Michael has welcomed the news that unemployment in Sevenoaks remains at historically low levels.
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, there were 385 claimants of unemployment benefit in Sevenoaks in December. This puts the constituency among the constituencies with the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
The number of unemployed people has fallen by over 10% since the general election and over 60% since 2010.
Michael said: “This is welcome news that shows our local economy and jobs market remain reassuringly robust. At a time of economic uncertainty, more people than ever before have the security of a pay packet and the ability to provide for their families.”
In his latest column for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Michael has written about the need to build on Sevenoaks’ progress this year:
2016 was a very successful year for Sevenoaks. In an unsettled year nationally, our local economy remained strong, with unemployment falling to another record low.
Though there will be challenges, I believe 2017 could be even better.
After so many years of campaigning, in September our new grammar school annexe will finally open. I visited the site just before Christmas and I could already see that it will be a great addition to the remarkable range of high-quality school choice that is now on offer in Sevenoaks. There is still more to do to secure grammar provision for boys, though, and that will be one of my top priorities this year.
Meanwhile, discussions on the new rail franchise will be a great opportunity to lobby for the extension of the Oyster network and the many other rail improvements we want to see. I look forward to continuing to make the case for passengers this year.
With an ageing population increasing pressure on the NHS and our care system, we need to continue to protect Sevenoaks Hospital. It is a much-loved feature of our town – but it also has an important role to play in relieving pressure on facilities at Pembury and Darent Valley. Carrying on making that argument will be vital this year.
Finally, we need to make sure the District Council develops a robust and reasonable Local Plan that will give us the homes we need without encouraging inappropriate development in our town and in our villages in the years to come.
With all of these priorities and more, I am looking forward to continuing to represent Sevenoaks this year. After a successful 2016, let’s build on our achievements in 2017
In a sometimes unsettled year nationally, Sevenoaks, Swanley, Westerham and our villages have continued to go from strength to strength. Unemployment remains at record low levels. Our new grammar annexe is being constructed and will open next year. Our local economy is vibrant and prosperous.
Building on this progress will require more work in the New Year. Bringing fast broadband to all parts of the constituency is still a top priority. We must also continue to work hard to protect our much-loved Green Belt from inappropriate development. Most importantly, though, the spring will see consultation on the new rail franchise and I will use this opportunity to push for the extension of the Oyster network to Sevenoaks.
At the end of a successful year for Sevenoaks and Swanley, I would like to wish all of my constituents a very happy Christmas and New Year. I am always proud to represent this constituency and I look forward to being as active as ever throughout the area in 2017.
In his latest column for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Michael has written about helping young people to develop skills:
Last month, unemployment in Sevenoaks fell to its lowest recorded level. Even more encouragingly, the level of youth unemployment in my constituency is now just one percent, down by over three quarters since 2010.
I am always impressed by the students I meet when I visit schools in Sevenoaks. But academic achievement is only part of the story. To maintain this employment record, our young people need to be given the chance to develop the skills and experiences that it takes to succeed.
Opportunities like National Citizen Service (NCS) are the best way to do that. NCS has already enabled more than 200,000 teenagers, like those I’ve met from Sevenoaks, to take part in adventure challenges, skills development and social action.
Research has shown that nine out of ten participants find their experience worthwhile. But it doesn’t just benefit them. Getting involved is proven to make young people more likely to volunteer, more likely to vote, and more likely to be involved in their community.
Even on a smaller scale, opportunities like this can be found everywhere.
In June I visited Supajam, an innovative project in Swanley which is successfully helping teenagers who have struggled in formal education to learn about the music industry and through it to learn basic lessons in numeracy and literacy. Instead of an uncertain future, the vast majority move into further education, employment or training when they leave.
Earlier this month I joined Westerham Sea Cadets for one of their regular boating sessions on Chipstead Lake. The Sea Cadets offer practical training in the water and the confidence-building and self-esteem that comes with it, as well as valuable courses and certificates.
These opportunities are creating a new generation of well-rounded individuals with the skills they require to succeed. But they also have huge social benefits – strengthening our communities now and into the future.
Michael has welcomed new figures showing unemployment in Sevenoaks has fallen to its lowest recorded level.
Figures released today show that the total number of claimants in June was just 404, equivalent to 0.9 percent of the population.
Unemployment in Sevenoaks is now 10 percent lower than at the general election last year and over 60 percent lower than in May 2010.
Youth unemployment also fell to 65, almost 20 percent down on May last year and over 75 percent lower than it was in 2010.
