It more than often hasn't happened but on Monday the weather turned out to give us even more reason to smile this Bank Holiday, and I hope many were able to enjoy Somerset to the full. As always our thanks go to those who have to work during the holiday period but I hope half-term for many has also meant being able to get out and support our fantastic local pubs and restaurants if they can. Those lucky to be able to have a barbecue at home can also find great local steaks and burgers from our incredible independent butchers and farm shops and greengrocers for seasonal greens and other treats can round it out perfectly.
Whilst there has been some press coverage of a new wave of COVID, hospital numbers continue to run below any of the five SAGE scenarios that accompanied the unlocking roadmap and it is this that we need to pay attention to. As it stands, there is no evident reason at all not to release domestic restrictions completely as planned.
June 21st is about more than social interaction: a quarter of Britain’s licensed premises as well as many other venues and organisations are still unable to open due to remaining restrictions. Somerset County Council have announced a new £6 million package to kickstart our local economy. The funding includes financial support for businesses, individuals and a range of other measures to boost the county as we bounce back from the pandemic. This comes in addition to a whole range of Government measures including the latest cash boost for apprenticeships which became accessible on Tuesday, and I will continue to lobby the Government for more support such as this for our local businesses and for full reopening.
A lot of people have contacted me in recent months about what the Government is doing to build back greener from the pandemic and it was useful to hear last week of a new £44 million programme to cut emissions from buildings and help households save on energy bills. The funding will provide tens of thousands of UK homes, businesses and public buildings with greener, cleaner energy and will be helpful in furthering the Government’s plans to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. Also critical will be use of the fleet of modern small modular reactors planned by Rolls Royce's cutting edge nuclear division to be part of the essential base load power for our electric grid.
One idea being mooted ahead of the COP24 climate conference of "carbon border adjustment" (otherwise known as supplemental tariffs) needs more careful thought however, as an up front mechanism imposed by a few big nations would be seen by the WTO as a substantial anti-competitive market distortion in violation of agreements not to erect Technical Barriers to Trade. The danger is environmental measures become just old-fashioned protectionism unless considered by normal WTO process looking at particular circumstances of unfair dumping case by case and proper evolution of WTO agreements and standards, and we would be unable to lead on trade at the WTO to reduce global market distortions and increase opportunities for trade and jobs if we departed from that multilateral process. I will be pushing hard for the right strategy to get the best opportunities for our exporters as well as consumers.
As always, if I can be of help or if you would like to contact me on any of these issues please do call 01935314321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org