New Covid Measures (Plan B Response)
On Tuesday MPs voted for the introduction of new measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
These new measures include:
- Face coverings, which are now compulsory in the majority of indoor public venues, such as cinemas and theatres – as well as on public transport and in shops. Masks are not required in pubs or restaurants or gyms.
- COVID Pass (Either proof of double vaccination or a negative test result) which is required for entry into nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people or any venue with more than 10,000 people.
- Mandatory vaccinations for all health and social care workers in England that are patient-facing.
At the beginning of this week, I tested positive for COVID-19 and I was extremely keen to be at the vote but could not travel from Broxtowe to Parliament to do so. In line with Government guidance, I am isolating to keep others safe.
Unfortunately, there are no mechanisms for a Member of Parliament to vote by proxy due to having to self-isolate and the pairing arrangements used when MPs are absent effectively record non-voting as an abstention. As I have strong views on some of the new measures, I wanted to make my position clear that if I had been able to attend the vote on Tuesday I would have voted against the introduction of vaccine passes.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the Government has rightly taken a precautionary approach to protect our most vulnerable. The series of new measures which the Government has implemented are to prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant. I do think it is right that we now ensure we are all staying safe by: working from home where we can, wearing our masks and getting our booster vaccines. However, I believe we should not have become a country that denies people entry to businesses, venues and restaurants on the basis of their vaccine status. Although I firmly believe that we must encourage everybody who is able to have the vaccine to do so, the imposition of vaccine passports is something I fundamentally believe to be discriminatory and a step too far that undermines the freedoms we cherish.
Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the New Year, a month ahead of the previous target. More than 500,000 booster jabs were administered on Monday alone. You can book this via the NHS website using the following link:
I strongly encourage everyone eligible to do this.
December has been a busy month in Parliament and I have spoken on several occasions in the House on issues that matter to people here in Broxtowe.
On 8th December I attended the Opposition Day debate about the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan. I was pleased to highlight the £12.8 billion worth of investment into the East Midland’s rail network along with improvements for the region including a new station at Toton. I am thrilled that the Government has committed to better and greener transport for Broxtowe.
The Government has firmly committed to tackling climate change and on Thursday 9th December I spoke at the Westminster Hall debate about the importance of Electric Vehicles in reducing our carbon emissions.
Ambitious targets require equally ambitious policies. We are working to roll out more charging points and invest in battery technology to help ensure that we reach the Government’s target to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
I was also pleased to intervene during last week’s debate on caring for children and young people with complex needs. I believe that better care in the community is essential to supporting our most vulnerable in society. I asked the Government what more can be done to get local authorities to support this and prevent the need for unnecessary hospitalisations.
I also attended the Transport Subgroup of the Midlands Engine All-Party Parliamentary Group discussing the need for greater transport investment into the region. The East Midlands especially has seen lower levels of investment in transport infrastructure compared to other regions of the UK and it is vital we address this imbalance. There are strong proposals for locating the headquarters of the new Great British Railways in the region and I look forward to seeing this bid progress.
Furthermore, I am delighted to be backing Matt Hancock’s Bill for dyslexia screening in schools. Dyslexia affects around 10% of the population and of those, a staggering 4 out of 5 children leave school without a diagnosis. This Bill will be crucial in enabling people with dyslexia to achieve their true potential.
It was great to attend the Nottinghamshire Plastic Clever Schools Round-Table Event organised by Kids Against Plastic to discuss how we can make our county’s schools free from plastic waste. If you are a school and would like more information on how to become a Plastic Clever School then please follow the link below for more information. https://www.kidsagainstplastic.co.uk/
I was also delighted to visit the Bird Hide Micro Pub in Attenborough this weekend. The Treasury has listened to the concerns raised by small brewers and made changes to the relief curve to help the industry which has struggled due to the pandemic. Now the Government has increased the 50% threshold to 2,500 hectolitres after initially proposing to increase it only to 2,100 hectolitres. This is great news for our small brewers, and I am keen to offer them my continued support.
This year, I launched my first ever Christmas Card competition encouraging local school pupils to submit entries with the winning design featuring on the front of the card. I want to offer a big thank you to all pupils that entered the competition and it was a hard choice to make with so many excellent designs.
Congratulations to Sienna from Mornington Primary School who designed the winning entry and a special mention to Chloe from Horsendale Primary School and Niamh of Beeston Rylands Junior School as the runners up.
I look forward to seeing more exciting designs next year.
Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all my constituents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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