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Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

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South Lakes MP Tim Farron has issued a stark warning that the Government's new agriculture plans could see the end of family farming in Britain and wreck much of Britain's landscape.

Today the Government will set out major changes to how farmers will be paid under the new Environmental Land Management Scheme with the Financial Times reporting that farmers face losing at least half of the money they get from the current Basic Payment Scheme.

Tim said: "Although the new agriculture scheme may be well intentioned, the Government's handling of this could prove fatal for thousands of farmers up and down this country.

"We rightly wouldn't accept a 50% pay cut for our nurses or our teachers - so why on earth should we accept it for our farmers who feed us, maintain our wonderful landscape and protect our environment?

"We are told that the plans will provide environmental goods, but if the Government bankrupts our farmers in the process then who will be left to look after the environment?

"We could see the landscape of the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and many other of Britain's beauty spots destroyed as a result.

"If the Government truly is committed to protecting the environment and backing British farming, then they must, must, must think again."

Published and promoted by P Trollope on behalf of T Farron and the Liberal Democrats, all at Yard 2, Stricklandgate, Kendal
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RELEASE: MP praises CAB for their Fair Delivery Charges campaign

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

Highland MP, Drew Hendry has praised the Inverness, Badenoch & Strathspey Citizens Advice Bureau and Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau for their local Fair Delivery Charges campaign; which seeks to raise awareness of the detriment caused to local people by delivery surcharging and the lack of transparency around the use of surcharges. The campaign led by Citizens Advice Scotland also seeks to promote the Scottish Government’s ‘Fairer Deliveries for All’ map tool, which allows consumers to explore delivery prices charged by different companies and create a more transparent system.

With online shopping rates growing by 129% in the U.K. during the pandemic, there is a real shift in how consumers are purchasing goods. However, consumers living in affected Highland areas still pay an average of 30-50% more for receiving items bought online than in the rest of the mainland UK. Further analysis carried out by the Scottish Government in 2019 found that consumers in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey paid over £7,000,000 in delivery surcharges, relative to the rest of the UK.

Mr Hendry has long campaigned against rip-off delivery charges and previously took a fairer delivery charges bill to the UK Parliament as part of his campaign to end excess delivery charges to rural areas. He also helped the Highland Council launch the national reporting tool it spearheaded as part of the ongoing work to end rip of delivery charges http://www.deliverylaw.uk/.  The SNP MP praises the CAB for their renewed efforts to support ongoing work to highlight the unfairness of excess delivery charges.

Commenting, Mr Hendry said:

“Every one of us living in the Highlands is familiar with the problem of unfair delivery charges; whether it’s surcharges being added to deliveries, or simply no delivery option available, despite offering delivery to mainland UK.

“Whilst I would always urge folk to support local where they can, we all know this is not always possible and consumers should not have to pay the price for companies shortcomings.

“I am pleased to see our local Citizens Advice teams prioritising this campaign and I would urge everyone in the Highlands to get behind it too, to raise awareness of ongoing unfair delivery surcharging faced by folk in the North of Scotland.”

“For my part, I will continue to press the UK government for legislation to end unfair delivery charges and take on companies charging constituents outrageous delivery charges. We can all play our part by reporting instances of excessive delivery charges at deliverylaw.uk, and folk can also make use of the Scottish Government’s Fairer Deliveries For All tool at https://fairdeliveries.scot/explore-your-postcode.”


Keep up to date with new articles at www.drewhendrymp.scot

Find out more about my work in parliament at www.theyworkforyou.com

The post RELEASE: MP praises CAB for their Fair Delivery Charges campaign appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.

Spending Review

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Jonathan Djanogly MP: Spending Review shows Government’s commitment to fight coronavirus, deliver on its promises and invest in our recovery.  read more »

Local MP Maria Miller had a series of virtual meetings and calls with the Food bank and community hubs during the second lockdown. Maria commented; “ The Food Bank and community hubs demonstrate what a strong and resilient community we have here in Basingstoke. I would like to thank all of those…

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Last Wednesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, set out the 2020 Spending Review. Given that we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, it is quite right that much of the focus was on supporting businesses and individuals through Covid-19 and our recovery the other side.…

Covid Statement 26/11/20

Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

Today I asked the UK Secretary of State for Health a series of questions about the UK Government’s response to the Covid crisis; specifically, the suitability of the new tier approach to restrictions in England and how much support is being made available for Covid contacts to isolate.

A recent King’s College study found the vast majority of Covid contacts are failing to isolate. Failing to improve the existing ‘test, trace, isolate’ strategy risks limiting progress in suppressing new Covid cases.

He also completely ignored my question about the logic of allowing 1000 people at indoor events in high risk areas in England from next week. With only 15 allowed to attend weddings, it is hard to grasp the logic of this.

You can watch my full contribution to the statement here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUa_zUJIFRg

Dr Philippa Whitford

Many scientists have expressed concern that the easing of restrictions at Christmas could lead to another surge of covid cases in January. With cases still over 80% of the level at the start of lockdown, is the Secretary of State not worried that allowing outdoor events of 2,000 participants and indoor events of 1,000 in level 2 high-risk areas could drive up infection rates ahead of Christmas? Although lateral flow testing is very welcome, given how it increases capacity, the Secretary of State previously stated that the mass testing in Liverpool was a pilot and would be evaluated before being rolled out elsewhere. As the city has also been under tight restrictions and then lockdown, how will the impact of mass testing alone be evaluated? How does he plan to counter the lower uptake among deprived communities—the very ones at highest risk, as seen in Liverpool—and with no clinical evaluation yet published, how can he justify putting out contract tenders for an eye-watering £43 billion and rolling out this approach to 67 other areas? Should this strategy not be compared with investing money and energy in getting the traditional test, trace and isolate system working properly? Currently, over 40% of contacts in England are still not even informed that they should be isolating.

Finally, the Secretary of State knows that it is not testing, but isolation, that stops the spread of the virus. If people who are infected or could be carriers are not isolating, no amount of testing will stop viral spread. A study by King’s College London that suggested that fewer than a quarter were isolating when advised was incredibly worrying, so what assessment are the Government doing to clarify current isolation rates and understand the reasons why people may not follow the advice they are given?

Matt Hancock

Of course, we are constantly evaluating the impact of people isolating, and how many people isolate when asked to. I would encourage the hon. Lady to look at a broader range of studies than just that one from King’s College, especially those dealing with the self-isolation of those who test positive, for whom the rate tends to be higher.

The hon. Lady asked about the use of these lateral flow tests to have a negative impact on the number of cases in an area. Of course, we have been evaluating this all the way through the study in Liverpool, which is why we can have confidence in rolling out more broadly across tier 3 areas. I included in my statement a high-level assessment of this. The number of cases in Liverpool city region is down by two thirds, but in the city itself, where the testing took place—the testing was of people who live in the city and of people who work in the city and live largely in the wider city region—the number of cases is down by over three quarters. That is one piece of evidence. It is clear that it is the combination of people following the rules and community testing, with appropriate incentives to get people to take up that mass community testing, that can help to make this work. We want to work with local directors of public health to understand how this can work effectively in their areas, precisely to reach those hard-to-reach people whom the hon. Lady mentioned.

