Dear all, please see below for this week's update!
The Spring Budget 2021
This week, the Chancellor announced the Budget. On this, I am glad to see the Chancellor continuing to grow and augment those support structures in place for those most affected by the pandemic. Overall, I am pleased to see that Wednesday's Budget does build on these measures, with the Chancellor offering a three-part plan to support people and businesses through the coming months, begin to fix our public finances with a fair and honest plan, and build our future economy.
On this note, I know many constituents in Broxtowe will be thinking about how the Budget announcement will affect them, their businesses and their livelihoods so I have put together a quick breakdown of what the Budget means for businesses and livelihoods for those in Broxtowe:
- Non-essential retail businesses in Broxtowe will receive grants of up to £6,000. This means businesses that have already been supported by Broxtowe Borough Council will be able to benefit from further financial support.
- Hospitality and leisure businesses, including the 59 pubs and 33 hairdressers in Broxtowe, will be able to benefit from up to £18,000 in grants.
- To protect hospitality and tourism jobs in Broxtowe, the 5% reduced rate of VAT will be extended for six months to 30th September and the 100% business rates holiday will continue through to the end of June for eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in Broxtowe.
- All alcohol duties have been frozen for the second year in a row - meaning when our local pubs reopen, your first pint should not be any more expensive than before!
- Expanding and extending our self-employment support schemes with two further grants, so that more people can get the support they need. After writing to the Chancellor on this issue I am glad to see this in the budget. It is most welcome.
- £20 Universal Credit uplift to be continued for the next 6 months alongside continued support for those who are most vulnerable.
- The new £500,000 nil rate band for #StampDuty will not end on 31st March, it will end on the 30th June. Then, to smooth the transition back to normal, the nil rate band will be £250,000, double its standard level, until the end of September.
- We have kept our manifesto promises and have not increased income tax, national insurance or VAT, which will benefit not just businesses, but all those in Broxtowe.
- The introduction of the Super Deduction scheme encourages businesses investing to create jobs and growth, which will be backed up by reductions in their corporation tax. This means more jobs and growth in Broxtowe.
- In the East Midlands, we are getting a Freeport - a designated area where the UK’s usual tax and tariff rules do not apply. Great to hear this in the Budget today. A huge boost for the East Midlands and our regional economy that will create tens of thousands of skilled jobs!
Success: More Funding for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services!
I am delighted the Budget includes targeted funding for mental health services for children and young people.
This is something I have been campaigning for a while, having met with the Chancellor personally to ask him to ring-fence funds for mental health services for children and young people in the Spring Budget. The current wait time for a child to access mental health support with the NHS is 53 days, which is only being prolonged by Covid. This is not good enough.
But now, with the additional funding promised in the Spring Budget, this will ensure children and young people can access the support they need far more quickly. We need to avoid a mental health crisis among young people head-on - and this commitment in the Budget does just this.
It has been another great week for the vaccine roll-out in Broxtowe and Nottinghamshire. 93.9% of those 65 and over have had at least one dose of the vaccine in Nottinghamshire. In Broxtowe, as of 4th March, 34,561 people have had their first dose!
People aged 60 and over are now able to book their Covid-19 vaccination appointment:
- You can book your appointment online by visiting: https://www.swiftqueue.co.uk/nottinghamc19vpatient.php
- Calling the local booking centre on 0115 883 4640 between 8 am – 8 pm during weekdays and 9 am – 5 pm on weekends.
- Over 60s can also call the National Booking Service on 119 or use the national booking link to book an appointment at the large scale Mansfield Vaccination Centre or their nearest pharmacy-led site.
- Please be assured you do not need to wait for your letter to book your appointment - please book straight away if you are in this age group.
Covid-19 Testing update
As more pupils and students return to the classroom next week, I understand many parents will be concerned about the increased risk of transmission.
To help stop the spread of infections, home testing kits (a rapid lateral flow device test) are now available for anyone who is over the age of 18 who lives in the same home as a primary school, secondary school or college-age student.
- You can collect 2 packs of home test kits, each containing 7 tests, from the local testing centre at Stapleford Library.
- You can order home testing kits to be delivered to your home from the Government website, using this website address: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
- Call 119 to order tests to be sent to your home. Lines are open from 7am to 11pm and calls are free.
Supporting the Environment
With Spring in the air, lots of people have been asking about how this Government will look after our environment and protect one of its most important assets: pollinators. The global thematic assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production published last year by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services clearly outlined the vital role played by pollinators in supporting food production, natural ecosystems and human wellbeing.
So, this week I asked the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) what steps his department is taking to ensure 'The National Pollinator Strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England' is being upheld? For those who have been in touch about this issue, I will update you on the response.
It was brilliant to attend the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parks and Green Spaces, as well as the National Parks APPG. Here, we looked at the role, responsibilities and future of parks and green spaces as critical parts of our community. I look forward to seeing how we can make the most of our green spaces.
Meetings and Surgeries
With the budget this week, I wanted to speak with a representative from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) about the impact Covid-19 has had on local businesses in Broxtowe. We had a really productive meeting, discussing Covid-19 recovery, Stapleford Towns Deal, HS2, the new East Midlands Freeport and the Budget. I look forward to hosting an FSB roundtable in the future.
I was also delighted to meet with people from Stapleford Town Football Club to discuss the incredible work they are doing, and the work they do in the local community. A truly incredible bunch of people doing great work. I look forward to working with them going forward, and visiting them when restrictions allow!
As ever, it was great to speak to so many residents through my virtual surgeries. A lot of good points were raised from many people across the constituency. You can arrange a call with me by sending an email to email@example.com.
On this note, on the 23rd March at 10 am, I will be hosting the third Virtual Coffee Morning to discuss environmental concerns with constituents in Broxtowe. These coffee mornings are an opportunity to discuss your concerns about the environment and how we can work together to ensure we continue to protect it for future generations.
I will be updating constituents with the work I have done since the last meeting as well as opening the floor to constituents to ask questions and make suggestions about what more we can be doing.
Funding for Broxtowe
This week I have done a great deal of research on funding opportunities for Broxtowe, signposting key opportunities to relevant people in the constituency who have been in touch and could benefit from grants available though both Government and private Departments.
I will be focusing next on larger grants and funding for our local area and will keep everyone posted on our progress.
Armed Forces Bill Committee
This week, we held our first evidence session of the Armed Forces Bill 2019-21. Here, we heard from a number of people where we discussed the scope, enforcement and potential areas for improvement of the Bill.
Prior to this meeting, I was delighted to speak with Rick from Forces in the Community in Beeston, he gave me some fantastic background on how this Bill may affect our active Service personnel, the veteran community and Service families; I look forward to keeping in close contact with our local community throughout this process!
For those who have been in touch on this issue, earlier today the Committee agreed to formally write to the Minister for Defence People and Veterans in the Ministry of Defence and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in the Cabinet Office to request the Statutory Guidance associated with the Armed Forces Bill.
- You can access the full letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/4957/documents/49573/default/
University Mental Health Day
Finally, last month I hosted a student-led meeting with the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP, and Vice-Chancellors from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University to discuss the importance of prioritising student mental health. This week we had University Mental Health Day, so I wanted to share some useful links to highlight the services available for students locally - these are available on my website for anyone who is interested.
For now, stay safe