This week I want to begin with this video that I hope puts a smile on your face! If you have Facebook I would encourage you to share!
As we come to the end of volunteers week I wanted to share what the amazing charities and volunteers have been doing during the pandemic. These are just some of the people and organisations! My favourite two junior volunteers at the end, watch out for the very last young lady set on saving the world!
Featuring Hopes and Beams, RedShift Online, St Paul's Centre, Isolation Help Group for Wistaston, Shavington, Willaston, Crewe & Nantwich, Mid Cheshire Hospitals - Leighton/Northwich - For the love of scrubs, my volunteer group and Wybunbury Viral Kindess with Janet Clowes - Wybunbury Ward Councillor and thanks for Goodgym, Haslington Volunteer Group COVID19, The Wishing Well Project, The Salvation Army, Crewe Corps & Nantwich Dabber Dames W.I. There are many other organisations doing great work!
Let's celebrate what we can!
For the last few weeks we have had more volunteers than tasks right now, but volunteering will always be needed so if you want to make it a part of your life register and we will look at different ways to involve people during the rest of the year when other more regular volunteering starts up again.
Other updates below on Chester Zoo, the announcement at Bentley, the dualing of the A500 and British Airways. As always, any ongoing questions about lockdown changes this FAQs is really helpful:
Dr Kieran Mullan
MP for Crewe & Nantwich
Save Chester Zoo
This morning myself, Andy Carter MP, Ed Timpson MP and Esther McVey MP held a meeting with the Zoos Minister Zac Goldsmith and have secured a commitment from Zac that the government will support Chester Zoo. I emphasised the strength of feeling across Cheshire for our leading wildlife charity.
Zac has committed to doing whatever it takes to support Chester Zoo through this pandemic and ensure the future of this fantastic place that so many of us have great memories of visiting.
I wanted to make sure Zac knew both the strength of feeling amongst my constituents and across Cheshire of the pride people have in Chester Zoo and how important it is we make sure the government gets behind them.
I hope the work Chester Zoo has done to allow visiting can be recognised and a plan for reopening agreed as soon as possible. But whatever happens, the zoo will need financial support and Zac was clear this will be provided. But I also want to thank supporters of the zoo for the enormous generosity they have shown in response to their appeal.
Whilst there have been ongoing talks on financial support, I hope this concrete commitment gives people the reassurance they need. Chester Zoo is going to get the support it needs.
This announcement about 1000 voluntary redundancies will cause huge worry for so many employees and their families. At this stage as mentioned it is voluntary redundancies. Everyone will hope it remains as only voluntary redundancies.
I will work as hard as I can to support employees who are affected by this and stand ready to work with Unions who will no doubt be doing their best to support their members. This is the first day of what will need to be many days of working together to help out hard working families that may be affected. We know Bentley had plans to invest in the site, so we need to understand how job losses fit within that plan. We need transparency. Globally the car market was already struggling before the pandemic which means it is tough for Bentley to weather the storm.
On the day of the announcement I spoke to both the car industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP, the jobs and retraining Minister Mimms Davies MP and Bentley to figure out what we can do to support people. I have also been in touch with South Cheshire Chamber and the Local Enterprise Partnership and we can hopefully put together a package of opportunities for people. Families will be worried and whilst we can't provide all the answers, together we should be able to help people tackle this as best they can.
Call with Transport minister
On Thursday I had a phone call with transport Minister Baroness Vere to discuss various transport issues that are affecting Crewe and Nantwich residents. We discussed the proposals to upgrade the section of the A500 between Meremoor Moss roundabout and M6 junction 16 to dual carriageway standard which will improve road safety and reliability as well as economic and social regeneration to Crewe. The decision to go ahead on this has been delayed so I have been pushing for a result. I found out from the call that the decision has gone through the Department for Transport stage and is with the Treasury. So I have now contacted them.
Another issue I raised was delays involving the DVLA. Like many of us they are needing to adapt to the current situation and are working in new and difficult circumstances. I found out that many of the delays are due to a backlog in their post room. However, I have been told that their online systems are working very well, and I would encourage you all to deal with any issues online to ensure you receive a prompt response.
Potholes in the road are another issue which get raised to me and I discussed with the Minister. If you have travelled around the constituency recently you will have noticed that many of the potholes have begun to be filled in. The chancellor announced at this year’s budget £2.5 billion over the next 5 years which will be used to maintain the road network across the country. The money to get these repaired is available so should you have any issues with road maintenance feel free to get in contact with my office who shall raise your issue with Cheshire East Council.
For some weeks now I have received emails from constituents who are employees of British Airways who are concerned about their job security. The aviation industry has been hit harder than most during the Coronavirus crisis with most flights for the past few months being cancelled. Like other struggling business British Airways would have been entitled to government assistance during this difficult period. They have however decided to opt out of government support schemes and instead decided to cut their workforce.
I have been pursuing this matter with the top management of BA. For several years’ BA has been a successful and profitable business which has greatly benefitted from the use of UK airports and has employed a vast number of skilled staff to work for them. It is important to press them on this matter as should feel indebted to both their skilled UK BA employees as well as the UK taxpayer, from whom they have been able to access the Government subsid
My colleague, Huw Merriman MP, has called for a debate in the House about the conduct of BA during the pandemic and I will support his call for a debate. I believe it is important for this matter to be discussed in the commons as many hard-working individual's careers have been put at risk by this decision. I will continue to support BA staff in my constituency who have been adversely affected by the conduct of BA.
Business grants are now live
I would like to remind all businesses that weren’t eligible for the existing grants to gather any information they feel will be useful, this could be evidence of continued costs as well as evidence of a drop of income and apply as soon as possible to Cheshire East’s new discretionary grant scheme. Applications will only be open for one more week but it is vital you put your application in now as it is being run on a first come first served basis should the funds run out.
Applications can be made via https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/business/business_information/coronavirus-local-discretionary-grant-scheme.aspx