Finally, I echo the hon. Lady’s request that we be cautious this Christmas. However, I am delighted that we have agreed an approach across the whole UK, including with the SNP Administration in Edinburgh, with the Welsh Labour Administration and the cross-party Administration in Northern Ireland, because there are so many ties that bind us together and mean that we are stronger as one United Kingdom, working together to tackle this virus.

The post Covid Statement 26/11/20 appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford.

The credibility of the science

John Redwood (Wokingham)

I admire the work done by medics and scientists who study disease in getting to a much better understanding of this virus quickly, and in finding some treatments and some potential vaccines that can help tame it. These offer the establishment’s way out from lockdowns. I am urging the government to do more on treatments, as we are still due test results for various medicines which might help fight the disease.

I have been less impressed by the epidemiologists and modellers working for the government, who have produced high and worrying numbers which even they have had to amend or shade. They have had problems compiling and publishing reliable figures to plot the disease, had trouble designing reliable tests to see how much of the disease is around, and have chopped and changed definitions even for something as important as deaths. In the early months they delighted in publishing comparisons with other countries that seemed to exaggerate the UK figures in a negative direction as numbers were not calculated on the same basis for each country. There was also a time when there seemed to be facilitation to maximise the number of death certificates saying died “with CV 19” rather than died of CV 19. There have been big arguments amongst scientists over the speed and method of spread and the likely future course of transmission of the disease, with very different forecasts.

It is most important that the public have trust in the official scientists and advisers. This is more likely if they treat the public as adults, explain what they do not know as well as what they know, leave scope for individual risk assessment and judgement, and try not to change requirements or strong advice unless they find they were wrong and need to tell us that.

The advisers did change their stance on mask wearing, from telling us they did not do much or any good to saying we must wear them in enclosed public places. They shifted from emphasis on picking up the virus through your hands, with the need for hand washing and much sterilisation of surfaces, to emphasis on airborne virus picked up from sharing airspace with infected people. This is understandable as their knowledge improves or changes, but does lead more people to ask if the latest iteration of the advice is good advice. It is likely to be true you can catch the virus both ways and so need to be careful both ways.

Today these same scientific advisers have persuaded Ministers to back them again with recommendations for more severe lockdowns, maybe continuing all the way through to April next year. This is why their advice needs challenging, as the cost to livelihoods and businesses will be considerable if this is followed. What evidence do they have that the worst transmission now occurs through hospitality venues rather than through everyday social contact? There is much contact through schools and universities staying open, through family gatherings and through the many businesses that do need people to go to a place of work so our power stays on and our food is on the shelves. How much transmission is occurring through rule breaking with people holding unofficial parties, entertainments and events?

The government advisers have always seemed to want a vaccine and to want as many of us as possible out of circulation until a vaccine arrives. They need to help the government and the rest of us to live with this virus whilst various vaccines are rolled out in ways which minimise deaths and serious cases whilst allowing as much normal life as possible.

I am pressing again for the results of work the government has said it is doing on safer indoor environments through better air extraction systems, best practice on how to run shops, gyms, events in a socially distanced way, and recommended standards for protective clothing for different tasks. What is the latest thinking on the use of UV machines for removing the virus from places where people meet? I will look tomorrow at the big issue of NHS capacity.

MP shocked at proposed college sale

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has expressed her shock at a secret decision to cease operations at Malvern Hills College and sell the building. read more »

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Gwynne celebrates local heroes at virtual ceremony

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has held a virtual ceremony to present some of his Citizen’s Awards.

Gwynne launched the awards earlier this year to recognise the efforts of local heroes who have gone above and beyond for the people in their communities in the Denton and Reddish constituency.

Hundreds of nominations have been submitted from across the constituency and Gwynne has presented a number of the awards in a socially distanced manner over the past few months.

With a fresh lockdown, a virtual ceremony was organised this morning (28 November) so that Gwynne could give each of the winners recognition for the efforts that they have gone to in order to help others.

These efforts included local people helping others both during the pandemic and more broadly, and included fundraisers, key workers, community helpers and more.

Here is a full list of award winners recognised at the ceremony (although not all were able to attend):

Aaron Clayton For fundraising activities with Infinity United raising money for a mental health charity and Ronald McDonald House
Andy Hughes Led free online workout sessions during lockdown to help people with their physical and mental well-being
Barbara Rathmill Support a shielding local family, who have children with additional needs, throughout the pandemic.
Brooke Healey Ran 100km in four weeks raising an amazing £2000 for St John’s Ambulance
Carl Shaw Raised a huge amount of money for charity as Haughton Green Spidey during lockdown and cheering up children
Caron and Steve Wright For making and delivering food for the hospital and making face mask adapters for key workers
Cathy Newton Arranges community events and works tirelessly particularly for the over-50s to combat loneliness
Cheryl Doyle Works as a nurse at Tameside Hospital caring for patients with Covid-19 and made the sacrifice of separation from her family to reduce the risk of transmission
Claire Horiansky Facilitated a magnificent donation through Kind Snacks of 10,000 protein bars, which she then delivered to local hospitals, fire stations, the police and other front line workers
Colette Holt Helped to distribute food parcels to vulnerable members of our community during the pandemic and for sourced face masks for front line workers.
Conor Hand and

Rory Hand

Two boys who have raised over £505 for Tameside Hospital and Marie Curie through a 150-mile sponsored walk around Tameside and a Swimathon
Debbie Millen Has provided care of children of keyworkers and helped elderly and vulnerable families in the community
Deborah Hewitt Works in residential care homes caring for residents with Covid-19 in challenging conditions
Dickson Enenche A nurse working at the hospital throughout the pandemic taking care of patients with Covid-19.
Eliza-Rose Leevy Undertook a back handspring challenge during which she raised an amazing £528 for Tameside Hospital
Emma Ainscough Looked after family, friends and neighbours as well as raising a huge amount of money for NHS charities and cheering up countless children as ‘Wonder Woman’
Emma Hope Kept up the spirits of local residents dressed as Mary Poppins throughout a difficult personal time for herself as a new mum
Emma Maher Throughout the pandemic has helped vulnerable people in the community with essentials such as food, gas and electricity
Evie Lambert For making and selling loom bands to raise money for Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Jade Rimmer Supported vulnerable residents with deliveries of food and prescriptions
Jason Baird and

Andrew Baldock

For entertaining and bringing joy to children and adults alike with Superhero visits around the local area and for raising a huge amount of money for the NHS
Dr John Gunn For going the extra mile to help local owners and their pets get the treatment they needed in a safe way in often difficult circumstances
Josh Gaskell and

