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.
Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon has this week criticised Thames Water’s abstraction from the River Darent and called on the company to make a much firmer commitment to reducing chalk stream abstraction.
The River Darent already provides water for hundreds of homes in the Darenth Valley and will face further challenges if new homes are built in the area.
Sir Michael said: “Thames Water must commit to stopping abstraction that impacts on vulnerable chalk streams in order to ensure the Darent’s survival. The Darent is being sucked dry to provide water for London which wouldn’t be needed if Thames did much more to tackle leakage.”
I have today written to the new Transport Secretary to inform him that the cancellation of the South Eastern Franchise must not mean further to delays to vital planned infrastructure spending on our local rail networks. My constituents have been promised faster, higher capacity and more reliable trains – and they must get them.
I have urged the Department for Transport to work with Angel Trains, who stand ready with £1 billion to invest in the delivery of new trains, to give commuters the carriages they deserve.
NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley clinical commissioning group is undertaking a public consultation on their plans to reform urgent care services in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley.
I will be making the CCG aware that a new Urgent Treatment Centre in Gravesham would be too far for my constituents to travel, and that creating one at Darent Valley Hospital is the better option.
You can have your say too here: www.dartfordgraveshamswanleyccg.nhs.uk
Nominations are now open for the Best Small Shops competition.
Best Small Shops’ judges are looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit and positive impact on their community.“
If that sounds like your shop, or one you know, then you can enter by visiting: www.indieretail.uk/best-small-shops/best-small-shops-competition-2019/.
Voting closes on Monday 9th September.
This week I added my name to a letter to the new Prime Minister to urge him to look again at school funding.
There is an imbalance between the amount schools here in Kent receive compared to schools in cities. That needs to change.
There will be an opportunity in the next Spending Review to look again at all areas of our spending commitments, but I am clear that school funding must be a priority. No headteacher should have to face making cuts to simply prevent their school falling into deficit.
At present, cystic fibrosis sufferers cannot access the most advanced medicines to aid their symptoms, Orkambi and Symkevi. NHS England, NICE and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the company which supplies the medicines, have not yet been able to agree a financial compromise.
That is why I have joined fellow MPs to write to both the Health Secretary and the CEO of Vertex to ask the government what else can be done in order to make sure cystic fibrosis sufferers get these drugs without delay by whatever means necessary. Patients must not have to wait for life-changing treatment – and I expect to see a solution swiftly.
This week in Parliament I was pleased to support the Any Disability Sign campaign, which promotes a newly launched symbol to recognise both visible and invisible disabilities. It was designed by Lucy Richards in partnership with the Scottish charity Life Changes Trust.