Michael said: “This is great news. More people in Sevenoaks than ever before now have the security of a pay packet and the ability to provide for their families. There is always more to do but this news shows Sevenoaks is prepared for the economic challenges ahead.”
Last May, I was honoured to be elected for the fifth time as your Member of Parliament.
Since the election, I have continued to work hard on behalf of all of my constituents. I hold two advice surgeries each month, as I have done consistently since 1997, and I regularly raise issues and concerns on your behalf. My Westminster office also deals with hundreds of emails and enquiries every week. I work closely with our county, district, town and parish councillors, as well as other organisations such as Kent Police, the Citizens Advice Bureau and West Kent Housing.
I remain closely involved in campaigns across Sevenoaks and Swanley. From fighting to save Hextable Dance Studio to defending Sevenoaks Hospital, I am proud to support my constituents and fight for our communities.
Supporting our local schools
I am a strong supporter of schools across my constituency. Since the election I have visited schools in Westerham, Sundridge, Swanley, Sevenoaks, and elsewhere to speak to pupils and answer their questions about my work as MP.
Winning our campaign to secure grammar school provision last October was probably my best ever day as your MP. This decision was long in coming but the priority now is to get this annexe built and open for local parents and pupils. My next goal is to secure grammar provision for boys and I am working on this.
Getting a better deal for commuters
Our ageing railways cause a huge amount of frustration for commuters and passen
gers. Disruption may be the price of the vital work at London Bridge – but passengers need to know why they are delayed and what is being done about it. I was concerned to learn on a recent train cab ride that drivers are often unable to inform passengers about ongoing disruption and slow running while their train is in operation. Making sure drivers and passengers have rapid, clear and sufficent information is essential. I will continue to raise these issues with Southeastern to make rail travel easier for my constituents.
Bringing Oyster to Sevenoaks was another promise I made at the general election. Rail passengers have waited long enough and I will be meeting the Rail Minister again shortly to push for a definite date.
Fighting for our NHS services
I am committed to our local NHS. We need to see more services in Sevenoaks, not fewer. That’s why I have continued to defend Sevenoaks Hospital against the threat of closure. The withdrawal of some clinics was concerning but I have secured assurances that these vital services will continue to be available for local people.
Protecting GP services is also important. There is a review of GP provision underway and I will ensure the views of local people are fully represented. The NHS is so much more than the big district hospitals like Pembury and Darent Valley; it works best where it is local and loved.
Boosting our local economy
In Sevenoaks and Swanley, our local economy is strong. Compared with 2010, there are 600 fewer people out of work, including 200 fewer young unemployed, and we have 600 more businesses. I see evidence of this progress on each of my regular constituency days. Since the election, I have visited businesses, shops and local sites throughout the constituency and I have more visits already planned for the next few months.
But there is still more to do to support our local economy. Broadband is a key issue that businesses and the Chamber of Commerce continue to raise with me. I have recently begun a fresh campaign to demand further action from BT. We need to make sure our local businesses and those who work from home have the broadband they need to thrive, wherever they are based.
This has been a successful year for Sevenoaks and Swanley. Unemployment in the constituency has continued to fall in the last twelve months from 492 to 435. And we have had other very positive news too.
In particular, I welcome the Government’s decision to approve Weald of Kent Grammar School’s application to open an annexe in Sevenoaks. This long-awaited decision will lead to more school places and more choice for local parents and pupils. There must now be no further delay.
Of course, there is still more work to do. From aircraft noise to local healthcare, I am committed to ensuring that the interests of my constituents are properly represented. I also remain resolute in my desire to secure the extension of the Oyster network to Sevenoaks and I will be meeting with the relevant organisations in the spring to seek further progress towards this ambition.
I look forward to continuing to serve Sevenoaks and Swanley in Parliament in 2016. I would like to wish all of my constituents a very happy Christmas and New Year.
Michael was very pleased that figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people out of work in Sevenoaks fell again this month.
The unemployment rate in the Sevenoaks constituency is now just 0.9%. The number of people unemployed has fallen by almost 20% so far this year and is now 58% lower than in 2010. Youth unemployment has also fallen by a third since the same month last year.
Michael said: “It is extremely good news that unemployment in Sevenoaks has fallen once again this month. I also welcome the fact that unemployment across the country is now at a seven-year low, while the employment rate is the highest since records began. Sevenoaks is continuing to experience the benefits of the Government’s long-term economic plan to support hardworking people.”
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.”
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.”