Phil Waddington

For year-round community work through All Saints Church and for providing food to families in need throughout the pandemic
Kelly Havern Nurse who worked on the intensive care unit caring for patients with Covid-19 and made the sacrifice of separation from her family to reduce the risk of transmission
Lauren Downey Donated PPE to Willow Wood Hospice when she was unable to provide beauty treatments and for raising money for the Hospice.  This is also while working full-time at The Christie
Matthew Allott Works as a volunteer controller for Blood Bikes Manchester and during lockdown volunteered with the North West Ambulance Service while his paramedic training was suspended
Megan Bowers Raised money for local organisations and provided care packages for elderly neighbours while furloughed
Nicola McCormack

and Richard Manniex

For supporting the local community
Paul Maher For sourcing and distributing over 200 mobile phones to vulnerable young adults
Peter Lockwood For shipping and delivering other essentials to vulnerable people
Rae Hewitt For consistently supporting the community
Rebecca Woodworth For her tireless work at Tameside Hospital as a Sister caring for patients in the ITU throughout the pandemic
Sarah Haddow Provided food for colleagues at St Mary’s Hospital.  She is a theatre nurse, who had to shield as a result of her own health needs and decided to raise money and encourage businesses to donate food so that frontline workers could have homecooked meals during their long shifts
Sarah Hitchcock Manager at Thorncliffe Grange Care Home.  Has worked tirelessly to keep staff and residents safe and has helped families to keep in touch through Facetime, photos and video messaging
Shay Connolly For raising funds for Denton West End Community Library and visiting elderly residents at Wilton Court to cheer them up
Shelley Johnson Worked to help people keep active and keep in touch throughout the pandemic through Zumba and yoga classes and social media support groups
Stephanie Hirst Runs St Mary’s Foodbank with a team of volunteers and has helped feed hundreds of families through the pandemic
Stephen Day For bringing the community together during the Clap for Carers and helping people enjoy a socially-distanced VE Day
Zoe McClean Volunteers for the Dane Bank Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group supporting vulnerable people in the community
Tommy Parker Toured the area with a Halloween bus as children couldn’t trick or treat this year and for collecting and donating to local people who are struggling.  Christmas events also planned
James Shone Local postman who always goes the extra mile to help those on his round
Bernard Keenan Litter picks around Jet Amber Fields to keep the area looking good
Stuart Clements Undertook visits around the local area raising a huge amount of money for the NHS
Alan Pritt Produces an amazing garden display, which puts a smile on everyone’s face
Colin and Irene Pilkington When Dane Bank Gardening Society was unable to open they delivered compost and gardening items to people’s homes so they could continue to keep their gardens nice throughout the pandemic

Andrew Gwynne said:

“One of the best things about being an MP is finding out about all the brilliant things that your constituents do and we’re incredibly lucky to have so many selfless and community-minded people living here.


“Whilst I would have liked to have met all of the winners in person to present them with their awards, the pandemic has made this very difficult and I feel that this virtual event was a great way of celebrating and recognising their hard work.


“It was an absolute pleasure to spend my Saturday morning in the company of so many hardworking, dedicated and selfless local people. All of these awards were thoroughly deserved and I’d like to thank each and every one of the winners for the things that they do for the wider community.”

The post Gwynne celebrates local heroes at virtual ceremony appeared first on Andrew Gwynne MP.

Edinburgh’s Christmas lights have been switched on with a specially lit 18 metre Christmas Rainbow on the Mound to accompany the Tree gifted by Norway.

Tier 2 Lockdown Rules

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

From the 2nd of December Hampshire will be in Tier 2, this means:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
    • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances  that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes  or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

Worcester MP Robin Walker has urged caution as Worcester will move into ‘tier 2’ of the new restrictions come into force next week. The current national restrictions will end on December 2 and the tiering system will return across the country.

It was confirmed today that Worcester will come into the ‘high alert category’ which will see shops, gyms and personal care establishments re-open.

Robin urged people in Worcester to safely show their support for local businesses which have had to close down in the crucial run up to Christmas. Robin has also reinforced the need to comply with the new measures when they come in place to ensure that Worcester can move into the tier one, medium alert category.

Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators; case detection rates in all age groups, case detection rates in the over-60s, the rate at which cases are rising or falling, positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken), and pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

The indicators are designed to provide a full picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.

Robin welcomes the fact that Local Authorities in Tier 2 areas are being provided with additional funding to make cash grants to businesses that can remain open. These grants are primarily aimed at hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses and are worth 70 per cent of the value of grants available to closed businesses in Tier 3 areas. He is also pleased to see grants for the self-employed increased from covering 20 per cent of profits to 40 percent, thereby increasing the maximum grant from £1,875 to £3,750.

The first review of the tier allocations will take place on December 16, with the potential for areas to move down a tier before Christmas if they are making progress in slowing the spread of the virus.

Speaking after the announcement of the tiers, Robin said:

“I want to again thank the people of Worcester for all the sacrifices that they have made this year and once again I urge people to comply with tiering system when it comes into effect so that we can move into Tier 1 as soon as possible.”

“From December the 2nd, businesses across the UK and in Worcester will reopen and most fitness activities will be allowed again.”

“I am pleased that shops will be able to remain open in Worcester from the 2nd of December, especially coming into Christmas and going forward our testing capacity and start to roll out the vaccines as quickly as possible.”

“I know the coming weeks are going to be difficult, but we need to do whatever we can by supporting our local businesses and buying locally, whether that be in person or through click and collect.”


Notes to editors

For further information on the new measures, please see:



In tier 2:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
    • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances  that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes  or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

If you’re an exporter, below is a useful checklist of things to make sure you’re as ready as possible for the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1st 2021.

In addition, the Government have a programme of webinars where businesses can get direct support from experts.
Sign up at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-trades-with-the-eu


27 November 2020
Local sewage pollution data shows Dunne’s Bill is needed

Data revealing the shocking extent of sewage pollution flowing into rivers in South Shropshire show why action is needed to clean up our rivers, says local MP Philip Dunne.

Mr Dunne has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters.

Sewage spilled into South Shropshire rivers for a total of 7,721 hours in 2019, as a result of 72 discharges from water treatment works across the constituency.

Philip Dunne MP

This includes spillages from Combined Sewer Overflows in Bridgnorth and Quatford into the River Severn last year 301 times, for a duration 960 hours. The Severn was also affected by spillage into tributary waterways at Broseley for 256 hours through 128 separate spills.

Sewage entered the River Teme at Ludlow on 181 occasions, for a total duration of 1,768 hours. The River Teme was also affected at Burford, where 150 spillages took place for a total of 1,886 hours.

Smaller rivers were also affected with Borle Brook badly affected at Highley, with 79 spillages for a total of 1,179 hours, while the River Clun was also affected at the town on 56 occasions for a total of 570 hours.

Both the River Severn and River Worfe have been classified as in ‘poor’ ecological condition under the Water Framework Directive from the Environment Agency, with the Worfe affected by sewage spills 108 times for a total of 1,812 hours last year. The River Rea is classed as in ‘bad’ ecological condition.

Mr Dunne said the extent of the problem could be even more wide-reaching, given this data has been extracted from what has been admitted publicly by water companies, some of which have been more reluctant than others to acknowledge the true extent of spillage. Although he recognises that local water company Severn Trent Water has been one of the more forthcoming of all the water companies.

