Michael Welcomes New Local Unemployment Figures

Sir Michael Fallon MP has welcomed new figures showing that unemployment in Sevenoaks remains at an historic low.

The figures, released by the Office National Statistics and Nomis database, show that unemployment in Sevenoaks has decreased by 63 per cent since 2010 and 11 per cent since May 2015.  Sevenoaks has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Michael said: ‘These figures reflect a very robust local economy as we enter the Brexit negotiations.  A country that works for everyone enables people the security of employment and the ability to provide for their family.  I will continue to keep a close eye on our unemployment rates.’

Michael Cautiously Welcomes Night Flight Proposals

Sir Michael Fallon MP has cautiously welcomed Government proposals on night flight restrictions for Gatwick airport.

His comments anticipate the release of the Department of Transport’s Airspace Modernisation consultation document later this month.

The proposals on the Government’s role in setting noise controls at Gatwick airport from October 2017 to 2022 have been outlined in a consultation document called Night Flight Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, published earlier this year.

Michael said: ‘This report contains several proposals that I hope will be introduced as soon as possible. Measures such as noise quotas could lead to improvement for everyone. But I remain concerned about any changes that would lead to more of my constituents being affected by noise. I will continue to make representations in any future consultation.’

Michael Helps to Open Trinity’s New Building

Opening Ceremony (89) - editMichael joined school governors, local supporters and representatives from churches across Sevenoaks as he helped to open Trinity School’s new building last Friday.

After giving a reading in a service led by the Bishop of Rochester, he participated in a balloon release and helped to plant an olive tree in the school’s grounds.

Michael said: “I was very pleased to help to open Trinity School’s new building.  This event was the culmination of many years of effort from local parents and volunteers and this excellent new building is the result of their work.  School choice is expanding in Sevenoaks and I look forward to seeing Trinity going from strength to strength in the years to come.”

Launch of Swanley in Bloom

IMG_0156Michael helped to launch Swanley in Bloom on Saturday on a visit to the town centre.

He was accompanied by Cllr Victor Southern as he met local representatives and the team from Coolings Garden Centre, which sponsors the event.

Michael said: “I was delighted to help to launch Swanley in Bloom.  This event has a very important role to play in making local people proud of their community and getting people interested in gardening.  I look forward to hearing more about its progress in the coming months.”

Michael Congratulates Small Business on National Award

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Michael with the team from Chevening Financial. (credit: Russell Harper)

Michael visited Chevening Financial in Sundridge on Friday to congratulate them on becoming the first ever recipient of the Small Business Big Heart Award.

He was met by representatives including David Hawes-Gatt, Managing Director of Chevening Financial, and heard about the business’ work and contribution to the community.

Chevening Financial secured the title after stiff competition from small businesses across the UK.  It was selected as the winner in recognition of its eight-year long programme of community support.  This includes taking housebound pensioners out for shopping and socialising, with Mr Hawes-Gatt clocking up 4,000 miles in total to date.  The company is donating its £1,000 prize money to DEBRA, a charity it supports which helps people with the genetic skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

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Michael with David Hawes-Gatt and Lucie Robson from DEBRA. (credit: Russell Harper)

Michael said: “I was delighted to be able to congratulate David and his team at Chevening Financial in person for receiving this award.  Becoming a regional finalist was impressive; winning the national competition is a quite remarkable achievement.  I am proud that a business in my constituency is playing such an active role in the community and I look forward to hearing more about its work in the future.”

On his latest day in his constituency, Michael also discussed healthcare with local  commissioners, visited the Parents’ Consortium in Hextable and met representatives from Swanley Town Council.

Michael Welcomes New Unemployment Figures

Unemployment Jan 17Michael has welcomed the news that unemployment in Sevenoaks remains at historically low levels.

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, there were 385 claimants of unemployment benefit in Sevenoaks in December.  This puts the constituency among the constituencies with the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

The number of unemployed people has fallen by over 10% since the general election and over 60% since 2010.

