Newsletter 13: Friday 14th August

I have been busy this week making the most of recess by visiting many parts of the constituency, talking to constituents and supporting local businesses.

A-Level results came out this week with the government facing an enormous challenge in producing a fair approach. I know some people will be disappointed by the moderation, but keep in mind had it not taken place, 2020 results would be, on average, 12 percentage points better than in 2019. Improvement on such a scale in a single year has never occurred before. Also,  in a normal year, around 75 per cent of students will have a grade lower than predicted.  Importantly, students who have been downgraded have a number of options to get their grades reviewed.

The Government has also released the data on how much financial support workers and businesses in Crewe and Nantwich have been in receipt of via the furlough, self-employment and business assistance schemes. 14100 workers were furloughed, £8.2 million was paid to 2900 self-employed people, £40 million was paid to 1471 local businesses in receipt of government-backed loans and £20 million was given to 1663 local business in grants.  These figures really are astounding and I know they have saved the businesses and jobs of so many of my constituents but I hope explain why even though many have still found themselves in difficulty, ongoing spending at this scale is simply not sustainable.

I am focused on helping people where I can and that is why I, alongside other local organisations and partners, are hosting a virtual jobs fair in a couple of weeks time. If you are recruiting or looking for work check out the details below.

I visited the Crewe Alex training ground this week to congratulate them on their promotion. Check out the gift I took them below!

Dr Kieran Mullan
MP for Crewe & Nantwich

Covid-19 Restrictions Update
Jobs Fair
Crewe and Nantwich Furlough and Business Help Statistics
Cash Returning to Cheshire East Car Parks
Supporting Local Businesses

Self Employment Income Support Scheme
Cultural Recovery Grant
Nursing Apprenticeships 
Exam Results
Freight Locomotive Naming Ceremony

Traffic Report

 

Covid-19 Restrictions Update:

The government has updated its guidance on the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Coronavirus. These are the changes from the 15th August:

- Wedding Receptions can take place as sit-down meals for up to 30 people
- Close contact beauty services can resume
- Indoor performances can restart with social distancing
- Skating Rinks can reopen
- Bowling Alleys can reopen
- Public sporting events can run pilots
- Indoor soft play areas can reopen

As always the government will need to keep everything under review and will depend on carrying on local lockdowns and work being done all over the country every week focused on individual venues and workplaces with outbreaks. This allows wider society to be able to get back to more of the activities we are all missing.

In addition to this the they are cracking down on those that flout the rules over the coming weeks with a doubling of maximum fines to £3,200 for those who do not wear face masks when required, and on the spot fines for those who illegally host events with more than 30 people.

Jobs Fair:

I’m working with a number of partners in the Crewe & Nantwich constituency to come together to deliver a jobs fair to support employers and help people find work in anticipation of the economic challenges and job market risks as a result of COVID-19. More than a dozen regional and national employers are already signed up to participate offering a wide range of salaries and roles. The event will also include the local further education colleges and skills providers. The Cheshire & Warrington LEP, Cheshire East Council and the local Job Centre are all participating with DWP support. 

The event is taking place on Wednesday 26th August at 10am on the https://learnliveuk.com/cheshire-works-4-u-event-2/ platform. Registration for potential job applicants is open now. I want to encourage local employers to come forward if they are recruiting. We know it is a difficult time for some businesses, but in other areas of the economy we are seeing growth so I would encourage employers who are looking for staff to get in touch and take part. I’d particularly encourage local independent employers to take part who might not have the recruitment resources of bigger companies. Help us to help you. We already have a wide range of employers offering a wide range of roles, so any role of any kind is welcome. 

There is no cost to employers to take part which gives them the opportunity to share a video promoting the roles they are recruiting for. They can also be added to the listings of job opportunities that will go up on the day. Employers can also take part live to answer questions from participants about the roles they are offering. The whole event is recorded to allow for people to view the resources afterward if they can’t take part on the day. 

As well as the virtual jobs fair people will be able to view the roles being offered in person throughout the day at my office in Crewe (249 Edleston Road, Crewe, CW2 7EA) as well as Regents Park Businesses Park in Nantwich (Regents Park, London Rd, Nantwich ,CW5 6LW).

Those interested in signing up, or for any other information about this event can do so via this link https://learnliveuk.com/cheshire-works-4-u-event-2/

Employers interested can register online via https://forms.gle/kcMPxpj8i7fCsqCT7 or can contact my office on 01270 583 432 or email Kieran.mullan.mp@parliament.uk with any queries about the event. 