The Bill will have its Second Reading on 15th January, and Mr Dunne is encouraging people across the country to ask their MP to back his Bill.

Mr Dunne said: “Strolling along a riverbank in South Shropshire, or looking over a bridge in one of our towns, you might not be aware of the huge problem of sewage spilling into our local rivers. But 7,721 hours of spillage in our local rivers occurred in just the last year alone. In fact I suspect the actual amount of spillage may be higher, as the current system of event  monitoring across the country leaves a lot to be desired. While much of this happens at the same time when it rains, it is equivalent to a spillage happening somewhere in South Shropshire for 88% of the year. Water companies are licensed to spill so there is a release mechanism intended to be used for exceptional storms, but now it has become routine - virtually whenever it rains.

Clearly, this completely unacceptable, and sewage spills need to stop. I am determined to clean up the state of our rivers, not only here in South Shropshire, but across the whole country.  So I am asking the public to check if their MP is backing my Bill, and if not, to ask them why. I am delighted to have support of over 80 MPs so far with broad cross-party interest, but we shall need many more to have a chance of this Bill becoming law.”

The Bill already enjoys the support of The Rivers Trust, The Angling Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, Wildlife Trusts, Wildlife & Countryside Link, RSPB, Salmon & Trout Conservation, Freshwater Habitats, Bug Life, Waterkeeper Alliance, London Waterkeeper, Windrush Against Pollution, Sewage Free Swimmers, Blue Marine Foundation, Outdoor Swimming Society, British Canoeing, Royal Lifesaving Society, Marinet UK, and the Institute of Fisheries Management.

It proposes several other measures, including:

  • improving transparency and monitoring of the impact of spillages on water quality;
  • separating surface and foul water drainage systems from new infrastructure and housing development;
  • encouraging nature-based solutions for wastewater treatment;
  • requiring water meters for all homes being leased, rented or sold from 2025;
  • prohibiting use of plastic in flushable products;
  • promoting improvements in bathing water standards for inland waters and rivers.

Mr Dunne added: “I am calling on local councils to check the information which has been published for the first time on the website supporting my campaign, and move a motion in support of my Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill.”

There is an easy to navigate map showing the frequency and duration of spills at every water treatment works in England accessible here: www.sas.org.uk/EndSewagePollution-SewageBill

The Government has responded to my question on @premierleague & #NUFCTakeover policy.

Whilst not providing any answers (no surprise there then!) he does say they met with the EPL recently to discuss the future of the game & #Governance #NUFC

My Weekly Round-up

Christina Rees (Neath)

This week brought us the Chancellor’s Spending Review and it was disappointing in its lack of funding for Wales. The UK Government have repeatedly promised that Wales would not be worse off outside the EU, but the Shared Prosperity Fund investment falls far short of what we would have received from the EU Structural and Investment Funds and will have serious implications for our businesses, communities, and people across Wales who are struggling after a decade of austerity and in addition the significant effects of the Covid pandemic. There was also no mention of the promised support to help with the recovery from the flooding that hit parts of South Wales in February and funding for the maintenance of coal tips, which come under UK Government responsibilities. The UK Government must respect the devolution settlement and provide the funding which Wales requires for the economy to recover and contribute to the health and wellbeing of the United Kingdom as a whole.

The Chancellor has also betrayed our key workers – those who have looked after us during this crisis – by giving them a real terms pay cut.  This will not help the economy recover as hard-working people will have to tighten their belts even further as prices continue to rise. He also continued with the inhumane plans to cut Universal Credit, despite a tacit recognition that the original level was not enough to live off as it was raised to support people during the crisis.   And with Brexit just around the corner there was no clarity in levels of preparation which will further impact people’s ability to spend on our high streets and support businesses to recover. The Chancellor is making all the wrong decisions: we need investment, not tax hikes and pay cuts.

My duties in Westminster last week included a number of commitments as a member of the Panel of Chairs. On Tuesday I chaired the Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee. This statutory instrument ensured that the U.K. can continue to utilise electronic passport gates (e-Gates) to process the arrival of citizens of current EU and EEA member states, and Switzerland, entering the UK as visitors after the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. This SI also allows for leave to be granted to those who enter through an e-Gate and qualify for status under the S2 Healthcare Visitor cohort, and provides for Service Providers from Switzerland to use multi-agency visas. These rights to enter the UK are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, the EFTA Separation Agreement, and the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement, and is important to maintain security and fluidity across the UK border, and forms part of the UK Government’s long term plans to develop a new global border and immigration system that will be digital by default.

On Wednesday I chaired the Bill Committee for Laura Trott’s Private Member’s Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill. Laura’s Bill has cross party support because so many children have received unregulated treatment which has caused serious, and often life lasting, physical and mental harm. The Bill makes it an offence for a person, business owner and body corporate to administer botulinum toxin and other filler substances to a child (under 18) to be injected for cosmetic purposes, which alter the appearance of the child who has been injected. The committee comprehensively discussed and unanimously passed all the clauses in the Bill, unamended. The Bill will now be subjected to a similar procedure in the House of Lords, and if passed, will return to the Commons for Royal Assent.

On Thursday, I chaired the International Development and Gender-Based Violence debate in Westminster Hall. This was a very emotive debate in which members discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of the gender-based violence that is occurring in countries all over the world. The UN has estimated that in the 12 months before the pandemic, 242 million women and girls were subjected to sexual or physical violence, and that these numbers will drastically increase during the pandemic. Members spoke about the heart breaking experiences of women and girls in their constituencies and there was agreement across Westminster Hall that whilst every country is grappling with the pandemic, our commitment to end violence, exploitation and abuse targeted at women and girls must not be diminished.

I was pleased this week to attend the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Law and Policy held in partnership with the Unity Project regarding no recourse to public funds. No recourse to public funds has been in the news recently in connection with the Domestic Abuse Bill and awareness of the policy has grown during the pandemic. No recourse to public funds is a particularly pernicious policy for those facing domestic abuse and who are further exposed to exploitation and abuse with threats of being thrown out of the country. Many campaigners have argued that no recourse to public funds is unnecessarily cruel and is inconsistent with our fight to stop domestic abuse, to reduce inequality, to reduce homelessness, and to prevent exploitation. We have to accept that this policy is exacerbating many problems that then end up costing the Government (and therefore the taxpayer) even more money. But the human element is also important. This policy is pushing people in hardship into dangerous situations, and into psychological and physical trauma. We must find an alternative.

As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch about any matters that fall under my work as an MP, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on christina.rees.mp@parliament.uk or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.

I hope you stay well, and remember – observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe.

