Nigel Huddleston's Westminster Diary - The Evesham Observer

Nigel Huddleston's Westminster Diary

Evesham Editorial 5th Dec, 2020   0

Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston writes for the Observer..

DECEMBER brings with it many things to look forward to. Our towns and villages are looking festive, we can look forward to spending the holidays with loved ones and we are out of national lockdown.

Worcestershire is now in tier 2, meaning we can reopen shops, hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons, sports facilities, cinemas, theatres, museums, tourist attractions, pubs and cafes (serving alcohol with a substantial meal). We’re able to do this because the vast majority of people followed the lockdown guidance last month, helping bring the infection numbers down enough to safely reopen many more businesses.

The last four weeks of lockdown did, of course, put a momentary stop to constituency-based activities. Zoom once again replaced face-to-face meetings, but I’ve been lucky enough to answer some questions virtually from students from St Barnabas School and Westacre Middle School, as well as Bengeworth Brownies as part of UK Parliament Week.

I also received some good local news from Chris Heaton-Harris, Transport Minister, that a submission to reopen the former rail line that used to connect Stratford-upon-Avon and Honeybourne will be progressing to the next stage. This has huge potential for opening up faster routes between Worcester, Evesham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Honeybourne and Birmingham.

Of course, lockdown wasn’t without its impact on businesses in the area. In Parliament, I was glad the Chancellor announced significant new packages this month to help businesses that have had to close or have suffered a decrease in demand due to restrictions. As well as this, the winter support package gives more support to vulnerable and low-income households to ensure no child will go hungry this winter.

The pandemic and lockdown are felt by all sectors. In the House of Commons, I also made a statement in my capacity as Sports Minister on the £300million sports winter survival package to see major spectator sports through this difficult period. I responded to another debate on the future of the National Trust, and the impact of restrictions on gyms.

Like many of you, I’m looking forward to seeing Worcestershire open up again, albeit not completely, and I’m looking forward to a more positive 2021 now that we know a vaccine will be rolled out.

I remain hopeful that if we continue to follow guidance and the measures in place, there is the potential of entering tier 1 in the near future.

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