As I am sure all would have seen, this week the Prime Minister set out our roadmap for a cautious easing of national restrictions, which will ensure we do not undo the incredible progress we have made so far. I am glad to see this medium-term plan of what lies ahead; this has been one of my top priorities and I have consistently made Broxtowe’s case to Government. After this difficult year, businesses need certainty and I know families and friends are longing to get back together again!
Really grateful that because people have been adhering to the restrictions, and that the vaccination programme here in Nottinghamshire is going so well that we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. For more clarity, I have a full summary of this available on my website.
In other news, this week I went to Stapleford Library to have a Covid-19 test as part of the community testing that has just opened there. It was quick, easy and I would encourage anyone locally with no symptoms of Covid-19 to go along and get tested. Getting tested is a really easy way to help loved ones, workmates and our community to stay safe!
I am also delighted to say that a new vaccination location is planned to open from week commencing 1st March at The Village Hotel, Brailsford Way, Nottingham NG9 6DL. This is great news for Broxtowe and is something that I have been calling for and lobbying our clinical leads on for quite some time.
I understand that the first vaccinations will be delivered from 5th March but it is likely that appointments will be available to be booked from earlier in the week. Residents will be able to book into the site through the National Booking Service – by calling 119. Equally, I will update my website with booking details once they are clarified by the Nottinghamshire clinical leads.
This week the number of people that have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has continued to increase and I want to thank NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for their incredible work. Up to Monday 22nd February, over 94 per cent of people aged over eighty, over 99 per cent of people aged 75-79 and over 93 per cent of people aged 70-74 have received their first dose of the vaccine. In total, more than 300,000 vaccines have been administered across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire since December with the CCG remaining on track to achieve all vaccination targets set by Government.
On this, I am so glad the Government have decided to change the priority groups for the vaccine, meaning all adults on the GP Learning Disabilities Register are now prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine. In January, I wrote the letter below to Matt Hancock pushing for him to reconsider the priority groups for the vaccine to include all adults with learning disabilities. Thank you to all those constituents who wrote to me passionately about this issue and I am glad to see this change has been enacted.
In other local news, on Monday we had another really exciting Push Bike Broxtowe Forum with constituents, councillors and bike-enthusiasts. It was good to discuss plans on how to improve cycling locally in Broxtowe and how to bring those plans to fruition. Thank you all for attending and presenting your views. After all, cycling is a fantastic way to explore Broxtowe and the surrounding areas in an environmentally friendly way while improving physical health, mental health and having fun! All of this was picked up in the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Cycling and Walking which I attended and we looked in detail at the impact of the Planning White Paper with colleagues.
Following several meetings with residents from across Broxtowe, I have asked the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department are taking to ensure areas designated OFCOM area 2 can access Government schemes to improve their broadband speeds.
Equally, following conversations with residents, I brought a question to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking what steps his Department is taking to ensure that smart motorways maintain the same safety standards as conventional motorways. I will keep all of those who have contacted me updated with the response.
With the Spring Budget coming up, I have co-signed a letter to the Chancellor with the APPG for Hospitality and Tourism calling for decisive support for our local businesses going forward into the next financial year. I know that hospitality and tourism are vital to the UK’s economy along with the livelihoods and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK. The pandemic has amplified this, with its impacts illustrating the pan-UK nature of these sectors, the economic benefits they generate, and the wider social and wellbeing benefits that they provide. I want clarity to see this sector through the next year.
This week the Government announced an extra £700 million of support being made available to support educational inequalities and to allow the children most affected by school closures to ‘catch up’. Alongside the £1 billion Covid Catch Up Fund, these measures will ensure that students can get the grades that truly reflect their ability and potential, so they can progress to the next stage of their education or training, and get the future they deserve. For children and young people in Broxtowe, this is hugely important and I am glad to see this being recognised by Government.
Last month, I spoke with representatives from The Sutton Trust to hear about the incredible work they do to support students from less advantaged backgrounds applying for university and apprenticeships. Their scholarships are free of cost to students but would provide life-changing opportunities. I would encourage students at state schools and colleges in Broxtowe to apply for Sutton Trust’s Summer Schools before the deadline on Tuesday 2nd March!
Finally, please be aware that throughout Covid, I have been holding a number of virtual surgeries with residents in Broxtowe on a number of issues. You can arrange a call with me by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now, stay safe
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