A new Covid-19 support package opens this week for self-employed and freelance workers within the sport sector whose work directly delivers activities to participants, such as sports coaches, personal trainers, fitness instructors and dance instructors. Funding of £1,500 is on offer through the ‘…

Scottish Government confirm essential shopping allowed

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

The Scottish Government has confirmed that people can continue to travel across the border for essential shopping amid rumours of people being stopped by police. Reassurance was sought after a number of people contacted their local politicians when they heard about people being stopped by police.…

Dan Jarvis MP - Barnsley Chronicle 27 November

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

Yesterday, the Government announced that South Yorkshire will be in Tier 3 restrictions from 2 December. I’ve been clear that we must not stay there a moment longer than we have to, which is why I’m pushing for a clear roadmap out of restrictions and for fairer economic support package for our residents and businesses. This week’s Spending Review was a golden opportunity to provide that immediate support; deliver on the Government’s manifesto commitment to level up the North of England; and reward those workers who have kept our country going. It was an opportunity that the Chancellor failed to take.

Southampton to Enter Tier 2 Post National Lockdown

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

It was announced earlier today that Southampton will be placed in Tier 2 (High Alert) when the national lockdown restrictions come to an end next week. From 2nd December, mixing between households under the ‘rule of six’ will only be permitted in public outside. People must not socialise with anyone you do not live [...]

The post Southampton to Enter Tier 2 Post National Lockdown appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Bill Wiggin comment on Foreign Aid

Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

This year has brought about unprecedented change and hardships for many, including the public purse.  The Government is committed to buildings hospitals, schools and funding important infrastructure projects in this country.  Over 1 million Nurses, Doctor’s and those on the lowest wages... Continue Reading →

Amber Valley, along with the rest of Derbyshire and most of the East Midlands will move into Tier 3 restrictions next Wednesday 2nd December after the end of the national lockdown. It is disappointing that the highest level of restrictions will apply but this had been inevitable given the level of cases in recent weeks.

The last week of data shows a very welcome reduction with the new cases falling by over a third showing that the lockdown has been effective. Cases for the week to 20 November were 367, down from 580 the week before. This equates to 274 cases per 100,000 well above the national average. The local area of Openwoodgate and Holbrook with a rate of cases of nearly 600 per 100,000 was the 4th highest area in England. The overall average for Derbyshire was 248 cases per 100,000, and England 217. The decision by the Government was based on this data plus the relatively high level of cases in the over 60s and the occupation levels of local hospitals.

The move into tier 3 means that from Wednesday 2 December non-essential shops can re-open along with personal care providers like hairdressers and barbers. Indoor and outdoor leisure activities can resume but groups and classes cannot take place indoors. You can meet in groups of up to 6 in outdoor public spaces like parks, but not meet in private gardens or indoors. Sadly pubs and restaurants cannot reopen. The full details are available on the Gov.UK site as are the details of support for businesses affected by these restrictions.

The Tier 3 decision will be reviewed again in 2 weeks’ time. If the recent fall in the number of cases continues then there is a good chance the county can be moved into Tier 2 before Christmas allowing us all some more freedoms, and enabling hospitality venues to open.

I would like to thank everyone who has obeyed the rules during lockdown helping bring about the substantial reduction in cases last week. I would urge everyone  to stick to the rules  for the rest of the lockdown and then the tier 3 rules afterwards so that we can get the virus under control locally and left more restrictions in a couple of weeks’ time.

You can find the rules in full for tier 3 here and you can still register for my zoom residents’ meeting at 7.30pm on Friday (27th November 2020) by emailing nigel.mills.mp@parliament.uk.


Epidemiological predictions – Analysis of prior model failure, a presentation provided to ministers on 26 November 2020 further to this report: Summary of methodological issues in epidemiology, all by Mike Hearn, plan99.net.

The CADEY committee, chaired by Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, has met virtually for an update on its campaign to increase the number of lifesaving defibrillators across the constituency.

Formed in 2018, CADEY – standing for Community Access Defibrillators East Yorkshire – identified 63 communities without a publicly accessible defibrillator when it was formed. This has since been reduced by more than half by offering match-funding schemes with parish councils, as well as by asking businesses to use community funds to help purchase them.

The committee’s latest meeting on 20th November brought Graham together with representatives from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) as well as health and welfare charities the HEY Smile Foundation, Help for Health and NURSE.

With the help of 50% match-funding from NURSE, six new defibrillators are due to be installed in the coming weeks and months, including in South Dalton and Mappleton, while publicly accessible defibrillators in Kilnsea and Rise have now been added to the YAS database so they are able to direct patients to them in an emergency.

Graham said, “So many cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals – 30,000 a year – and only one in every ten people survive. There’s no magic bullet of course, but raising awareness of the importance of CPR and defibrillators can make a massive difference because every minute without treatment reduces someone’s chances of survival by 10%.

“I’m delighted as well that we’ve seen CPR training added to the national curriculum, because some other countries which teach it regularly have almost twice the survival rates.

“Knowing where your nearest defibrillator is and being confident to use it are two simple steps that can save lives.”

Leading charities have raised concerns that survival rates could be getting worse after one-third of British adults said that they didn’t know whether they should be giving CPR during the pandemic, or if it has to be performed by trained clinicians in suitable PPE. Official guidance from the Resuscitation Council recommends placing loose material over the patient’s mouth and nose before performing hands-only CPR.

The CADEY committee is also working up plans to send postcards across Beverley and Holderness, with information about what to do in case of emergency alongside the location of the closest available defibrillator. The committee will be encouraging people to stick these on their fridge, so the information is close to hand in an emergency.

The postcards will also invite people to download the free what3words app, which has given every 3-metre square in the world a unique combination of words. Their system is already used by YAS to quickly identify where to go on call-outs and giving YAS the three words corresponding to your exact location can save paramedics vital minutes to help in the fight to save lives.

The postcards will feature space for people to write in the what3words corresponding to their home address, so that YAS know exactly where to head to and can tell the caller where their closest defibrillator is.

Northumberland to be placed in Tier 3 from 2 December

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Today's announcement from the Health Secretary confirmed that Northumberland would be placed into Tier 3 as we exit the naitonal lockdown on Wednesday 2nd December. There is more information on the Covid Winter Plan, the Christmas bubbles, expansion of support bubbles and the route out of measures…
Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has strongly endorsed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spending Review 2020, which aims to deliver on the peoples' priorities. “The emphasis on jobs, infrastructure and economic growth, as well…

Isles MP Angus MacNeil is backing calls by Prospect Union to protect island jobs by opposing the centralisation of Air Traffic Control functions to Inverness.

Prospect members in Air Traffic Control at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) are to be balloted on industrial action over HIAL’s plans to push on with its remote towers project.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said: “This is an inevitable consequence of HIAL’s high handed approach to people’s jobs and livelihoods and damaging the island economy by taking critical, well paid jobs out of the area.  It is time now for the Scottish Government to step in.

“HIAL’s answers have not been good enough. Air Traffic Control staff and the public deserve better. The Transport Minister needs to get involved and our Air Traffic Control services need to be kept in Benbecula and Stornoway.”

Prospect have stressed that any industrial action will have no effect on emergency services and if action is taken it will be after the Christmas holiday period.


