Evennett welcomes investment in three local schools

Earlier today (22 May) the Department for Education announced a £456 million investment programme to improve school buildings across the country. Over 1,000 projects will be funded to ensure students can learn in safe, warm and energy efficient classrooms that provide high quality learning environments. Overall, the government has committed £1.8 Billion this year to improving school buildings.

Three schools in Bexleyheath and Crayford are amongst the recipients of the fund. St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, St Columba’s Catholic Boys’ School and Hillsgrove Primary School will all receive funding to improve their learning environments and better the school experience.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford welcomed the funding announced today. He commented:

“I am delighted that three schools in Bexleyheath & Crayford have been awarded funding through this fund. It is vitally important that we invest in school facilities to ensure we continue offering pupils in this country an excellent education”

Minister for the School System, Baroness Diana Barran MBE said:

“Our Condition Improvement Fund has already completed over eleven thousand projects, making a difference to pupils and teachers across the country. These projects help to create safer learning environments that make a difference to the quality of education for pupils.

“It’s hugely important that every school has access to high-quality learning facilities and these funding allocations will make sure that responsible bodies can start to plan ahead and get projects started to replace roofs, boilers and windows – so pupils and teachers can learn and work in a comfortable space.”


Evennett holds Westminster Hall Debate on Social Mobility

On March 21, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and Crayford, secured a Westminster Hall debate on Social Mobility. During the debate, Sir David stressed thatevery individual should have a fair chance of reaching their full potential, and we must therefore ensure that everyone has the opportunity to build a good life for themselves regardless of their background.

During his speech, Sir David called for greater collaboration between business and education and that businesses should provide opportunities to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.  He later highlighted the excellent progress made by the Social Mobility Pledge Campaign, founded by Sir David’s former Parliamentary colleague and former Education Secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening along with entrepreneur David Harrison, which has been signed by 700 organisations globally and covers 5 million employees.

Sir David also praised the government’s levelling up agenda, including record spending on apprenticeships, skills investment, and the Lifelong Learning Bill. The bill, which is currently proceeding through parliament, will create a Lifelong Loan Entitlement to enable people to access education and training to upskill and develop throughout their career.

During the debate, Sir David was joined by colleagues across the House who share his passion to see social mobility advanced. The debate was responded to by the Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, who laid out the government’s policies and aims on levelling up and social mobility.

Bexley Conservative MPs achieve reinstatement of off-peak Bexleyheath line Charing Cross services

Following extensive lobbying, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and Louie French MP have welcomed the reinstatement of direct off-peak services to Charing Cross on the Bexleyheath line.

The new service, which is in addition to services on the current timetable, will run hourly Monday to Saturday and is planned to be effective from 22nd May 2023.

Since the announcement of the timetable changes last year, Sir David and Louie have tirelessly campaigned for the reinstatement of off-peak Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line and have consistently emphasised the importance of these services for local residents. This includes passengers using the services for leisure in the West End, health appointments, school and work.

These new services from May will not only benefit passengers on the Bexleyheath line, but also on the Sidcup line as it has been noted that many passengers who previously used the Bexleyheath line for Charing Cross services have transferred to the Sidcup line since the new timetable. This new travel pattern has contributed to the overcrowding of these services on the Sidcup line and it is therefore hoped that the reinstatement will help reduce overcrowding, coupled with the new Sidcup line service added in February during peak hours.

Commenting, Sir David said:

I am absolutely delighted that Southeastern and the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP, have listened to our concerns and campaign for the restoration of the hourly off-peak rail service on the Bexleyheath line.

The views of the rail travelling public in our area have now been taken into consideration and I know the restoration of the Charing Cross service will be widely welcomed by all who travel on the Bexleyheath line.

I am grateful to Southeastern and the Rail Minister for engaging with us and listening to the views of our constituents.

Commenting, Louie said:

“The reinstatement of off-peak Charing Cross services for passengers using Falconwood and Welling Station is a significant step in the right direction. This important change will help reduce overcrowding, cut journey times, and means fewer passengers will have to change stations at London Bridge to access the West End. This is particularly important for those with limited mobility and elderly passengers.”

“I recognise there are more changes to continue to fight for to ensure the timetable delivers for the needs of all Bexley passengers. This includes more peak times services, more trains serving Albany Park Station and more services to Abbey Wood on the Sidcup line. This is alongside the need for urgent improvements to Network Rail’s infrastructure and signalling, which have caused major disruption for passengers on both the Bexleyheath and Sidcup line in recent months.

Tackling illegal immigration

Earlier today (13 December) the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, made a statement to the House of Commons on illegal migration, where he outlined his five-point plan to address this global challenge.

Over 40,000 people have illegally crossed the Channel in small boats this year, putting pressure on local public services. Many originate from safe countries and travel through safe countries, which is why the Prime Minister has prioritised this issue since he took office. So far, he has delivered the largest ever small boats deal with France which increases UK-funded patrols by 40 per cent, re-established the Calais Group of Northern European nations to disrupt traffickers, and set a long-term ambition for a UK-EU wide agreement on migration.

However, the measures announced today go even further and include:

1) A new agreement with Albania so that the vast majority of Albanian claimants can be removed, with weekly flights

2) A new, permanent, unified Small Boats Operational Command in the channel with 700 new staff

3) Tougher immigration enforcement with 200 new staff and better data sharing with banks

4) Cheaper accommodation sites so we can move migrants out of expensive hotels

5) Clear the initial asylum backlog by 2023 by doubling the number of caseworkers and radically streamlining the process

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, welcomed the measures outlined by the Prime Minister today. He commented: “I strongly support the five new measures announced today, in addition to the commitment of new legislation next year that will make it clear if someone enters the UK illegally they would not be able to remain – but will instead be swiftly detained and removed. This is a tough, but fair, approach”.

