A strong, vibrant economy is the lifeblood of every community and I fully support the work of Orpington 1st to encourage local retailers to help create new jobs and opportunities here in Orpington.
Orpington High Street is making fantastic progress and the refurbished Walnuts Shopping Centre has now opened. The seven-screen Odeon cinema, a 14,300 sq ft 24-hour Pure Gym, a number of retail outlets, three restaurants and a new public square are all fantastic additions to Orpington High Street.
The Conservative government's plan is working and I am delighted that Orpington is part of this national success story. Support for local businesses, and investment in skills and apprenticeships, has ensured that unemployment in Orpington continues to fall.
The total number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit in Orpington in July 2016 was 422, down from 1,255 in May 2010. Youth unemployment is also down to 95 in July 2016, from 285 in May 2010.
Photo: Jo with Mayor Kim Botting and Trevor Cavell, General Manager of Odeon Cinema, Orpington and Duncan Reynolds, Managing Director of Odeon UK and Ireland. Photo credit: Odeon