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

The Scottish Government has agreed a cautious and limited relaxation of the rules on household meetings to support people over the Christmas period. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed it is clear that there is a risk inherent in any relaxation … Continue reading

The post CHRISTMAS GUIDANCE appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

Letter on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Following Catherine’s debate in Parliament last week making the case for an international fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, she has written to Minister James Cleverly. The UK has a chance to seize this crucial opportunity to support multilateral efforts to advance peace in the Middle East. Text of letter: Rt Hon James Cleverly MP Minister of … Continue reading Letter on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

White Ribbon Day 2020

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Today I am supporting #WhiteRibbonDay, which marks the start of 16 days of action to raise awareness of violence against women.

2020 has seen a shocking increase in domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women around the world and we must never remain silent.

Everyone can work together to prevent violence and make sure our homes and communities are safe for all.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing ahead of the Government’s anticipated announcement on Thursday, allocating local areas to the new tier system, to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in England.

It is clear that strong measures will continue to be needed once we come out of the current national lockdown restrictions on 2 December, to ensure we keep people safe and well.

However, it is vital that careful consideration is given to ensuring the right areas are placed in the right tiers. While we welcome the way the three tiers recognise that different areas require different approaches to managing the virus, we believe that Nottingham City Council is uniquely placed to understand the best interests of its citizens.

Last month, Nottingham was placed in tier 2 before being stepped up to tier 3, alongside our partners in the neighbouring Nottinghamshire County Council. At that time, we had one of the highest rates of Covid-19 in the country. Since then, we have seen a significant and sustained reduction in the rate of Covid-19 in Nottingham City, with 40 consecutive days of falling Covid cases and counting. We now sit below the national average for rates per 100,000 population and are ranked 121st Lower Tier Local Authority nationally. I’m sure you would agree this is a dramatic and impressive turnaround.

Our rate is now 50 per cent lower than when we were last placed into tier 3. We believe our sustained lower rate of Covid-19 should be reflected in the way Nottingham is allocated a tier this time around.

Our fall in cases of Covid-19 is a reflection of the hard work which has taken place, along with neighbouring councils, the police, businesses and our city’s two universities – as well as with the local NHS. All organisations have united in a shared response to reducing the spread of the virus.

It is also, of course, attributable to the efforts of our local communities, and their support in adhering to the guidelines and restrictions in place. We feel that people in Nottingham have worked hard to bring down the rate of Covid-19 in our communities and among our older population – and that our position in the tier system should reflect this decrease.

We know that ongoing restrictions will continue to have a significant impact on our businesses, our hospitality sector and our communities. It is vital the right decisions are made for our city.

We would like the opportunity to build on Nottingham’s successful partnership work in a way that allows us more freedom to reopen key parts of our economy: to keep restaurants and indoor entertainment venues open and to ensure our city can begin to reopen in a way that is safe, supported and protected.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further.

Yours sincerely
Cllr David Mellen
Leader, Nottingham City Council

The post Letter from Cllr David Mellen to the PM on COVID Tiers appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

Return of grassroots sports

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

On Monday this week I was in the chamber of the House of Commons to hear the Prime Minister announce that the national COVID lockdown will end on 2 December to be replaced with a tiered system. This is obviously very good news, and this easing of the restrictions is a result of the success […]

Preet asks the Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP about rumours the Government will break its own manifesto commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid. #SaveAid

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/p_ohkKM9tUE" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Big Spending Boost for Defence!

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Last week’s announcement of an additional £16.5 billion boost for defence represents the biggest spending boost for our Armed Forces for more than 30-years.

This will result in 10,000 new jobs a year, it will help revitalise UK shipbuilding, help the UK to become a world leader in cyber and space as well as allowing us to invest more resources in research and development.

Our Armed Forces do a tremendous job from keeping us safe to assisting with humanitarian operations. Their sense of duty and their professionalism is an example to us all and this additional support for defence spending is very welcomed news.

We’re halfway there, so well done

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

As we approach the halfway point of the Government’s nationwide lockdown, I want to thank constituents and businesses for abiding by the new restrictions.

The Government has lost control of the virus, and my first duty is to keep my constituents safe. That is why I voted for the lockdown. Nobody voted for the regulations with anything but a heavy heart. I did not come into Parliament to restrict people’s freedoms.

This period must be used to undertake the transfer of test and trace to local public health departments, including a full resource transfer. In addition, the Government must ensure that the NHS and social care are fully prepared with adequate PPE, as high as possible uptake of flu vaccinations and regular testing regimes.

I have proposed measures to protect the clinically vulnerable and providing ‘supportive shielding’ so that people don’t experience the devastating isolation that happened last time. We must also make sure we have simple, coherent messaging with local community engagement as well as monitoring and enforcement capacity to support people complying during the lockdown.

Local restrictions have had a devastating effect on people living in care homes and their families.  As co-Chair of the APPG on Dementia I have received heart-breaking stories from Oldhamers, unable to visit their loved ones for months on end, and who have seen a marked deterioration in their condition, particularly for those living with dementia.

I secured a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of coronavirus on people living with dementia, their families and carers last week, where I challenged the Minister on these issues. I pressed the Minister to report back to Parliament on her trial of visitor testing which starts on 16th November in 30 care homes, with the intention of rolling out testing for visitors across the country in December.  It is essential that family members are able to safely visit their loved ones in care homes, especially as we approach Christmas.

I have also been challenging the Government on how they’ve been awarding Covid-related contracts. Billions of pounds of public money has been awarded to private companies often with no experience in delivering medical supplies. The Government’s repeated refusal to come clean about where this public money has left no option but to compel the Government to come clean through the courts. This is why I partnered with Caroline Lucas MP, Layla Moran MP and the Good Law Project in legal action to force the Government to publish details of private covid and PPE related contracts.

Whilst we recognise that at the beginning of the pandemic we needed to move quickly, this does not justify the Government’s wholesale disregard for transparency including the publication of contracts awarded. The Government has now disclosed that at least £17 billion worth of Covid-19 contracts have been awarded by the Department of Health and Social Care since April, with over £4 billion of these contracts being hidden. The transparency gap is therefore growing.

I am pleased that last week the High Court granted our judicial review to challenge the Government’s persistent failure to publish these contracts. The hearing is scheduled for mid-January 2021 and I’ll keep you informed of our progress.

Do look after yourselves and stay safe.

Feel strongly about this article?

The post We’re halfway there, so well done appeared first on Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Update on Activities

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

I take no pleasure in the downfall of anyone but I am pleased that Mr Cummings has left Downing Street. His behaviour over a trip north to Durham and visit to Barnard Castle apparently caused a major rift in relations between himself and the Prime Minister. At the time I thought it unacceptable and…

Earlier this month I was delighted to be personally invited by renowned businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, John Mills to join the advisory board of his new Institute for Prosperity recently. The nine person advisory board is made up of a group of cross-party MPs, former MPs and Peers. All of whom have Ministerial or Shadow Ministerial experience.

The Institute was set up earlier this year by Mr Mills who is also the founder and Chairman of South Shields based consumer goods company JML, which sells high-volume consumer products in the UK and 85 countries worldwide. The Institute’s aim is to increase prosperity, growth and equality by putting a more successful economic future at the heart of British political discourse.