Michael said: “This is welcome news that shows our local economy and jobs market remain reassuringly robust.  At a time of economic uncertainty, more people than ever before have the security of a pay packet and the ability to provide for their families.”

Michael Welcomes Funding for Fort Halstead

Michael has welcomed the Government’s decision to provide over one and a half million pounds for the redevelopment of Fort Halstead.

The announcement came as the Government allocated £102 million of Local Growth Deal funding for nineteen projects in the South East.

The £1.53 million for Fort Halstead will enable the building of 450 homes, a hotel, a new village centre and a business park with 1,100 high-tech jobs, making it Sevenoaks’ largest new employment site.

Michael said: “This is excellent news for Sevenoaks.  Redeveloping Fort Halstead is a key local priority.  This funding will kickstart the process, delivering the new housing and jobs we need in the area.”

Michael Welcomes Youth Council to Parliament

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Michael with members of the Sevenoaks Youth Council in Parliament.

Michael yesterday welcomed members of the Sevenoaks Youth Council to Westminster.

Led by Sevenoaks Town Council Chief Executive Linda Larter, the group received a tour of the Palace of Westminster before meeting Michael in one of Parliament’s historic committee rooms.

Michael answered questions on a range of topics relating to his responsibilities as Secretary of State for Defence, including North Korea, cyber security and nuclear proliferation.

The group were also able to watch Michael from the public gallery in the House of Commons as he answered questions from MPs.

Michael said: “I was delighted to welcome members of Sevenoaks Youth Council to Parliament.  With their perceptive and intelligent questions, they showed that young people in my constituency are increasingly interested in major political issues.  I always enjoy welcoming people to see how Parliament works and look forward to hosting more schools and community groups soon.”

Column: Building On Our Achievements In 2017

In his latest column for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Michael has written about the need to build on Sevenoaks’ progress this year:

2016 was a very successful year for Sevenoaks. In an unsettled year nationally, our local economy remained strong, with unemployment falling to another record low.

Though there will be challenges, I believe 2017 could be even better.

After so many years of campaigning, in September our new grammar school annexe will finally open. I visited the site just before Christmas and I could already see that it will be a great addition to the remarkable range of high-quality school choice that is now on offer in Sevenoaks. There is still more to do to secure grammar provision for boys, though, and that will be one of my top priorities this year.

Meanwhile, discussions on the new rail franchise will be a great opportunity to lobby for the extension of the Oyster network and the many other rail improvements we want to see. I look forward to continuing to make the case for passengers this year.

With an ageing population increasing pressure on the NHS and our care system, we need to continue to protect Sevenoaks Hospital. It is a much-loved feature of our town – but it also has an important role to play in relieving pressure on facilities at Pembury and Darent Valley. Carrying on making that argument will be vital this year.

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Finally, we need to make sure the District Council develops a robust and reasonable Local Plan that will give us the homes we need without encouraging inappropriate development in our town and in our villages in the years to come.

With all of these priorities and more, I am looking forward to continuing to represent Sevenoaks this year. After a successful 2016, let’s build on our achievements in 2017

Christmas and New Year Message

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Michael speaking at the Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce Summer Reception.

In a sometimes unsettled year nationally, Sevenoaks, Swanley, Westerham and our villages have continued to go from strength to strength.  Unemployment remains at record low levels.  Our new grammar annexe is being constructed and will open next year.  Our local economy is vibrant and prosperous.

Building on this progress will require more work in the New Year.  Bringing fast broadband to all parts of the constituency is still a top priority.  We must also continue to work hard to protect our much-loved Green Belt from inappropriate development.  Most importantly, though, the spring will see consultation on the new rail franchise and I will use this opportunity to push for the extension of the Oyster network to Sevenoaks.

At the end of a successful year for Sevenoaks and Swanley, I would like to wish all of my constituents a very happy Christmas and New Year.  I am always proud to represent this constituency and I look forward to being as active as ever throughout the area in 2017.

Sir Michael Fallon MP