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.
Michael gave the opening address at the first ever Sevenoaks District Community and Voluntary Awards. He praised extraordinary number of nominations and thanked all those who did so much, so selflessly for our community.
He emphasised the importance of community in bringing us all together and in enhancing collective well-being; he also noted the impact of volunteering on the volunteers themselves who were able to develop their own skills and widen their social base.
To close the evening Michael presented the lifetime achievement award to Sandra Stewart who ran the Brownie Pack in West Kingsdown for 27 years. Due to Sandra’s ill-health her award was collected on her behalf by her daughter Samantha.
Keen to get back to constituency work, Michael held his first Advice Surgery after the General Election. It was a full evening on Friday, meeting constituents who need his support.
Later, Michael called in to inspect the exhibition of the designs for a new Community and Conference Centre in the Bat & Ball area of Sevenoaks. Sevenoaks Town Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions announced a shortlist for the competition recently. You can see the designs and provide feedback on the five concept designs which have been shown anonymously by 11.59pm on Monday 18th May here. The judging panel will shortly make its recommendation to the Town Council and the winning design will be publicly announced on 8th June 2015.
Once the preferred concept design has been chosen then a more detailed plan for both interior and exterior will be produced in approximately 6 months.
Two All Churches Together election hustings with all the Parliamentary Candidates have now been held – one in Hextable for the Swanley group of churches in mid-April and one last night in the United Reformed Church, St John’s Hill for the Sevenoaks Group.
Nearly 200 people attended both meetings and the candidates answered a range of questions covering Christian values, the NHS, local education, housing, foreign aid, Trident and defence, immigration, and the deficit and national debt.