South Shields, like many towns across the country have been decimated by lack of investment and deindustrialisation and many have been forgotten by successive governments. Growing up I watched this powerful and prosperous industrious town slowly wither and as a result 100’s of skilled jobs, like that of my fathers disappeared too along with much needed investment. So, I am delighted to work alongside John and parliamentary colleagues to do all we can to find a consensus, to provide a platform to bring people with fresh ideas together and to find new solutions to Britain’s economic problems.

Last week, I was delighted to have had breakfast with the Prime Minister in Downing Street where we spoke about my hopes for Ashfield and Eastwood. It was a productive meeting and I am confident that this Government will deliver the investment our area has been crying out for now for decades.…


Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

Really pleased to see this news, especially for Bradford on Avon and Melksham. Libraries are more important than ever as many of us will be spending more time at home this month. Thank you to all the staff involved who are making this possible!


The post Libraries appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Statement on Tata Steel Group Announcement

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)

Remembrance Day

Nick Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East)

As we all get used to the second lockdown there are difficulties for huge numbers of people, ranging from churchgoers to gym enthusiasts. But my biggest worry is the effect on businesses, as keeping people at work is so important for reasons that go well beyond the economic. It was timely, then,…

Just has called on the Government to fundamentally rebalance the UK economy in order to unlock the potential of the North.

Speaking in a House of Common’s debate on support for the economy in the north of England, Judith Cummins MP said:

“Even before the covid-19 crisis, the UK economy was fundamentally unbalanced. The Government’s handling of the Covid crisis, and in particular their approach to local restrictions and regional packages of financial support, has shown that too often the needs of the North are still an after-thought or, worse, ignored altogether.

“Instead of establishing a clear and transparent framework of support, proportionate to need, the Government has employed a strategy of divide and rule.

“We are now in a national lockdown of course, and the furlough scheme has been extended until March, but the Government must set out exactly what will happen at the end of this period. They have indicated we will go back into the tiered system, but many businesses in Bradford will simply not survive if we go straight back into tier 2 or 3 with the current level of support. 

“In the short term, the Government must ensure that whatever the restrictions are after December 2nd, there is a fair set of financial support that takes into account how long an area has been under local restrictions. For each measure, the Government should produce an impact assessment by region, which includes the impact on regional inequality and the regional economy.

“In the longer term, we need a fundamental rebalancing of our economy. Levelling up rhetoric and the odd project here and there will not be enough. Trust is in short supply and the people of the North will hold this Government to account for their promises and their actions.”

Judith also called for reform of the Treasury’s ‘Green Book’ which is used to make decisions on Government investment, as it currently “skews investment and therefore growth into where it already happens, rather than where it needs to happen”. In response, the Government announced they would be publishing the revised Green Book at this year’s spending review on the 25th November.

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Angela Rayner (Ashton-under-Lyne)

Questioning the Health Secretary about a Covid vaccine

Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

Today in Parliament I pressed the Health Secretary Matt Hancock for answers on how the roll-out of an approved COVID-19 vaccine is likely to affect our lives and when it might be completed.

I will continue to intervene in debates to ensure the government carefully review the progress of the vaccine, and we can look safely towards an end to social distancing.

Welwyn Hatfield MP and Ex-RAF Serviceman Steve McNamara Remark on Remembrance Sunday 2020

Traditional remembrance memorial services have halted by the coronavirus pandemic, preventing gatherings around memorials and cenotaphs.

However, Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps believes that this should not lessen our commitment to remembering those who have died in war.

Visiting the Hatfield Memorial Garden, Mr Shapps said: “Today cuts very deep inside really because it makes you recall…the ultimate sacrifice that so many have given to make sure that we have the freedoms that we have today.

“It’s so easy to forget what they went through- the horror of it all- so that we could live in peace.”

Steve McNamara, an RAF veteran from Welwyn Garden City with grandfathers who fought in both First and Second World Wars, said:

“I think every generation has historic, cataclysmic events that define them.

“For this generation, it is probably COVID. It has produced heroes and victims, and I think these will be remembered in the future.”

Mr Shapps also spoke of the vital role of the Armed Forces in the battle against the virus:

“This is a Remembrance Sunday like no other, as we battle this coronavirus.

“But the thing to remember is that a lot of the people that we’re here commemorating and thanking, are actually out there serving right now.

“Thousands internationally, but also at home in the battle against the virus- for example in Liverpool, helping with mass-testing.”

Mr Shapps laid a wreath at the Hatfield memorial. He said: “I think in the Armed Forces we have as much to thank today as we ever have.

“That’s why Remembrance Sunday- even remembering it slightly differently than usual is so important.”

A video of the visit was produced, which you can view below:



Ahead of Burma's Election later this month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma released the following statement, raising their concerns about the credibility of the elections. 

It could not be more clear that the North is being treated completely differently to the South. I took the opportunity yesterday to question the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, about what financial support package would be available to businesses and workers going forward:

Prior to this lockdown announcement, we had had almost universal calls for an extension to the full furlough scheme in areas with tighter restrictions, which Ministers had rejected for months. Despite that, the Government saw fit to announce a new version of this on Saturday, only hours before the previous furlough was due to be replaced by an inferior scheme for us in the north, as further restrictions were becoming inevitable in many areas. Many people in the north therefore now believe that until workers in the south were to be affected by the national lockdown, they were somehow thought to be worth less. Businesses in Gateshead and elsewhere are desperate for clarity and certainty to help them in planning and so that they know whether and how they can survive. Will the Chief Secretary commit today to publishing details of a comprehensive, ongoing financial support package available to businesses and their workers in areas that will continue to need it, where tiers of restrictions might, sadly, have to continue after 2 December?

The full debate can be found at: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2020-11-03a.162.0&s=ian+mearns#g174.0

None of us wanted these new restrictions, and the Government has done everything in its power to avoid them.

As the Prime Minister said on Saturday night, we understand the huge impact further restrictions have on jobs, on livelihoods and on people’s mental health.

Throughout this pandemic we have sought to protect our businesses and limit the intrusions on personal liberty as much as possible. For those of us who came into politics to help hardworking people and small businesses to thrive, it is heartbreaking to place these burdens upon them. For those of us who value personal freedom deeply, it pains us to inhibit it in this way.

But the data left us with no choice, but to take this course of action and introduce new restrictions until 2nd December.

As Local Government Secretary, I strongly believe that we were right in pursuing a local and regional approach to tackling this virus. I want to thank the millions who have put up with local restrictions and the local leaders who have stepped up to deliver this approach. Councils and local leaders have done wonderful work to help tackle the virus in their areas, and I firmly believe that in the longer term that is the approach that works best.

That’s why after we ease restrictions on 2nd December we are planning to continue with a local approach according to the latest data and trends.

But for now, the stark reality is that infections, hospitalisations and deaths continue to double, meaning that the virus is now a national problem.

