On Tuesday, I co-chaired the first roundtable for the Midlands Engine All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The Midlands Engine APPG will play a crucial cross-party role in supporting economic growth in the Midlands. This group will provide both a forum for Midlands MPs and Peers to receive crucial data and analysis of the economic performance of the region, and for parliamentarians to collectively raise the issues which matter most in delivering economic growth for the Midlands. I arranged for the APPG to be addressed by Midlands Engine Chair, Sir John Peace, and representatives from Midlands Connect. It was incredibly exciting to chair a group of passionate MPs and peers committed to ensuring that the Midlands is not left behind, and I look forward to championing the growth of the Midlands, especially Broxtowe, in the near future.
I also met with Mars Petcare to discuss the impact of loneliness in our community and the role that pets can play to help address this. It is clear that months of lockdown has had an adverse impact on the most vulnerable in our community and I was interested to hear their solutions to this. We have some interesting projects planned that I hope to share with you in the future but, in the meantime, it is worth remembering to check-in on neighbours, friends and family and, if possible, plan Covid-safe activities such as going for walks in local parks or having a coffee at a local shop. Whatever you do, please make sure you follow the coronavirus rules to keep yourself, and others, safe and reduce the spread of the virus.
I am aware that some of you have reported current difficulties in accessing Covid-19 tests. I have raised this urgently with the Government and have been assured that officials are aware of difficulties with the system and are working tirelessly to increase capacity. We have made great progress in expanding our testing capacity in recent months but, as we head into autumn and winter, more must be done to meet the recent surge in demand for testing. I will continue to lobby the Government for increased testing in Broxtowe. To ensure the tests can be given to those with the greatest need, please only book a test if you have one or more of the Covid-19 symptoms: a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell. I am monitoring this situation closely and will continue to do so. If you have specific examples of cases that you are willing to share, please get in touch with me directly.
Congratulations to the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct who have successfully secured a share of a $1 million international grant funded by American Express (AMEX) to support the preservation efforts and plans to bring the viaduct back into public use. The Viaduct was one of seven projects chosen by the World Monuments Fund, in conjunction with AMEX, and recognised for its cultural, social and ecological benefits to the local community. I know the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct have been working incredibly hard to regenerate the structure and I wish them the very best.
I was pleased to meet the Chancellor on Monday to discuss the Government’s response to Covid-19 and the plans to help our country recover from the economic impact. Levelling-up is at the heart of the Government’s plan and I will continue to advocate for investment in Broxtowe. My recent work on this has included lobbying for investment in the Queen’s Medical Centre, working hard to secure funding for the Toton Link Road and supporting the Stapleford Towns Deal funding bid. As we recover from Covid-19, I will continue to do this and make sure that Broxtowe is not left behind.
168 Derby Road,