Earlier this week the Health Secretary confirmed just how effective our vaccines are at preventing hospitalisations and serious cases of Covid-19 and that no evidence exists of any significant difference in their performance against the Delta variant. With this in mind, as well as the success of the vaccine rollout with those aged 25 now able to book their first dose, there seems to me no reason the virus should be seen as unmanageable leading to a delay in unlocking domestic restrictions on 21 June.
It has been great to read the news this week that the Government’s Plan for Jobs is working, with 1.3million employees moving off furlough in March and April. This takes our furlough numbers to their lowest level this year and is tangible proof that we are bouncing back strongly from the pandemic. The scheme will remain in place until the end of September and continue to protect jobs and get businesses back on their feet and I will continue to lobby the Government for further measures to support our local businesses.
Through my work on the APPG for Education I have been in frequent dialogue with Government Ministers about our children’s educational recovery from the pandemic and was delighted to see the range of new measures announced by the Secretary of State for Education on Monday. These measures include £1 billion for tutoring which will see up to 100 million tutoring hours for children and young people across England, and over £400 million for teaching with £253 million to fund 500,000 teacher training opportunities and £153 million to provide training for early years staff to support the very youngest children’s learning and development. It is so important that we ensure no child’s education is left behind due to the pandemic and I will push for any funding necessary to make sure this is the case. I agree with the view of many teachers that a targeted approach is better than extending the school day which especially in Primary years can be hectic enough.
On Monday I had a virtual meeting with energy and clean-growth Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan to discuss what we can do to secure the Government’s commitment to Geothermal energy as part of the UK’s energy strategy. Building back greener is an important part of the Government’s agenda as we emerge from the pandemic and supporting the development of base-load capable renewable energy sources should be right at the heart of this process. There are several first sites in Devon and Cornwall where this looks like it could be economically efficient and with drilling technology evolving this could be a great use of skills developed in resource industries that might otherwise not be used in the transition to lower carbon sources.
Finally, I was delighted to see that Active and in Touch in Frome and Yeovil Free Wheelers Blood Bikes have received the Queen’s award for Voluntary Service this week. The Blood Bikes support for hospitals and communities across Somerset, Dorset and Devon 24 hours a day, 365 days a year has been particularly important over the last year. I am sure we all congratulate both organisations on these very well-deserved awards.
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