Welcome to my July newsletter.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of jobs in Kent have been supported through a range of Government-backed schemes. For context on the sheer scale of the challenge, 10,400 jobs across Sevenoaks have been supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Linked to this, 3,700 claims have been made for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, at a total value of £12,400,000. This support has been critical for so many - but given the progress we have made with the virus it is now right that we try to restart the economy. I have visited a number of businesses this month who have adapted amazingly, and I know we will all go out and support them as they open up at this incredibly challenging time.
Further to our discussions on antisocial behaviour, this month I launched my four-point plan. While a rise in antisocial behaviour has been seen across the country, most likely as a knock-on effect from the lock down and increases in COVID-style breaches, there is no home for it in Sevenoaks. It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The District Council have been doing brilliant work over the last few months, alongside Kent Police, and I hope my four-point plan will ensure they have the necessary support from central Government.
I have noted below more details on my activity, including recent interventions in the House of Commons. I am also delighted to be out and about doing visits again. If there is somewhere you would like me to visit, do let me know by emailing email@example.com.
Please continue to stay alert and enjoy summer safely.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
Below is a snapshot of what we have been working on. If there is anything I can do to support you, please get in touch.
Writing in the Sevenoaks Chronicle, I launched my four-point plan to address the rise in antisocial behaviour across our community. This includes plans to increase the number of police officers on our streets, take action on unauthorised traveller sites, increase the use of CCTV across the district and resuming evictions for bad behaviour. I am working closely with Kent Police, Sevenoaks District Council and our local Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott to address the issues and will keep you updated on our progress.
Following the Chancellor's summer economic statement, which set out a £30 billion plan for jobs, I welcomed the announcements and voiced my support at seeing the inclusion of demand side measures – such as a VAT cut and the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme. I know from my conversations with local business owners the difference these support packages have played - and will play - in protecting local jobs.
Last week I signed a letter to Southeastern, alongside my Kent MP colleagues, asking for the train operator to introduce flexibility in ticketing. From speaking with many commuters I know the impact current flexible working arrangements have had on many household finances – due to either having to pay for a season ticket which is not being used in full, or purchasing more expensive peak day returns. This is not sustainable and must be addressed. Following the letter, Southeastern have now submitted an updated ticket proposal to the Department for Transport, and I will update you again when we hear back.
With further lock down restrictions lifted, I have been able to resume my visits across the constituency. I am enjoying meeting again local businesses and retailers, and have been so impressed with how hard they have all worked to ensure their premises are safe for customers and staff. I also held a recent call with members of the Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce so as to ensure I was fully up to speed on the challenges and concerns facing our business community. The last few months have been incredibly difficult, so please do show your support if possible.
Alongside Kent County Council, and in particular Councillor Nick Chard, my office has been working hard to address a local traffic incident which occurred due to a burst water main, as well as overnight works on the M25. I know the increased traffic along the A25 had a huge impact for some of you and we are in contact with both Highways England and Thames Water to ensure a similar situation does not happen again. I will continue to keep you updated via my Facebook page with the ongoing conversations and thank you in advance for all for your patience.
Following the 'Time is Now' campaign, I today hosted a Zoom call with local climate change campaigners to discuss the importance of ensuring we leave the environment in a better state than we found it for the next generation. At the centre of this commitment is the new law that requires the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2050, effectively ending our contribution to global warming. While the UK has made great progress, it is now more important than ever that we keep up the pace of change and secure a green and sustainable recovery in light of the COVID-19 virus.
This month saw the historic passing of the Domestic Abuse Bill in the House of Commons. This is an issue I feel strongly about and it was an honour to speak in the debate. The cross party working which has occurred is testament to the impact such legislation will have on the real lives of so many victims and their families, and I hope the debate sent a strong message across the country. Domestic abuse will not be tolerated, and the Government will take action to address it.
This week marked the opening of the Invicta Summer Academy, which will be providing lessons across Key Stage 1 – 4 until 28th August. Lost teaching time cannot be rectified overnight, but initiatives such as this will undoubtedly make a huge difference. It’s a remarkable programme, so if you know a child who could benefit, I urge you to get involved. Nothing can replace being in the classroom, however we must make sure pupils across Sevenoaks and Swanley are given the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential.
Finally, over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of sitting on the Public Bill Committee for the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill – which represents the biggest overhaul of terrorism laws in decades and will ensure that the sentences served by terrorists reflect the severity of offending. The Government promised to tackle the threat of terrorism, and these measures will make sure that those who wish us harm are kept off our streets for as long as necessary.