This week kicked off with the great news that more than 30 million people across have the UK have now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. While the negativity of the EU continues to be a nuisance, the Government has not been resting on its laurels and it was great to hear on Monday that Novavax has contracted to do the final part of its vaccine manufacturing in the UK, from where it can be confident it will be able to export freely around the world.
As we approach the re-opening of our High Streets on 12th April it was good to hear that the Government has expanded its workplace testing programme, enabling employers to offer all employees free, rapid and regular testing that can be taken at home. In addition to this, the Government has over the last few days announced a whole host of new measures to support our businesses, including the boosting of business rates relief with a new £1.5 billion pot as well as looking at ways to help our hospitality industry set up outdoors. I think this can work very well here and look forward to seeing our restaurants, pubs and cafés make the most of the better weather. I know many will also be glad to hear about the extended opening hours for some non-essential retail when our shops re-open.
The beginning of this week did of course mark a step forward in our journey out of lockdown, as groups of up to six people or two households can meet together outside. I know it has been a tough year so far but I hope people have been taking advantage of some of the great weather we have had recently to meet family and friends again and enjoy the sunshine. The return of outdoor grassroots sports is also hugely exciting and I know how much people have missed a round of golf or game of tennis, as well as sports being so good for young people. Check out the brilliant activities for guys and gals alike getting back up and running at Yeovil Rugby Club for example.
Since first being elected I have campaigned for increased funding of mental health care so am very positive about new £500 million funding for expanding our mental health services as part of the Government’s Mental Health Recovery Action Plan. The last 12 months have been hard in so many different ways and measures such as this are so important in helping us all move on. I will stay in touch with our local NHS to see how things work on the ground.
Finally, it is excellent that the Government is introducing a range of new measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows as part of our efforts to build back greener from this pandemic. I have been heavily involved in try to find practical solutions to the pollution issues that are damaging our wetland conservation areas and this is an important step.
I hope everyone has a good Easter. It’s a great time of year in so many ways and let’s hope this year a real turning point for us all.
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