As the nights draw in and the weather gets cooler, many of us will begin to think about the winter and how we plan to celebrate Christmas and the arrival of a new year. I know that many of us will be planning to mark the occasion differently to usual, and the thought of not being able to see certain friends or family members will be a moment of sadness for some.
I appreciate that the new restrictions announced in recent weeks will come as a blow to many, particularly for those working in the entertainment or hospitality sectors, or those hoping to get back on the dance floor or to watch their football team in person again. But as we saw in the spring, early intervention can help slow the spread of Covid 19, thus reducing the number of cases, reducing the burden on the NHS and most importantly, reduces the number of fatalities.
The social distancing measures put in place at workplaces will have created an unfamiliar feel for many and perhaps taken some time to get used to. This has been true for my colleagues and I down in the Houses of Parliament, and as you will probably have seen on the TV only fifty MPs can be present in the Commons Chamber at one time, with some Members contributing to proceedings virtually when they cannot be present. I am pleased that the majority of us are able to be in Westminster, continuing to work hard for our constituents. Despite the attention needed to respond to Covid 19, we are also busy on delivering Brexit and the wider legislative programme that we were re-elected on.
For those of us in politics, late September and early October sees the Party Conference season. These conferences are continuing but, as with so many other events this year, are moving from in person to online. Whilst I will miss not having the chance to meet up with fellow Conservative members in Birmingham next week as originally planned, I am looking forward to the announcements that will be coming as to how, as a country, we get through the next phase of the pandemic and continue our levelling-up agenda.
The next few months will be a nervous time for many in business, and I understand that there will be many concerns over job security. I welcomed the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan last week, in which he announced a new Job Security Scheme and flexibility for business in paying back their loans. Whilst it is regrettable that it may not be possible to save every job or business during these difficult times, I know that my colleagues will continue doing what they can to guide us through.
This article first appeared in the Halesowen & Dudley News on 1st October 2020.