Michael Payne, Kent County Councillor for Tonbridge was one of the fortunate guests at a reception at No 10 Downing hosted by the Prime Minister on 19 March.
Michael who is Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste at KCC took the opportunity to ask Teresa May for her support for the fair funding review in relation to Kent’s highways. Michael pointed out that Highways England receives about fifty-two times the amount per mile that KCC does for a similar total mileage. Michael said to her "I know their roads are generally bigger but I’m sure their potholes aren’t fifty-two times the size of ours.” Whether Michael’s lobbying helped, it was not long after his visit that the Government announced extra funding to help repair the winter damage to the nation’s roads with Kent receiving an extra £3m.
The reception was held in the State Dining Room which meant the guests could see many items from the Silver Trust collection. This began in 1986 and commissions items to be made available on loan to the Government for important occasions. By 1993 there was a sufficient collection for it to be presented for the use of the then Prime Minister John Major. One highlight has to be the Bowl & Tongs made by Grant McDonald to mark the Golden Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. This beautiful piece is over one foot in diameter and fashioned in solid eighteen carat gold.
Mrs May’s address highlighted the need for us all to continue to work together as well as to support those with elections this spring.
Michael says, ‘It was both an enjoyable and instructive occasion but all too soon we were being shown the door again. My unanswered question is why the walls of that famous staircase are painted such a horrible yellow?’