Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston writes for the Observer…
I KNOW many of us have been disturbed and alarmed by the news of Sarah Everard’s death and my thoughts are with her family and friends at this tragic time. We are moving forward with the roadmap to remove restrictions that the Prime Minister set out at the end of February, and we’re seeing the beginning of its implementation with children returning to school and limited visits to loved ones in care homes.
At the start of the month, we had the Budget which focused on economic recovery and keeping support systems in place for people and businesses most affected by Coronavirus. I know many constituents were relieved to see furlough and self-employed support schemes extended – and some new measures announced including ‘restart’ grants and additional incentives for investment. The Chancellor also announced less welcome news on tax increases ahead on large business profits, but most constituents tell me they accept the Budget was balanced and fair.
We continue to make great progress with the vaccine – take up rates are impressively high. Locally, more than 40 per cent of eligible adults in Mid Worcestershire have now received a vaccine –a tribute to the amazing medical staff, volunteers and organisers at the local GPs surgeries and vaccination centres.
As well as participating ‘virtually’ in parliamentary procedures, I’ve travelled to Westminster to be physically present in the Chamber and respond to questions and debates covering a wide range of topics including visas, and economic support for the culture, tourism and sports sectors. In my ministerial brief, I continue to hold meetings every day with ministerial colleagues, overseas ministers, internal teams, constituents and key stakeholders – such as leaders of tourism industry bodies, and CEOs of governing bodies in sport including cycling, rugby, and football. But like many of you I’ve spent much of this month working from home, putting a strain on the broadband as four of us attempt zoom calls at one time!
There is clearly light at the end of the tunnel after a long journey that has taken its toll on everybody. I hope to be able to report even more progress and positive results in the weeks ahead