The NHS and its workforce is weeks from being placed in an impossible situation. And those concerns are shared by our NHS colleagues from rural Cornwall to Nottingham to Newcastle. And a significantly higher death toll than the first wave is now predicted without taking further restrictions. We owe it to the country to act, and to act swiftly.

The Prime Minister made a decision that any responsible leader would make when presented with the new medical evidence last week and will set out his plans to parliament ahead of a vote on Wednesday.

Non-Covid healthcare can continue as normal – so that you can continue to use the NHS for your treatments, appointments and scans.

And the furlough scheme has been extended for a further month, covering 80% of employees’ wages. The Prime Minister and Chancellor have always been clear that we will do whatever it takes to protect businesses and their employees.

These are tough national measures, but they are different from those in the Spring. Our schools, colleges and universities remain open and we should resist those who would close them. As a parent I know there is simply no substitute for face to face teaching and our children’s education must not be set back again.

Unlimited exercise outdoor is permitted and single person households can form a support bubble. Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside, meaning that a parent can see a friend or family member with their baby or young children, and children and adults who are dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, will also be included in this exemption. Churches and places of worship will remain open,  providing solace and comfort for people, albeit for private prayer rather than communal worship.

If you can work from home you should, but if not, you can and should go to work, following the relevant guidance for your workplace. Too many jobs and businesses have been lost already, with all the harm that comes with that, so we must do everything we can to keep working and we in Government will do all we can to support you.

As Housing Secretary, I can confirm that the housing market will remain open throughout this period as will construction sites, building the homes and sustaining the jobs we desperately need. Tradespeople like plumbers and electricians can come into your home as long as they follow social distancing guidance.

Those we previously asked to stay at home and shield, the clinically extremely vulnerable, will be given new guidance shortly that will be less restrictive. But nonetheless they should continue to be cautious.

These changes are important to protect our way of life and our livelihoods, but I am under no illusion that the things people really want to do are hug their grandchildren, finally have the postponed wedding or simply share a cup of tea with old friends. But it is by taking these tough decisions now that we will get through this together.

Members of the public have shown incredible forbearance, patience and dignity in responding to this unique situation, and shown the character that has always been present in this country at moments of great challenge.

Amidst this winter gloom, there are rays of light piercing through and raising our eyes to the horizon. We know more about this virus with every day that passes and there are ever better medicine and therapies, along with the realistic chance of a vaccine being available for those that need it most in the first quarter of next year.

We expect to have quick turnaround tests that will tell you whether or not you have the virus very soon – with a massive expansion of these planned in the coming weeks.

These are reasons for optimism – but there is no denying that there are hard days ahead of us.

But by acting now, it is our hope that families across the country can be together for Christmas.

So, from Thursday: rejoin in a further national effort to protect the NHS, save lives and move forward together.

(Newspaper column as seen in The Pigeon in October 2020)

This month sees the end of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, which was put in place at the start of lockdown to avoid mass job losses. It leaves many people in Bristol South facing a very uncertain future.

I, and my Labour colleagues, have been pushing to see the scheme extended for those hardest hit sectors which are still unable to operate properly due to ongoing restrictions. Disappointingly, the Government chose to ignore the calls from us, from business owners, trade unions, think tanks, the cross-party Treasury Select Committee and some of its own MPs; in doing so, it has let down hundreds of thousands of people working in vulnerable industries such as hospitality, leisure, travel and the arts.

Bristol South does not have lots of large employers which can accommodate mass remote working set up. Families across Bristol South rely on paid work with Bristol Airport and in cafes, bars and restaurants as well as the creative sector. It’s home to lots of small businesses, many of which were struggling before the pandemic hit and this has made things a hundred times harder. I’ve heard from local business owners and self-employed people with heartbreaking stories of their family business, in the community for decades employing local people, suddenly facing financial ruin and closure as a result of this pandemic.

The percentage of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in Bristol South has already risen from 3.6% in March to 6.2% this summer, and this is likely to increase further. I’m hearing from lots of people who’ve always worked and have never had to apply for government support before. And it’s hitting women and young people particularly hard. We must act now to avert the biggest jobs crisis of a generation.

The Government announced the launch of a Kickstart scheme to support younger jobseekers in August, but we’re yet to see this in action and there appears to be no job guarantee at the end of it. I welcome the offer of extra paid incentives for businesses taking on new apprentices and would encourage employers in Bristol South to explore this further, but they too will need jobs at the end of their training and, at the moment, there is no guarantee there either.

This piecemeal approach is not enough. We need a national plan for job retention and creation as well as retraining. I will continue lobbying the Government on this and am working on plans for my 2021 jobs and apprenticeships fair to help link local people up with jobs and training opportunities. In the meantime, there is help available locally to support people with job hunting and employability skills, see here for more details.

The post OPINION: Karin Smyth MP on a rise in unemployment in Bristol South first appeared on Karin Smyth.

Tories deny free school meals to 2 million children

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Conservative MPs – including all Scots Tories – refuse to back free meals for children in school holidays Yesterday afternoon in the House of Commons, Brendan O’Hara MP led for the SNP in the Opposition Day debate on access to free school meals and called on the UK Government to commit to tackling widespread poverty, […]

Rubbish dumping survey

Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)

The post Rubbish dumping survey appeared first on Liam Byrne MP.

Network Rail is preparing the final stages of delivering step-free access at Garforth Railway Station, it has been announced.

Alec had been campaigning for new step-free access at Garforth for over a decade before finally securing funds direct from the Department for Transport. Alec will continue to work closely, cross-party, with Garforth’s Independent Councillors to represent the views of residents through the planning process.

Announcing the scheme in 2014, the then Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “After years of false starts and broken promises under Labour, it is a testament to the local Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke’s persistent campaigning that I can announce that this scheme is finally happening for the people of Garforth”.

Since 2014 Alec has been in regular contact with Transport officials pushing for firmer plans and no further delays. He also raised the matter several times in the House of Commons Chamber.

But today it has been announced that the final stage before construction is now underway.

Alec said: “Today I’m delighted that Network Rail has formalised a plan with four options for stakeholders to choose from before the submission of a full planning application to Leeds City Council. It is my hope that Leeds City Council can deal with the application swiftly to avoid no further delays”.

“I have been campaigning for step-free access at Garforth Station for many years. We had an original plan submitted but this then incurred unnecessary delays along the way but I have been committed to providing disabled people and pushchair users with the same access to travel as everyone else – and delivering step-free access at Garforth station will help thousands more people travel easily and without additional cost, time or stress”.

Previously, Garforth resident Mrs Morris said: “We’ve waited far too long for disabled access at Garforth. The elderly, disabled and those with pushchairs have not been able to use the station so we’re extremely grateful to Alec for fighting alongside us to deliver this disabled access”.

The Government’s Access for All programme was first launched in 2006 and has delivered more than 200 accessible routes into selected stations so far.

A further 1,500 stations have received smaller scale improvements such as accessible toilets, platform humps to reduce stepping distances and improvements to help those with a visual or hearing impairment.

The post Garforth Station – step free access ready for planning permission. appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke.

Made by @davorg / Last built: Tuesday 01 December 2020 01:22