 

Crewe and Nantwich Furlough and Business Help Statistics: 

 At the start of lockdown large parts of our economy were at risk of total collapse. Whilst the Government has not been able to help everyone in very circumstance residents and businesses in Crewe and Nantwich have received an unprecedented level of financial support from the Government during the Coronavirus crisis. This includes: 

- 14100 workers furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (figures up to 30 June) 

- £8.2 million in grants for 2900 self-employed people through the self-employment Income Scheme (figures up to 30 June) 

- £40 million for 1471 local businesses in receipt of government-backed Bounce Back Loans, whilst separately supporting local businesses through offers of 76 government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme facilities (figures up to 02 August) 

- 655 local business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector and 21 nurseries that will pay no business rates this year (figures up to 05 July) 

- £20 million for 1663 local business that have received cash grants of up to £25,000 (figures up to 05 July) 

While I understand that this time has still been difficult for many and as mentioned not everyone received the support they would have liked, I am glad to see that so many local people and businesses received the support they desperately needed. 
 

Cash returning to Cheshire East Car Parks:

Fantastic news that Cheshire East Council have finally backed down.

The inability to use cash disadvantaged many older residents who do not use contactless or other forms of electronic payment. This change in policy is very welcomed. I want to thank all of the residents that helped by signing our petition and emailing the council leader.

This decision has taken too long and damaged local businesses but I welcome that common sense has finally prevailed thanks to pressure from local people and businesses refusing to be quiet about it.

Cheshire East have made a complete pig’s ear of the entire car parking situation to the detriment of Crewe and Nantwich ever since they prematurely brought charges back.

They need to crack on with their parking review without delay and I hope they manage that with greater success.

Supporting Local Businesses: 

Over the pass few weeks during Parliamentary Recess I have taken time out to visit and support local businesses. Below is just a selection of those I have visited: 

I visited Hickory’s in Gresty Green (Shavington) which is reopening next week to see the work the staff have done with getting the venue COVID secure. They have these great new outdoor booths so they have used it as an opportunity to enhance the place in the long run. It is taking part in the Governments Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, and the booking system crashed earlier this month with such a large demand. They are fully booked for their reopening next week so do check them out for following weeks!  
 
 
 

Funsters soft play has been at the heart of Crewe on Stallbridge Road for more than twenty years. The family run business is led by Kay Tran.  

I have a huge admiration for Kay and the whole team who are struggling and now trying their best to find a way forward. The staff have worked really hard to setup a COVID secure cafe and I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast!  

A message from Kay:  

"The opening of The Hall Cafe is Funsters fight for survival. We have already seen so many of our wonderful longstanding customers visit and I am really grateful for their support."  

Of course you will benefit from the half price discount on Mondays to Wednesdays and there is nothing stopping you giving back any savings in tips to the staff if the scheme discount isn’t something you particularly need.  

The government has put in unprecedented amounts of support for businesses but for those still locked down I am pressing for further sector specific support. But I would ask everyone locally who has enjoyed visiting Funsters over the years to come and try out their cafe to help keep them afloat. 

 I also visited the new site for the NWF Group on Jack Mill Way in Crewe, a specialist deliverer of Fuel, food and animal feed. Fantastic to see such a large warehouse providing jobs and investment for our area. 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: 

 The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens again for claims from 17 August, when eligible self-employed constituents can claim their second, and final, taxable SEISS grant. 

HMRC have said they will contact people (by letter, SMS and/or email) to invite them to claim from a specified date, if they meet the eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria for the second grant is the same as for the first grant – so as long as their business is still being adversely affected by coronavirus, constituents eligible for the first grant will be able to apply again. Applicants will be asked to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus at any time since 14 July, and that they intend to continue trading this tax year. 

If people don’t hear from HMRC, but think they are eligible, they can use the online claim process to check whether they can claim. 

If a constituent’s responsibilities as a new parent meant they did not submit a tax return for 2018/2019, or their trading profits in 2018/19 were less than their other income (and they were therefore ineligible for SEISS), they may now be able to claim. 

