Last week ended with the very sad news of the death of his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Over his decades of service, he dedicated himself every day to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. His death at the age of 99 - making him the longest-serving consort in British history - is a great loss for our country, and on behalf of the people of the Yeovil constituency I send my sincerest condolences and sympathy to Her Majesty and the Royal Family. You can do the same or read more about his extraordinary life online at https://www.royal.uk/
As a great supporter of individual liberties, Prince Philip would I hope have been pleased that this week marked a huge step forward in our journey out of lockdown. This includes the re-opening of: outdoor hospitality; non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas. It is so important that we get these parts of our economy firing again after such a tough 12 months and I encourage everyone to go and support their local businesses, whether that be in the form of a trip to a beer garden with great food and drink very much on the menu, or getting that long-awaited haircut.
As part of support for High Streets and our local economy more generally the Government has announced a new Recovery Loan Scheme as well as a further Levelling Up Fund, to add to the range of support measures it has made available to help local businesses get back on their feet. It comes alongside the announcement that everyone is now able to access two free, rapid Covid tests a week which will be a big help for employers and workplaces to open safely.
As of the 4th April our local Vaccination Programme here in Somerset had delivered 367,549 vaccinations across the county and we have the second highest take up rate in the country which is terrific. This has been a huge team effort and means we can now move early onto the next phase as those aged 40 to 49 will now be invited to book their vaccine appointments and I strongly encourage everyone to do so when the opportunity arises. I would like to repeat my thanks to all those involved in the local programme.
Later this week I will be out campaigning for Mark Shelford, the excellent candidate to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset. These elections sometimes don’t get the turnout they should – it’s a chance to get closer to the local Policing process and make a difference to priorities we want to see taken forward in this area.
Lastly, the Somerset unitary authority consultation ends on the 19th April and I would encourage everyone to make their voice heard. You can do so online and I continue to back the One Somerset model for better value for money, better coordinated and more accountable local government services here.
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 email@example.com