Happy New Year! An awful lot has changed since my last email of 2020 with tough changes but good news as well.
As you will all know, we entered another national lockdown. This will be very difficult for so many people but in one week alone cases of coronavirus locally jumped 80% in Cheshire East and in other parts of the country the doubling rate was down to four days. They aren't sure why the new strain is spreading so quickly, one theory is in the body it replicates much more profusely in our cells so when you are infected you are shedding a lot more virus. Whatever the reason, it has knocked us off course.
But we finally have a lasting solution and we making a pretty good effort of delivering it. Vaccines! We have now vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined (thank goodness we didn't sign up to the EU wide programme), with a rate of vaccinations per 1,000 people one of the highest in the world.
I have been delighted to read on social media and be contacted by people saying how delighted they have been to get their vaccine or have an elderly relative receive one. Vaccinations are taking place at Nantwich Civic Hall and the old MMU campus so far but we may well see other venues come online. For now please don't visit or contact the GP, you will be invited. I will be working with local GPs to advertise when they have finished the different groups so people can identify if they have been missed out which hopefully will be very rare.
As well as receiving email updates, this week I had a meeting with the local team leading vaccinations in the area as this is my top priority and I will be closely monitoring the situation. This is so important not just for people whose lives are at risk but for all the individuals and businesses who are struggling so much with lockdown.
In other local good news Crewe has been awarded £14 million as part of the governments Future High Streets Fund, real proof of the governments determination to invest in towns like Crewe. The Crewe Town Board is still working hard on its application for up to £25 million as part of a Town Deal. People are finally going to see the change they needed to see in Crewe which brings benefits for the whole constituency.
Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to the volunteers who helped me deliver the Christmas Day Doorstep visits for socially isolated people. These amazing people joined me in taking time out on Christmas Day to help others know they are not alone and I could not be more grateful. Thanks also to Wishing Well for preparing the dinners.
FURTHER GRANTS FOR BUSINESSES
VACCINE ROLLOUT CHESHIRE EAST
MODERNA VACCINE APPROVED
LEAVING THE EU WITH A DEAL
GOVERNMENT ANNOUCES MILLIONS FOR CREWE
CHRISTMAS DAY VISITS
VISIT TO THE LIGHTHOUSE CENTRE
HELPING OUT WITH SANTA FLOAT
On Tuesday 5th January, we entered a national lockdown.
The government aims to vaccinate the most vulnerable by mid-February. This should hopefully be our final stretch of beating this virus. But the new strain is up to 70% more infective and is spreading rapidly.
You must not leave or be outside of your home except where necessary. The main change for us in Tier 4 is the closure of schools for non-key workers and vulnerable children and asking shielding people to stay home wherever possible including not going to work
You can find the list of key worker categories here:
I want to reassure key worker parents it is safe for their children to go to school. They reviewed the 6 deaths of children with COVID and found three were new-born babies with other severe health problems and the other three were aged 15 to 18 years old and also had profound health issues. To put that into context every year around 300 children are killed in car accidents. No child has died from COVID in the UK without severe pre-existing health problems. The schools have ultimately had to be closed because of the social mixing that takes place which ultimately may lead to others at risk catching the virus. With growing rates, our room for maneuver on this has further reduced. This is a constant balancing act for the government and the new strain pushed the scales further against us.
Nursery and early years remain open. Children at this age are at the very very lowest risk of infection and the damage done to their development is the greatest. So the government has chosen to prioritise them for remaining open amongst the things we still allow in terms of social mixing.
Employers can furlough people who have to be at home for childcare reasons.
You may leave the home to:
shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
attend education or childcare - for those eligible
make use of click and collect retail services
Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. This is because having them open is now making too much of a contribution to spreading the virus. Schools remain safe for children to attend. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.
Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.
