Nigel Huddelston writes for the Standard.
AFTER another month of lockdown restrictions, the announcement from the Prime Minister setting out the roadmap on February 22 was widely welcomed. This week we saw the beginning of its implementation with children returning to school and limited visits to loved ones in care homes allowed again.
The budget closely followed, which focused on the economic recovery and keeping support systems in place for people and businesses most affected by coronavirus.
I know many constituents were relieved to see furlough and self-employed support schemes extended – and some new measures announced including ‘restart’ grants and additional incentives for investment.
The Chancellor also announced less welcome news on tax increases ahead on large business profits, but most constituents tell me they accept the budget was balanced and fair.
We continue to make great progress with the vaccine – take up rates are impressive and we’ve seen messages of encouragement from the Queen, Elton John, Michael Caine, Dolly Parton and others.
Locally, well over a third of adults in Mid Worcestershire have now received a vaccine – a tribute to the amazing medical staff, volunteers and organisers at the local GPs surgeries and vaccination centres.
As well as participating ‘virtually’ in parliamentary procedures, I also do spend time travelling to Westminster to be physically present in the Chamber and have responded to questions and debates covering a wide range of topics in the last month including about visas, economic support for the culture and tourism and sports sectors.
In my ministerial brief, I continue to hold meetings every day with ministerial colleagues, overseas ministers, internal teams, constituents and key stakeholders – such as leaders of tourism industry bodies, and CEOs of governing bodies in sport including cycling, rugby, and football.
But like many of you I’ve spent much of this month working from home, putting a strain on the broadband as four of us attempt zoom calls at one time.
There is clearly light at the end of the tunnel after a long journey that has taken its toll on everybody.
I hope to be able to report even more progress and positive results in the weeks ahead.
Mid Worcestershire MP