This was my last week in Westminster for a while, as MPs return back to their constituencies for summer recess to focus on local priorities. I’m looking forward to getting back to Warrington full-time to get out around the constituency and to enjoy a my ‘staycation’ in the North West.
It has been a very busy parliamentary session, with the Government rightly focusing on lowering the infection rate of coronavirus and protecting jobs and the economy. Things may seem like they are getting back to normal, footfall is growing, car journeys are around 85% of normal but we cannot let up in our battle to control the virus. Tackling Covid-19 remains a ‘team sport’ where everyone still has a very important role to play. If you get any of the symptoms you need to get tested and then self-isolate. The basic steps of washing your hands is still of real importance and remember to wear a mask when out shopping from this weekend.
Thanks to everyone’s efforts we are making progress in driving down transmission, for over three weeks now the number of new cases nationwide has been below 1,000 and daily hospital admissions are down to 142. Locally, Warrington Hospital is caring for 4 people with the virus, one person is in ICU. We’ve had incredibly positive news about a vaccine, with Oxford and Imperial both reporting positive trails. I was in the House this week asking the Health Secretary Matt Hancock how research was progressing in understanding if people who have had the virus can get infected again. Work is still underway in this area to discover more about antibody responses, but I’m encouraged by the signs so far.
Re-opening our economy carefully and cautiously is now the right thing to do. Many jobs and businesses have been protected so far across Warrington, I’m aware there is much more to do, with Warrington South facing a tough time ahead and much needed additional support required for sectors such as social care in particular. Investing in infrastructure projects in Warrington, giving schools the facilities they need and making sure we recruit more police to cut crime remain key priorities.
Speaking to businesses in the hospitality sector there has been a really positive response to the news that VAT will be cut in restaurants, accommodation and attractions from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for the next 6 months, something that has never been done in this country ever before – we are also giving people up to 50 per cent off meals out, encouraging them back into restaurants, cafes and pubs. Government have also scrapped stamp duty on all homes under £500,000 to help the housing market and boost confidence which will save the average Warrington house buyer £4500, I’ve already heard from local people who are delighted with this step.
But I’m most pleased to see Rishi supporting young people by creating jobs and encouraging training. The Kickstart scheme will directly pay businesses to create new, decent and high-quality jobs for any 16-24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment. There’s also big boost for the Apprentice scheme, providing £2,000 to employers for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25.
It was also a huge privilege last week to meet Appleton based Khulwant Dhalwani who has walked that proverbial 500miles to raise money for NHS Charities Together and The Care Workers Charity. He made an amazing £51K donation at Warrington Hospital, accompanied by Trustees of the Sikh Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple Warrington.
For the next two weeks I’m visiting every part of the Warrington South constituency with an invitation to anyone who wants to discuss an issue to book a time to meet. On Monday I’m in the villages of Walton, Hatton and Stretton and looking forward to discussing how we can solve the problem of slow broadband in parts of the area.
As always, if my team or I can assist you in anyway please do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow my regular updates on my website www.andycarter.org.uk which will have details of where I’m going to be over the next few weeks as well as on social media by visiting my Facebook page.