Full details here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
FURTHER GRANTS FOR BUSINESSES
As a result of the new lockdown announced retail, hospitality and leisure business premises forced to close can claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000. The one-off additional grant each business premises will receive depends on their rateable value:
Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above: £9,000
Businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000: £6,000
Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or below: £4,000
Cheshire East will receive the funding for these one-off grants next week, and I hope they make payments to businesses as soon as possible. I will update on any application steps that might be needed.
Cheshire East will also be given a share of an additional £500 million of discretionary funding to support their local businesses. This builds on (and will be allocated in the same way as) the £1.1 billion discretionary funding (worth £20 per head of population) which local authorities in England have already received to support their local economies and help businesses impacted. As always, I will encourage Cheshire East to be as flexible as possible with sharing this funding and as it will likely be based on first come first served please keep an eye on their website and my Facebook for any applications.
VACCINE ROLLOUT CHESHIRE EAST
Sixteen new GP-led COVID-19 vaccination services are set to start vaccinating people across Cheshire in the first weeks of 2021.
Grosvenor / Rope Green / Hungerford Medical Centres are beginning to start COVID vaccinations for their patients at the old MMU campus this week and patients have also started to be vaccinated at Nantwich Civic Hall. The initial group will be those over 80 years of age, care home residents and staff as well as front line NHS staff. Other local Networks covering other practices are also starting vaccinations and I will provide updates as I get them.
I know many people will want to know when they will get access to vaccinations. They are keen to deliver them to you. However, please do NOT ring the GP surgeries about vaccinations. Once you are eligible, they will contact you either via text message or with a phone call to arrange an appointment. They will also try to update our progress via social media.
Please only attend the site if you have an appointment and only turn up at your appointment time.
A link to the site for directions should you be contacted- https://www.abhsc.co.uk/thecampus/
MODERNA VACCINE APPROVED
Great news that the vaccine produced by Moderna has become the third Covid vaccine to be approved for use in the UK, meeting strict safety and quality standards. The Government has secured a further 10 million doses of this vaccine taking the total order up to 17 million.
This welcome news brings us one step closer to bringing the virus under control.
This week Government has announced the biggest reform in English property law for 40 years, making home ownership fairer and more secure.
These reforms mean that millions of leaseholders can extend their lease without paying any ground rent to the freeholder. It also includes abolishing costs such as marriage value and setting calculation rates so that it is fairer and cheaper.
More measures will also be introduced to protect the elderly.
More information can be found here:
LEAVING THE EU WITH A DEAL
Brexit deal done! So many people said it couldn't be done, but all we needed to do is stand firm and be fair. This is the No.10 Statement on the deal:
"The deal is done.
Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal. We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters. The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved.
The deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth £668bn in 2019. The deal also guarantees that we are no longer in the lunar pull of the EU, we are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved. It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January 2021.
A points-based immigration system will put us in full control of who enters the UK and free movement will end. We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it. We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world"
This agreement we have secured today:
Is based on international law, not EU law. There is no role for the European Court of Justice and no requirements for the UK to continue to follow EU law. We will be a truly independent country, with our sovereign Parliament in full control of the laws that we live by.
It is the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that the EU has ever agreed. This will be fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. Businesses will be able to continue to trade smoothly and people will be able to continue to buy goods from Europe tariff-free.
Secures on our pledge to protect and boost our economy and provides for continued market access across a broad scope of key service sectors, including professional and business services. This market access will support new and continued investment between businesses. It also means that business travellers will be able to easily move between the EU and the UK for short term visits and the agreement on financial services ensures financial stability and consumer protection.
Delivers on our commitment to maintaining high labour, environment and climate standards without giving the EU any say over our rules.
Allows us to introduce our own modern subsidy system so that we can better support businesses to grow and thrive. This new subsides system will operate in a that best suits the interests of UK industries - outside the EU State Aid regime.