Evennett continues campaign against Southeastern timetable changes

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, is continuing to campaign for changes to the new Southeastern railway timetable, which will be implemented from Sunday 11 December.

To date, Sir David has held meetings with Southeastern Managing Director, Steve White, the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP and yesterday (6 December) participated in the Westminster Hall debate on ‘Southeastern Railway Timetable Changes’.

During the debate, Sir David highlighted the detrimental impact the new timetable will have, as well as the ever increasing pressures on rail services with more people returning to the workplace and new homes being built. He also commented: “The new timetable has met with huge dismay across our borough of Bexley, and indeed throughout other parts of south-east London. My constituents and I are bitterly disappointed by, and rather angry about, the lack of consultation on the dramatic changes that are taking place that will affect rail users and businesses across our south-east region… Frankly, the changes are inconsiderate, totally unfair and lacking in logic… We need to be consulted on changes for when the next timetables come in, because these new timetables are not fit for purpose”.

The full transcript of Sir David’s contribution can be read at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2022-12-06/debates/11B2B2CD-2C65-46D7-8EF1-4A2EAEB3F6B7/SoutheasternRailwayTimetableChanges#contribution-F34E890C-B4D5-4B2C-AE0C-60E73503AA39

A Conservative Budget that delivers stability, growth and public services

Earlier today (17 November), the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, where he set out how it will restore economic stability, protect key public services, help control inflation, and boost growth.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, was present in the House of Commons for Mr Hunt’s speech. He welcomed the measures, including an extra £11 billion in funding over the next two years for the NHS and schools. Public spending for the next two years will also be protected at the levels set out in 2021 and then increase by 1% in real terms a year until 2027–28.

Additionally, £12 billion of extra targeted support is being provided next year to help eight million low income, vulnerable and pensioners households, on top of the cost of living payments being provided this year. This means additional payments of £900 for people on means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioners, and £150 for disabled people to help with their energy bills.

The Conservative Government is also delivering on its commitment to protect the most vulnerable by uprating benefits in line with inflation and protecting the pensions Triple Lock.

Sir David commented: “As the Chancellor explained today, a third of the world’s economy is facing recession, so I welcome this Budget that delivers stability, growth and excellent public services.

“The Government is protecting the most vulnerable with an extensive package of energy support, increases in benefits and the State Pension, and a rise in the National Living Wage, as well as continuing investing and extra £11 billion in our schools and the NHS”.

Evennett backs proposed Parliamentary boundary changes

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has expressed his “strong support” for the “sensible” proposals put forward by the Boundary Commission for new Parliamentary seats in Bexley.

This morning (8 November), the Boundary Commission for England published its revised proposals for constituencies in England, commencing the final consultation period during this constituency review, which will close on 5 December. In Bexley, the Commission have not altered the proposals put forward in the initial stage of the review, which had strong local support and largely follows the existing arrangement in the borough. The changes would see Parliamentary constituencies tidied up to realign with the new local government wards implemented in 2018.

As a result, the entirety of the Northumberland Heath and West Heath wards will be in the new Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, whilst East Wickham and Falconwood and Welling will be transferred to the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency.

Sir David commented: “There was a great deal of support for the Commission’s initial proposals, so I am delighted to see that there have not been any changes at this stage of the review.

“These changes are relatively minor but very sensible and would see community links maintained across our borough.”

Evennett guests at Bexley Rotary

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Honorary Rotarian, was the guest speaker at the Bexley Rotary Club meeting held on Monday 7 November at the IVI Club in Bexleyheath.

Sir David spoke about his time in Parliament, his selection for the Erith and Crayford parliamentary seat in 1983 and the changes in the role and work of MPs over the past 40 years. In particular, he noted the internet, social media, mobile phones and 24 hour news had a huge impact of Parliament and the job of an MP. After his talk, Sir David answered questions from members. Robert Munson then gave the vote of thanks.

Bexley Conservative MPs express anger over Southeastern rail timetable changes

Last Friday (21 October), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, and Louie French, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, held an hour-long meeting with Southeastern Managing Director, Steve White, and his team to discuss the changes to the rail timetable from December 2022.

Both Sir David and Louie highlighted the negative impact the alterations will have on rail users in Bexley, which include the end of direct services to Charing Cross on the Bexleyheath line in off-peak and weekends, the withdrawal of all Charing Cross services on the Woolwich line, the loss of off-peak Cannon Street services on the Sidcup line and a significant reduction of services for passengers at Albany Park.

Sir David commented: “Quite frankly these changes are inconsiderate, unfair and lack any logic. Not only will the new timetable result in significant disruption for commuters to Charing Cross travelling outside of peak hours, but will also have a considerable impact on those travelling for leisure at the weekends, where the main destination would traditionally be Charing Cross. Additionally, the requirement to change trains at London Bridge will add unnecessary stress and time for passengers requiring assistance. I have urged Southeastern to reconsider and at least look at the possibility of adding some additional services”.

Louie said: “I am very concerned and disappointed over Southeastern’s timetable changes and the impact these will have on passengers. In particular, I am concerned over the significant impact of the loss of off-peak Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line, the loss of the loop line on the Sidcup line and the significant reduction in Albany Park services. Sir David and I used this meeting with Southeastern to push back against these major changes.

“Given that Bexley does not benefit from direct access to the Underground, rail services are the principle means of transport into and out of London, as well as for travelling to other areas in the South East. As such, it is important that our frequency and links to a range of Central London stations is preserved, and Sir David and I will continue to stand up for this.”