Welcome News: Extra Funding for Kent

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.

Victory as Council Scraps Plan to Axe Buses

Michael has welcomed Kent County Council’s decision to not cut vital bus services after he campaigned to save them.

Council leader Paul Carter committed to reconsidering the plans after more than 17,000 people signed a local petition against the plans.

Mr Carter said he was “passionate about not isolating people in rural communities” and although savings would now need to be made the emphasis would be on “conversation and not consultation.”Vintage Bus

The Council said it had set aside a budget of £500,000 to speak to people, district and parish councils about bus services. Some little used buses could see changes to the way they were run but routes would not be cut at present.  Councillors also pledged to continue a £8.7 million subsidy through the Young Persons Travel Pass.

The council’s funding shift comes after the Government agreed local councils could increase the amount they could raise in council tax without holding a referendum by one per cent. And it follows an announcement which gives Kent the right to retain business rates locally.

Michael said: “I welcome the county council’s commitment to looking at other options. This shows that when people get involved we can win and change minds.”