This week, I have continued my efforts to help constituents and businesses through this second lockdown. All businesses are facing particularly challenging times right now, few more so than small breweries and pubs. I have received a number of concerns from constituents outlining their fears that many actually risk falling through the cracks in Government support. So, on Monday, I joined colleagues across the House to show my support for this vital industry. To see a video of my contribution, click this link.
I understand that one of the most challenging aspects of the past year has been that businesses are not able to plan ahead. So, looking forward to when we emerge from lockdown, I asked Paymaster General The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP for reassurance. Specifically, to let us know what Government discussions are taking place about an exit strategy for lockdown so that local businesses - such as pubs and close-contact businesses - can plan ahead. To read my full contribution and the reply, do follow this link.
With this topic in mind, I am glad to report that the Government has brought in a series of grants that cover a range of people, families and businesses.
For businesses in Broxtowe, a second wave of business support, which will be administered by local Councils, will provide cash grants for businesses that have been affected when entering Tier 2, Tier 3 and National Lockdown restrictions. I understand that these Business Support Grants will provide essential safety nets to local businesses. Applications for these grants will start being accepted at 9 am yesterday with the deadline for being Friday 18th of December. Applications which fulfil the criteria should receive payment within 14 days. So, if your business is closed or has been severely impacted by the restrictions, please have a look at this link to see if you are eligible for a grant, and to apply.
Further to this, a £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme was brought in by the Government to be run by councils in England. Here, Nottinghamshire County Council will receive £2,316,008. This money will provide urgent support for struggling families and individuals where the money can quickly reach those most in need. As I write, 80% of the fund has been earmarked to support the hardest-hit families with the cost of food and bills and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Simply put - this is much more a targeted and long-term investment in our community that builds on the unprecedented series of measures brought in to support those who need it most.
I also spoke with Minister of State for Transport, Chris Heaton Harris, to follow up on The Active Travel Fund. Great news that Government has released £2,039,000 worth of funding for Nottinghamshire to boost local cycling walking infrastructure. I have spoken to Nottinghamshire County Council this morning who have confirmed they are working on a scheme for Dovecote Lane in Beeston.
I am also glad to report that, on the 24th of November at 12 noon, I will be hosting another Virtual Environment Coffee Morning. This is an opportunity for us to discuss your concerns about the environment and how we can work together to ensure we continue to protect it for future generations. I would be really interested in hearing your views, if you would like to join please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally a word on Armistice Day. This year, I was honoured to have been in the Chamber to Remember those in the Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives in Service to their country. A full video can be found, here. These uncertain times are incredibly testing for us all, and we have had to adapt quickly to ensure that we are able to continue our lives with some normality, whilst keeping as safe as possible - it is services such as the Armed Forces who have been integral in allowing that to happen.
With this in mind, I have put on my running shoes for the next few weeks, in a bid to boost this year’s Poppy Appeal which has sadly been affected by coronavirus restrictions. I will spend the next three weekends running between Broxtowe’s war memorials. After all, Broxtowe has a big connection to the Armed Forces and I feel this is a great opportunity to highlight not only the importance of donating to the Poppy Appeal, but also Broxtowe’s own historical contributions. For more information about my Poppy Run or to contribute, please follow this link.
Until next week - stay safe everyone.