Eligibility includes: 

  • caring for a child within 12 months of birth, or adoption placement 

  • pregnancy or childbirth, within 26 weeks of the date of giving birth 

  • a stillbirth after more than 24 weeks of pregnancy  

For new parents, their 2017-18 or both 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns can now be used to assess eligibility and grant calculation. If these changes mean someone could now be eligible, they need to confirm to HMRC that being a new parent affected their trading profits or total income in the tax year 2018 to 2019. These changes mean new parents may now be able to claim for the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant, or both (depending on when their businesses may have been adversely affected by Coronavirus) when applications open for the second grant. 

Cultural Recovery Fund: 

 
Applications for the culture recovery fund, which aims to provide funding for cultural organisations which are struggling post-Covid-19, are now open. The fund is worth a total of £500 Million with individual grants between £50,000 and £3 Million and is available for both profit and non-profit cultural organisations. 

I know there are organisations in Crewe and Nantwich which would benefit from funds such as these, so I would encourage all that are eligible to put their applications in via the link below ASAP as the first round closes midday on 21st August. 

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/CRFgrants… 

Nursing Apprenticeships: 

 Pleased to see that the Government has announced a package to double the amount of Nursing apprenticeships. This comes as interest in health careers has surged with the amount of people looking online for information on nursing careers rising by 138% between March and June. This package will include: 

  • £172 Million to train new nurses 

  •  2000 New nursing degree apprenticeships over the next 4 years 

This will get us on track to delivering our manifesto commitment of 50,000 new nurses by the end of this parliament. 

 

Exam Results: 

Exam results have come about in a way no one would have imagined at the start of the year and in unprecedented times. I think it was inevitable that we would get challenges and cases where the system used has created results that seem inconsistent.

That is why I am very glad that the government has put in place a number of routes to enable people to appeal their grades.

Firstly, Students who would like to use a valid mock result will be able to ask for this through the appeals process. The government will fund schools to make these appeals.

Secondly there is a route for students to sit their exams later in the year. For those wishing to try and improve their grades by taking exams in the autumn, a support package will help schools with the costs associated with running these exams including booking venues, sourcing invigilators, and meeting the cost of autumn exam fees if they exceed summer fee rebates.

In addition, the school as a whole will also be able to appeal if they believe their historic data does not reflect the ability of their current students – that may be because they have experienced a recent change in leadership or because they have one or a number of exceptional students.

If I can add one bit of evidence to the debate which I hope explains the need to some central moderation, if grades were not statistically standardised, 2020 results would be, on average, 12 percentage points better than in 2019 at A level. Improvement on such a scale in a single year has never occurred and to fail to standardise grades would significantly undermine the value of them for students as a result. In a normal year, around 75 per cent of students will have a grade lower than predicted. These adjustments mean universities, colleges and employers can be confident this year’s results carry the same value, and students can compete on a level playing field for opportunities with students from previous and future years.

Crewe Alexandra Visit:

It was great to visit the Crewe Alexandra Football Club training academy this week to congratulate them on acheiving promotion. They have worked really hard to make pre-season training COVID secure. It was also great to hear how they really are unbeatable at home grown talent. Great to finish with some positive advice from David Artell on what is an unusual A-Level results day on success, perseverence and overcoming challenges for those who may not have received the result that they had hoped for.

I also did my bit to bridge the rugby football divide yesterday during my visit to the Alex training ground! Took a friendly gift-a rugby ball signed by my team mates and coaches from Crewe & Nantwich RUFC congratulating them on promotion. I am told it is going to have pride of place...... somewhere......

Freight Locomotive Naming:

Local freight company Freightliner has this week hosted a socially distanced naming ceremony for one of their new locomotives. The name they have chosen is ‘Over the Rainbow’ in honour of all keyworkers during this pandemic.  

Although I could not make it to the ceremony itself, I did visit the site later in the week. It was great to see and hear about all the work that they do. 
 

Traffic Report: 

Cherry Tree Road, Crewe - Closed until 17th September 

Stoneley Road, Crewe - Closed 17th August-17th until 27th August 

Edleston Road, Crewe – Closed 19th August until 28th August 

Yew Tree Road, Crewe – Closed until 19th August 

Milton Drive, Crewe – Closed until 20th August 

Wellington Road, Crewe – 15th August until 16th August 

 

Closed for Town centre social distancing: 

Hospital Street, Nantwich 

Church Lane, Nantwich  

Pillory Street, Nantwich 

Pall Mall, Nantwich 

Heath Street, Crewe 

Hill Street, Crewe 

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