I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year. As always our thanks go to those who will be working to keep vital services running whether in the hospital, police, fire services or working in hospitality or shops. There are probably many I have missed out too but hopefully they all get to have a good break soon. If like many of us you are a little behind with buying presents then there is late night shopping at the Quedam with some live music on the 21st and a chance to support local businesses.
Works have finally been completed on Yeovil High Street and Borough and it particularly welcome that bus routes have been restored. I have been working on ways to introduce a more complete and financially sustainable bus service for years now and would like to see a service extended along Lysander Road and in other parts of our area. Well done to the Yeovil Bus Users’ Group and Somerset Bus Partnership for their continued work to support bus use and also the Government for introducing and extending the £2 fare cap.
This has not been an easy year across the globe. The conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza have been horrific and show no definite signs of ending. They have shown how fragile peace can be. These wars also have a global impact particularly on economies. Here we have halved inflation as was one of the Government’s key aims to help people with the cost of living. Packages of support have run through the year with an additional payment for those most in need due in February of next year.
At the busiest time of year for sending letters and cards it was deeply disappointing to read that undercover journalists found that Royal Mail have been prioritising the more lucrative parcel delivery business with letters being delayed if delivered at all. I have written to the Minister with oversight of postal services to say that if things do not change we need a complete restructuring of the service. I have also written to Royal Mail’s directors saying that their insurers may not be happy if they sell stamps purporting to be for a service they don’t provide. Fines are one thing but I am trying to bring more pressure to bear.
Finally, whilst most of us will be having fun with family and friends, for some it is a very lonely or mentally difficult time of year. Thanks to all the volunteers and people who have donated to groups like the Somerset Community Foundation. If you do have a friend or neighbour on their own this year do have a cup of tea or pick up the phone.
Apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day my office will be open to deal with urgent issues so do get in touch if I can help. Otherwise, have a happy Christmas.