This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday and, sadly, we will not be able to attend a service to commemorate those who served and died in the world wars and later conflicts. Please do join us for a Crewe Virtual Remembrance event, in place of the physical event, featuring readings and music from local young people and community organisations and a chance to donate to Royal British Legion which is missing out on the physical donations it would normally get at the event. Nantwich, Shavington, Willaston and others will also be hosting events. Details for how to join below or follow this link:
On Wednesday MPs voted on the November lockdown. I voted in favour of the Government introducing a national lockdown from lasting from the 5th November until the 2nd December. The overall votes on the lockdown were 516 for & 38 against.
To inform my vote, I set up a survey for Crewe and Nantwich residents, so they could give me their views on another lockdown and the approach the Government is taking. I am very grateful to all 863 people who completed this survey. The data from the survey showed that 55.9% of people agree with the month-long lockdown. That contrasts the 34.7% who disagreed with the lockdown and the 9.4% who were unsure. My survey also asked for people’s views on schools being kept open, and a breakdown of that data can be found below.
It is because the number of COVID-19 cases is rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and overseas that we must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
The Government have provided guidance for the lockdown on their website, which differs from the lockdown we had in spring, and an overview of the new guidance and support available can be found below.
I know how hard it is not to be able see friends and family and I'm very aware that people have already sacrificed so much. Huge efforts by millions across the country have made a difference however, unfortunately, the R rate is still above 1.
I do think it was right for the Government to try every possible option before we went into a national lockdown. Without action, it is projected that we would have twice as many deaths in the winter compared to the first wave.
This newsletter also includes an update on the investigation into the Beechmere fire, my speech on protecting emergency service workers, an overview of my virtual meeting with some Shavington Academy students and other news from this week.
Dr Kieran Mullan
MP for Crewe & Nantwich
Supporting Emergency Service Workers
Getting People Back into Jobs
Virtual Meeting with Shavington Academy Students
Speech on Emergency Workers
UPDATE: Beechmere Redevelopment
Take Away Alcohol
This week we went into a 4 week lockdown, which means new measures have been put in place.
The new rules are that from 5th November until the 2nd December are that you must stay at home. You may only leave home for specific reasons, including:
For work, say if you cannot work from home;
For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household;
For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
To shop for food and essentials;
And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
Childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open.
Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed – though click and collect services can continue and essential shops will remain open, so there is no need to stock up.
Pubs, bars, restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery services.
Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.
Single adult households can still form exclusive support bubbles with one other household, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.
If you are clinically vulnerable, or over the age of 60, you should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.
Unless your clinicians tell you otherwise, you should continue to use the NHS, get your scans, turn up for your appointments and pick up your treatments. If at all possible, we want you to continue to access these services, now and through the winter. Indeed, it’s only by taking this action that we can protect the NHS for you.
Again, the government is taking unprecedented steps to support jobs and the economy as follows:
- Extend Furlough until March 2021. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – known as the furlough scheme – will be extended until the end of November to cover the new restrictions with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked (you can check your eligibility here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extension-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/extension-of-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme)
- Increase the third self-employed grant, covering November to January, from 55% to 80% of trading profits.
- Support for businesses forced to close. Business premises which are legally forced to close to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month in England.
- Additional support for local authorities. £1.1 billion will also be provided to Local Authorities to enable them to support businesses further.
The full lockdown rules can be found on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
Please do join us on Sunday for an online Remembrance event for in place of the physical ceremony featuring readings and music from local young people and community organisations and a chance to donate to Royal British Legion which is missing out on the physical donations it would normally get at the event. We will be holding a virtual service in place of the Crewe event honouring the names of those on the memorial in Crewe. We will have contributions from local young people and observe the 2 minutes silence.
We will start at 10.45. Details of the event can be found via the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/821002725332961/
You don't need Facebook to watch. Nantwich, Shavington, Willaston and others are hosting local online events as well. Details below:
Furlough Extended Until End of March 2020
The Chancellor has announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of March 2021. We know from last time that the effects of lockdown are felt by businesses even after it has ended. That is why it is important that we support businesses for the long term during this crisis.
In addition to this, grant for the self-employed will be increased to 80% of trading profits, giving them reassurance and support during this turbulent time.
We all know the next few weeks and months will be difficult, so it is very important that we provide as much support for businesses as we can to protect jobs and give people the financial security they need.
Survey Results: Crewe and Nantwich on the COVID-19 Lockdown
On Wednesday MPs voted on the November lockdown and as your MP it is my responsibility to vote for what I think is best as there is no perfect way to vote on behalf of 80,000 constituents as you will not all have the same view. And many of you who are working and raising families or with other responsibilities will also not all have the time to read up on the detail about what the government wants to do and why. I also have my own experience working on the frontline in the NHS earlier in the year to consider.
But on a big issue like this I was very interested in hearing your views to help me make a decision that takes into account what you think even though in the end not everyone will agree with my vote.
Ahead of the Government vote on the lockdown, I set up a survey for my constituents, to get their views on this issue. In total, 863 people responded to this survey.
55.9% of the 863 people who completed the survey agree with the month-long lockdown. That contrasts with the 34.7% that disagreed with the lockdown and the 9.4% who were unsure.
