Michael has welcomed the extra funding for Kent announced today by the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
The announcement comes after Michael and other Kent MPs pressed the Communities Secretary to release additional funding in the forthcoming Local Government Finance Settlement and follows his visit to Sevenoaks yesterday morning.
In recognition of the growing need for Social Care, the Government is providing an extra £166 million Social Care Grant to Local Authorities across England for 2018/19. Kent will get an additional £3.9 million next year.
Additionally, Kent County Council will benefit from being one of just 12 authorities piloting the retention of Business Rates, which is expected to generate around £25 million next year.
The Sevenoaks MP has also applied pressure on the Home Office to step up its support. In a letter sent last week, Sir Michael said: “Kent continues to support more young asylum seekers than any authority in the country.
This is a national cost being covered by Kent residents. Current grant funding from the Home Office is not adequate.”
Michael has pressed the Home Secretary Amber Rudd for an additional £8.6 million.
Michael recently attended a Swanley FC football training session to show his support for a new initiative to provide young people in Swanley with free access to a range of sports around the town.
The initiative is funded by Kent Police and the Crime Commissioners Office under one of PCC Mathew Scott’s grant initiatives.
The programme is designed to get young people involved in positive activities and provide them with just a taste of what activities Swanley has to offer. Each activity runs for 6 weeks and the Town Council are currently providing Football on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday Lunch Times, Boxing Sessions on a Tuesday Evening and Survival Skills on a Saturday. Working with the local Rugby Club, Junior Rugby Sessions will be available from March along with Tennis provided by a local Tennis Coach.
Michael attended a training session for 5-7 year olds run by Swanley FC coaches. Michael said: “It was great to see such enthusiastic kids even in driving rain. Getting them outside is the key. Let’s hope some will go on to play for local youth teams”.
The funding has so far enabled six coaches to train in Football and Rugby, and 50 young people each week are learning new skills.
In addition to free sports sessions, the funding will pay for equipment such as rackets, trainers and sports strips, and will contribute to the transport costs of getting young people where they need to be.
Michael recently met the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, in Parliament.
The pair reviewed Mr Scott’s recent funding proposals for Kent Police and issues affecting Michael’s constituency casework. The local MP was also happy to hear about the good progress of the new Police Constables in Sevenoaks, whom he had inspected during their Passing Out Parade last year.
Michael pressed Mr Scott to roll out a more effective speed prevention system in villages such as Otford and Brasted. He welcomed the introduction of TruCam – a smart speedwatch system that administers on-the-spot fines to repeat offenders – but called for more immediate action.
Michael said: “Kent Police is getting the funding to increase the number of officers patrolling our streets. But speeding remains a menace. So it’s important that some of this money is put towards rolling out more effective tools for stopping speeders.”
Michael has welcomed the news that Sevenoaks Town Council has secured a £755,600 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant towards the refurbishment of the Bat & Ball Station Building.
The Bat & Ball Station Building is a Victorian property constructed in 1862. It was the first station in Sevenoaks and used by Queen Victoria when visiting Knole. It has been boarded up since 1991 and gradually deteriorated.
Having helped the Town Council secure the funding, Michael offered his congratulations.
He said: “Regeneration projects require huge community effort just to get off the ground. So I congratulate the Town Council for securing the funding it needs for the project to go ahead and I look forward to visiting the station in the New Year.”
The restored building will provide public toilets, two community rooms, and a café selling Kent produce and heritage information. It will also have the ability to sell train tickets. Currently there is only a ticket machine. All of these facilities should encourage more people to use the station.
The project is on track to be completed in September 2018.