be a candidate. My letter to my Conservative Chairman is attached.
Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon welcomes news that Sevenoaks will receive a spending boost of £219 per pupil following the Prime Minister’s promise of an additional £14bn in school funding over the next three years.
Every school will see its budget increase ahead of inflation next year which will make a big difference to our primary and secondary schools in Sevenoaks.
Mr Johnson has pledged to raise the minimum spent on each primary school pupil to £4,000 a year, with secondary pupils getting £5,000 a head. This will level up per pupil funding across the country so every child in Sevenoaks receives a world class education.
The cash boost will also mean £700 million extra for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in 2020/21, so every pupil in Sevenoaks can access the education that is right for them, and none are held back from reaching their potential.
Sir Michael has campaigned with Kent County Council in the F40, a campaign group that wants fairer funding across all education authorities. The group is made up of the 42 lowest-funded councils.