This morning, I visited our beautiful Attenborough Nature Reserve to catch up with Erin McDaid, Head of Communications at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, and local Councillor Eric Kerry. Negotiations are ongoing for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to purchase the site from the current landowners, CEMEX. The Works Bridge has been closed for a long time but finally repair work is just about to start. After the Works Bridge is complete, then Fisherman’s Bridge will be closed to carry out repairs there. A major programme is underway for habitat improvements including restoring and creating reed beds, as the richest habitat on the Reserve for wildlife, and will be a significant enhancement to the experience enjoyed by the public.
The Café is open now for a takeaway service and they are managing people across the single-track bridge by radio. However, it is worth noting that the toilets are not yet authorized for use. Erin tells me that the Web Shop has been a lifeline as a source of income, whilst the Café was closed, and has boosted sales in bird food deliveries for example. The Reserve team at Attenborough have been busy cutting back vegetation on the pathways to help give visitors more space and the next step is to put measures in place so they can safely welcome back their wonderful volunteers.
I was able to ask questions in the Chamber on two occasions this week. Also, responses were received to written questions I raised on behalf of the constituents of Broxtowe - if you wish to see more on this click here.
Lots of virtual meetings this week too, including with Colonel Pete Quaite, Commander 170 Eng Group and Chilwell Station. I thanked him for the involvement of military personnel from Chetwynd Barracks with Op RESCRIPT - a military operation to assist efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.
As I am sure you will agree, the past few months have been extremely challenging to both our social and working lives. This Government has done everything in its power to form a world-leading economic response to coronavirus, providing a lifeline for millions of people and businesses. Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, nearly 9 million jobs (at a value of £20 billion) have benefited. In Broxtowe, over 10,000 jobs have been protected through this scheme. Additionally, more than 2 million self-employed people are receiving support through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, with 2,700 people in Broxtowe already claiming £8.1 million in Government support.
I have taken an active role in ensuring that local people and businesses are fully supported during these testing times. Championing local business, and addressing concerns, is essential to this. This is why I attended a virtual event with the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce last month and will be partaking in a virtual event with the Federation of Small Businesses on the 22nd June at 10am. Furthermore, I have been incredibly pleased to see that - in response to actively lobbying the Government for more support for businesses who were not eligible for other schemes - Broxtowe Borough Council has announced that applications for a Discretionary Business Grant are now live! To apply for a grant from a pot of over £880,000 click here. For those who are self-employed in Broxtowe, I wrote to the Treasury for more detail about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the response can be found here.
As we move through the second stage of our roadmap to recovery, this Government is determined to kick-start the engine of our economy while continuing to provide flexible support to those who need it. We will do everything we can to ensure people can pay their bills and put food on the table - as people continue to stay alert, to control the virus and save lives.
If you require any additional support, do not hesitate to contact me as I am here to serve you.