Michael has signed a joint letter addressed to the Rail Minister, calling for a ‘major rethink’ of how rail services in London and the South East are operated.
‘Passengers are dissatisfied’, the letter reads, ‘[w]ith insufficient room to stand at times and with some season tickets at more than £6,000, they feel they are not getting value for money. […] It comes as very little surprise that very few customers have confidence in the operator being able to deliver the improvements that are needed.’
Sevenoaks and Swanley feature prominently in the letter, which is signed by 12 Kent MPs. In particular, the MPs support Michael’s campaigns for the rollout of smarter Oyster-style ticketing systems at all stations in the constituency and for Delay Repay 15 to be introduced before 2018.
The joint letter follows the personal recommendations Michael made to the Secretary of State for Transport back in March, in which he called for the new South Eastern franchise to ‘put passengers first’.
Michael said: ‘Signing a joint letter demonstrates the huge number of people affected by poor rail services. Two Cabinet Ministers have signed this letter, including myself. Getting a better deal for rail passengers is a top priority for me locally, and I will ensure it remains a top priority for this Government.’
Read the letter here.
Following the announcement that the Barclays bank branch in Farningham will close in September, Michael has written to the Barclays CEO expressing his disappointment at the decision.
Michael expressed his concern that his constituents may be left without access to the banking services they need, asking what consultations Barclays has held with its customers and businesses before announcing the closure.
‘I am concerned that my constituents have not been sufficiently consulted before the decision was taken by Barclays to close their local branch’, he writes: ‘a strong local economy needs the support of a good local bank.’
Barclays says that its customers have been informed and recommended customers use local Post Offices for their banking services. But Michael urges Barclays to ensure that the local Post Offices ‘meet the full range of customer needs’ for personal customers and businesses in his letter.
The proposed closure of Barclays in Farningham comes two months after Lloyds Bank announced that its New Ash Green branch would close in July. Michael sent a letter along with a petition opposing the closure signed by over 900 people to Lloyds Banking Group calling for answers.
Michael said: ‘This closure may have a huge impact on the lives of people and businesses in Farningham. We need answers from Barclays. I will continue to work with local councillors, businesses and residents, and the Post Office itself, to ensure that my constituents will not be left without the services they rely on.’