Eurotunnel has confirmed that the new security measures at Coquelles in France are making a real difference to preventing migrants from breaking into the Channel Tunnel terminal. The number of migrants seeking to enter the tunnel in his way has fallen from as many as 2,000 per night, earlier in the summer, to around 150 a night today. The £7 million investment from our government in new security fencing, alongside improvements to the level of policing from the French authorities, is now deterring the migrants. This does not mean that the problem has been solved, but it has led to an improvement to services through the Channel Tunnel. Disruptions resulting from migrant activities in France had been one of the major causes of Operation Stack this summer.
There is now some evidence that migrants are looking at alternative locations in France where security is weaker, like Dunkirk, and also some of the ports in Belgium. This shows the need for a wider solution which seeks to tackle this European wide problem of migration, caused in the main by the massive turmoil and terror in countries like Syria and Libya, that have now largely collapsed. Addressing this problem will require greater efforts to support the stabilization of countries like these, and to try to pick up migrants as they enter the European Union, by land through countries like Greece and Hungary, and by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
I know many local businesses are still feeling the effects of Operation Stack his summer, which has deterred some people from coming to Kent. We have a great number of attractions that are ready and open for business, events like the Hythe Venetian fete this week, and the summer festivals in Folkestone. So we all need to be banging a drum for Kent for the rest of August, to encourage more people to come back, now that the roads are open and the traffic is moving.
We had good news for the local economy last week though with confirmation of another fall in the rate of unemployment. This is the second month in a row where the level of job creation in the Shepway area has been ahead of the national trend. The unemployment rate in the Folkestone and Hythe constituency is now 2.3%, well under half the level during the recession. The number of people locally who are looking for work and claiming the Jobseekers allowance is 1,178, which is 530 fewer than a year ago.
I would also like to send my congratulations to all our students who received their exam results last week. Once again, many of our schools achieved some of their best ever results. This success is the result of a lot of hard work from the staff and pupils, and the support of their families. Many more young people will be heading off to University now that they have secured their grades. Across the country, more people are getting the grades and choosing to take a place at university than ever before.