Michael welcomed figures released this week showing that tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Sevenoaks and Swanley are now able to benefit from superfast broadband coverage.
The Government and local authorities are investing £1.7 billion to bring superfast broadband to as many people as possible across the UK. The Kent element of the national programme has been allocated over £17 million.
In the Sevenoaks constituency, this will ensure that 14,726 premises will benefit from superfast coverage by June 2017, of which 11,724 have now received coverage. This is in addition to the 23,584 premises that have received it under the commercial programme.
In the three months to June specifically, 1,769 premises across the constituency have gained coverage.
Michael said: “I welcome that the Government’s commitment to superfast broadband expansion is continuing to benefit people across my constituency. It is crucial to keeping our local economy growing and will make life easier, cheaper and faster. I will continue to advocate further expansion over the coming years.”
Michael welcomed new figures showing that 60 people have started their own business after being helped off benefits in his Sevenoaks constituency, with the support of the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance.
Since its introduction in April 2011, the allowance has helped 73,000 people on out of work benefits across the country to set up their own businesses. Individuals are supported by a business mentor and receive 26 weeks of financial support.
Michael said: “It is excellent news that so many people in my constituency have not only left a life on benefits, but have also started to make such a positive contribution to our economic success. This is the latest example of the Government supporting those who want to work. I wish all those who have been helped by the New Enterprise Allowance every success.”
On Friday, Michael visited The Darent Wax Company Limited in his Sevenoaks constituency.
Michael was shown around the site by Anthony Ward, who founded the business in 1984, and manager Louis Finlayson-Green. They discussed how as the local MP he could support the company’s desire to expand into new premises elsewhere in the constituency.
Michael was particularly impressed by the hardworking team, many of whom live locally and whose skills the company are keen to retain.
The company is a leader in the wax industry with its head office and production facilities based in the Sevenoaks constituency.
Michael said: “It was a great pleasure to be shown around Darent Wax by Tony and Louis today. Small- and medium- sized businesses like this are the lifeblood of our local economy, creating more jobs and prosperity, and I will be supporting future expansion in any way I can.”
Michael welcomed the latest figures which were released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that unemployment in the Sevenoaks constituency fell in August.
Unemployment is now 27% lower than in 2014 and 57% lower than in 2010. Youth unemployment has fallen by a third since the same month last year.
Across the country, average earnings increased by 2.9% over the year, the fastest rate since 2002. With figures released yesterday showing inflation at 0.1%, this means that hardworking people have more money in their pockets.
Michael said: “I am very pleased that unemployment in Sevenoaks continues to fall. It is particularly good to see that earnings are growing significantly. While there is always more to be done, the Government’s long-term economic plan to support hardworking people is clearly succeeding in the Sevenoaks constituency.”
Michael was very pleased to attend the annual Sevenoaks Business Awards which was held at Knole Academy on 11th September and celebrated the achievements of a variety of local businesses and individuals.
As Patron of Sevenoaks Town Partnership, which organised the event, he spoke about Sevenoaks’ economic progress and the Government’s support for small businesses.
With 45 entries overall, many categories were extremely competitive. Michael congratulated all of the businesses involved and wished them continued success.
Michael Fallon announced his support for the Sevenoaks Primary New Build campaign on a recent visit to the school.
The school is seeking to raise up to £500,000 to contribute to a new building. The core funding for the new build is being provided by the Education Funding Agency but the school’s fundraising campaign will enable it to extend the Main Hall to support extra-curricular activities and community use of the space, increase the size of the Dining Hall, and introduce shared teaching areas.
As part of their fundraising efforts, the school is holding a family 5k run in Knole Park on Sunday 4th October.
During his visit, Michael said: “I am very pleased to be able to back the Sevenoaks Primary New Build campaign. It is an excellent example of the parents and the community coming together. I wish them all the best of luck for their family 5k run in October.”
Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon opened the new Chartwell Technology Centre in Edenbridge on Friday 24th July. This high-tech firm, established in Westerham in 2009, now employs 30 staff on environmental and security solutions for projects such as the Battersea Power station development, and has now taken on two full-time apprentices.
Michael said: “I’m delighted and proud to open these new premises. Chartwell is exactly the kind of growing high-tech company that we need here in Kent to create new, high value jobs. I wish Chartwell every success in winning new project work at home and abroad.”
Michael was a guest at West Kent Mind’s Annual General Meeting in Sevenoaks on 23rd July. Speaking at the event, Michael praised Mind’s work over the past year and the huge range of its activities. He emphasized Parliament’s commitment that mental health should be taken just as seriously as physical health, and he outlined government support for mental health services: a further £1.25 billion was being ring-fenced for mental health as a result of this year’s Budget, and most of this would go to ensuring that waiting times for treatment and therapy were met. Recruitment of therapists would be improved in each region.
On Thursday 16th July Michael Fallon MP visited London Bridge Station for an update on the current redevelopment and a tour of the site.
The station is being rebuilt as part of the Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme. The Programme is expected to be completed by late 2018 and will provide service users with more space, improved connections to more destinations and importantly, reliable services for commuters.
Michael said: “The scale of the work taking place at London Bridge is impressive and I am reassured of the benefits commuters will experience once the redevelopment has been completed.
Our railways are carrying more passengers than ever before and investment is vital to ensure services operate at their greatest potential for years to come; however I have reminded Network Rail of the need to keep disruption to existing service users at a minimum and I still want to see a discount for season ticket holders who face such a long period of disruption.”
Michael was at Sevenoaks Bus Station to launch the new 401 silver service run by Go Coach – the Sevenoaks bus company. He then rode on the newly purchased bus along the 401 route to Chipstead and back.
Michael said: “I am delighted to see the new bus with its luxury leather seating and wifi. The 401 is my local service from Sundridge to Sevenoaks and I am sure it will now attract much more custom. I congratulate Go Coach on their new investment.