The survey also asked constituents to rate, on a 1 to 10 scale, how strongly they agree or disagree with schools remaining open. Where 1 is strongly disagree and 10 is strongly agree.
The data, charted below, shows that 61.8% Strongly Agree/Agree (6-10) that schools should remain open. 30.5% of people Strongly Disagree/Disagree (1-4) that schools should remain open, with 7.7% of people voting Neutral (5).
Additionally, the survey asked constituents to give me their personal views on this matter, which allowed me to get a greater feel of the attitude of Crewe and Nantwich towards the lockdown.
We need to do all we can to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed.
I would like to thank all those that took the time to complete this survey. Your views were incredibly helpful.
Virtual Meeting with Shavington Academy Students
I came late to politics as I didn’t think it was a viable opportunity for me when I was younger. It is for this reason that I am always very keen to talk with young people about politics and get them thinking about it.
This week I had a virtual meeting with year 11 students from Shavington Academy to talk to them about policy changes they would like to see.
A group of students wanted the Government to increase the age individuals can purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. They raised some very good points to support their arguments based on research they had done and interviews they had carried out with medical professionals. Ultimately, in the UK we consider 18-year-olds adults, and therefore it is unlikely the Government will change the legal age. However, we went on to discuss what more the Government could do on anti-smoking campaigns to deter young people from taking up smoking altogether.
I also spoke with another group of students about housing developments and the need to consider public opinion before building large developments and rather prioritise investing in the town centre. The students did a survey that indicated people were not hugely in support of new developments being built. I discussed my position with the students, that we do need to build houses, but we need to do it in the right way, in the right place and in a way that does not negatively impact the local area. Our discussion then moved onto what considerations should be made when new developments are proposed, such as their impact on local services such as the NHS.
On town centre funding, I agreed that it was very important for town centres to be maintained and I said that schemes like the Government’s Towns Fund, which granted £25 million for the Crewe town centre redevelopment, are great ways to do this.
It was great to have a virtual meeting with local students to discuss their policy ideas and I was incredibly impressed with how passionate and engaged the students were with these issues!
Emergency service workers put themselves at risk every day, day in day out, to keep us safe and this week I gave a speech in the Westminster Hall debate on protections for emergency service workers.
I remember hearing my Dad talk about his work as a policeman growing up. Its only as I got older that I understood what risks he took.
I also remember in 2012 hearing on the news about the killing of two female police officers and worrying one of them might be my sister. Everyone who has friend or family member in the police worries about them.
Sadly, all different kinds of emergency service workers are either assaulted or abused while they are in uniform, carrying out their duties.
The government plans to double the maximum sentence for common assault for attacking emergency service workers. That is a start.
I will continue to support Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper, in her campaign for Harpers Law. Lissie is campaigning for life sentences with a minimum term for the killers of emergency service workers, whether it is intentional or not.
Anyone who assaults or harms an emergency service worker, while they are carrying out their duties, must face justice.
Update: Beechmere Fire Investigation
I know residents will be glad to hear plans for the Beechmere site are moving forward following the devastating fire at the Beechmere residential home last year.
The steps the government has taken to improve building safety mean Beechmere couldn’t be built with a timber frame now. But I think we need to make sure all buildings with vulnerable people in meet the highest possible safety standards. I am continuing to work with the All-Party Fire Safety Group to raise these issues in Parliament.
But I know a lot of residents still want answers about what happened, what caused the fire. I held a meeting with Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service last month to discuss the fire. I am confident that they are taking all the right steps they need to, having completed their investigation.
At first, I was pushing for more information to be given to the former residents and their families. But following my discussion with Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service I now think that the most important thing is that nothing is done to jeopardise any investigations or prosecutions. So, I need to ask for residents to wait a little longer for answers.
In the long run, making sure people are held to account is the most important thing. But I want residents to know I am on the case and will push for answers as soon as we can safely get more information into the public domain.
You can read my article on fire safety reform and the dangers of timber frame buildings here: https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/article/sustainability-in-constru…
The pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses and, very sadly, people have lost their jobs or may lose their jobs in the future.
The Government has taken huge steps to protect people’s jobs during this time, but we also need to look for ways to help unemployed people get back into jobs!
This week in the Chamber I asked the Treasury Minister what the Government is doing to help people get back into jobs in growing industries.
I know that many constituents have expressed serious concerns for what lies ahead for pubs and this week a huge number of people contacted me about allowing take-away alcohol to be sold by pubs.
I was pleased that the Government confirmed that the sale of take-away alcohol is permitted. The Government have stated that sale of takeaway alcohol is limited to delivery or pre-order collection and should be done in accordance with other restrictions and licensing requirements.
This step was taken so that pubs could still operate, albeit at a reduced level, during the lockdown and I hope the local pubs in Crewe and Nantwich are able to benefit from this. This is on top of the other support pubs can access, such as the CJRS extension, VAT reductions and VAT deferrals.
The following are road closures for the coming week as reported by Cheshire East Council.
Delamere Street, Crewe (Between Tower way and Queensway) - Closed until 30th November
Tower Way, Crewe - Closed
A51 London Road - Closed until 11th December
Mount Drive, Nantwich - Closed
Wellington Road Rail Crossing - Closed until 8th November
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