Supports our primary objective of prioritising the safety and security of the UK’s citizens. It offers streamlined co-operation on law enforcement, ensuring we continue to effectively tackle serious organised crime and counter terrorism, protecting the public, and bringing criminals to justice. It also provides for future cooperation between the UK and EU on emerging security challenges, such as cyber and health security, including continuing to work together on tackling the spread of Covid-19.
Recognises UK sovereignty over our fishing waters and puts us in a position to rebuild our fishing fleet and increase quotas, overturning the inequity that British fishermen have faced for over four decades. By the end of the five year transition we will have full control of our waters and the amount of fish available to UK fishermen will have risen from half to two-thirds.
Provides for the UK’s participation in certain EU programmes, furthering our commitment to making the UK a science and research superpower. This deal will fulfil our manifesto commitment to participate in the Horizon Europe programme, but also the Euratom Research and Training programme, and the space programme, Copernicus.
Delivers for our citizens, making our daily lives easier. It includes arrangements for airlines and hauliers that provides them with certainty, and gives people the ability to travel to and from the EU easily for work and holidays; a social security agreement that has practical benefits for UK citizens including accessing healthcare when travelling in the EU; and agreements on energy which will benefit consumers by helping to keep prices down.
Finally, the deal delivers for the entire UK, protecting the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it
GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES MILLIONS FOR CREWE
The Conservative Government has announced a multimillion-pound investment for Crewe as it begins to deliver on its pledge to level up across the country. In a major boost for local high streets, up to £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund will be invested in 72 areas across England. The funding will help these areas transform their high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations and to protect and create thousands of jobs.
Crewe is set to receive £14,148,128 from the fund, putting in in the top 20 out of 101 places set to receive funding.
This government has places like Crewe & Nantwich front and centre now. People are going to see the difference; they are going to see what it means and what they voted for led to change.
This funding is just the start. I am ambitious for what we will get from the Town Deal fund as well which will come on top of this. The whole Town Board has been working very hard on the application we will put in. When Crewe thrives the whole area thrives, everyone benefits in terms of jobs and infrastructure and things for people to do. This is good news all round.
CHRISTMAS DAY VISITS
Thanks to Andrew (pictured), Carole, Christine, Danielle, Duncan, Lauren, Lynne, Renee, Steve, Susan and Vicki who all took time out on their Christmas Day to help me with socially distanced doorstep visits (with a Christmas Card and Christmas Dinner) to people who will sadly be alone today without theusual activities and visits they would have.
There are so many amazing people in our communities. Just a little act of kindness goes a long way! Thanks to The Wishing Well for helping with the meals.
VISIT TO THE LIGHTHOUSE CENTRE
Before Christmas I visited The Lighthouse Centre, Crewe, which assists in the provision of food, clothing, signposting and other vital support for the homeless and vulnerable.
David Edwards is a fantastic local community leader and Reverend of TLC. He explained that the Covid-19 crisis has increased the demand for services to these individuals living on the edge of society, including low income families, those suffering severe mental health disorders and sometimes ex-offenders with complex lives and addiction problems.
It was positive to see first-hand the important work that TLC staff and volunteers are doing during this busy time, making the most of relationships they have built up with some people over many years so that there is trust.
Huge thanks to everyone who helps and for people that support the work of TLC.
HELPING OUT WITH THE SANTA FLOAT
This year I had the enormous pleasure of helping out with the Santa Float – Crewe Rotary - for a couple of hours. What can I say! The absolute joy on children's (and even adults!) faces made it one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done as an MP! The generosity of people was also heart-warming. The whole rotary team can be incredibly proud of the festive spirit they create for so many people.
Shout out to the residents of Kidston Drive by Minshull New Road who have created their very own Santa's Grotto with everyone making a huge effort with their Christmas lights as part of a fundraising effort for St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice.
The following are road closures for the week ahead as reported by Cheshire East Council.
Tower Way, Crewe - Closed
Pyms Lane, Crewe - Closed
Welshmen's Lane, Nantwich - Closed 11th January until 13th January
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