My November update...
Earlier this month, I had the honour to lay a wreath on behalf of Board of Trade staff who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and our nation.
In this most disruptive and difficult of years, it is important to take stock and show our gratitude to everyone working so hard for the nation. I am very proud of the efforts across our constituency to reduce the risk of coronavirus and help the NHS. I am in regular contact with ministers, local government, health providers, volunteers, and my team is working hard to help constituents and business navigate the new guidelines and support packages.
The health services have been fantastic and I have given my support wherever I can, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn new build proposals. I fully support the move to upgrade the current setting and have signed a joint letter to DHSC prior to the Spending Review.
I also raised with the Health Secretary domiciliary care testing and I am pleased that as of Monday 23rd November, weekly testing for registered at home carers will begin.
We must all continue to do our bit to help each other. As ever - please do contact me and my office if you need any help or assistance:
The Prime Minister has announced the Covid-19 Winter Plan for managing coronavirus through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021.
This is the path out of lockdown. On Thursday 26 November the government will announce which areas are in which tier. You will be able to use the postcode checker to find out the restrictions in your area or an area you plan to visit. The NHS COVID-19 app will be updated on 2 December.
The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December.
Vaccine update Already more than 12 million people have been vaccinated for flu this year, and I am pleased that free flu jabs will be available to all over 50s in England from the first of December. I would urge those eligible to get one to protect themselves and their families this winter.
As with flu vaccines - the best long term solution to this coronavirus pandemic will be a safe vaccine. That is why I am extremely encouraged by the results so far from the vaccine trials. The international scientific community has worked tirelessly on this, however in the meantime, it is important that we all keep following the rules.
Vanilla Electronics is thriving in Thetford, providing technical supply chain solutions for a global market.Great visit!
Tottenhill I joined Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Councillor Geoffrey Hipperson, Tottenhill Retail Park owner Neil Cotton and representatives from Norfolk County Council Highways to discuss concerns about speeding on the A10, access to the Tottenhill Retail Park and the Watlington/Tottenhill crossroads. Over the past few years, there have been a number of accidents at the location and Neil and Cllr Hipperson are keen to see action taken to address the safety concerns. Future job creation could be held back by a highway’s restriction, as well as the issue of road safety - this is extremely frustrating for all concerned. I will be contacting the Head of Highways at Norfolk County Council to see what measures can be taken to improve the situation.
Swaffham Heritage Fund Fantastic news that Swaffham is set to receive £380,000 to improve, repair and restore the historic buildings and shopfronts surrounding the main market place area. https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/sw…
Over the past few months my office has been helping businesses and constituents with a range of support options. Details of all the packages available can be found here.
Winter Support Package Chancellor announced the extension of the furlough scheme for a further month covering 80% of employees' wages. I am pleased that many South West Norfolk businesses have been able to take advantage of this scheme.
Local Coronavirus Recovery Grant All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will also pay no business rates for this 2020-21 financial year, regardless of their rateable value. This relief applies to over 350,000 properties and is worth almost £10 billion. The Government is also providing local authorities with a further £1.1 billion to support businesses in their area.
Local Councils are distributing this grant worth up to £3000. Further details can be found below:
Winter Support Package I welcomed the announcement that an additional funding of £2.7 million has been granted to Norfolk County Council, as part of the £170 million winter support package for vulnerable families
This additional funding is specifically targeted at families who have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. A further £220 million will also be invested in extending the Holiday and Food Programme until next Christmas, meaning that all children eligible for Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and fun activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays next year.
During this pandemic Norfolk County Council has been working with all the district and borough councils, community groups, to ensure support is delivered to local residents when needed. If you do require additional assistance with buying food and paying bills, please click here or for urgent enquiries ring 01603 223392 (option 5)
Farming and Agriculture
Trade and Agriculture Commission UK farming and its high standards sit at the heart of our values-driven trade policy. I am extending the Trade and Agriculture Commission and putting it on a statutory footing to give farmers a stronger voice in trade.
The launch of the Veterans Rail Card by the Transport Secretary is extremely positive news for veterans and recognises the vital work they have done protecting our nation.
In South West Norfolk we have RAF Marham, home to the F-35 Stealth Fighter. Over the years I have met many of the serving personnel and their families from the base, they contribute so much of their working life to the armed forces so it is only right that once they leave the services they can benefit from additional assistance and the railcard will support opportunities for future jobs, retraining as well as staying connected with friends and family.
Thetford Academy Very pleased to meet Holly who is going to study Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University. Huge congratulations and I'm sure more students will be following in her footsteps.
UK Canada Free Trade Agreement
On Saturday 21st November, I secured an agreement for a continuity trade deal with our “friend and ally” Canada.
The agreement underpins £20 billion worth of trade and locks in certainty for the thousands of jobs. We look forward to striking a new more ambitious deal next year with the aim of creating more opportunities for businesses and improving the lives of people across the country.
The UK is bonded by history, culture and transatlantic trade with our friends and allies in Canada, and we want to continue to build partnerships around the world that support our shared values of freedom and democracy, and today marks another step towards membership of a group of like-minded nations- the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
International Trade Secretary See the latest updates taken to securing the UK's trading future:
- UK-Australia entered 3rd round of talks for our FTA
- Meetings with Joint Economic and Trade Committee- strengthening our future ties with Brazil
- Completed 2nd round of trade talks with NZ
- UK and Kenya secured a trade deal
- Completed 5th round of talks of UK-US trade deal
- Attended WTO ministers meeting
- Re-vamped the Trade Advisory Board
- UK launched the UK Office for Investment
- Updated International Trade Committee on UK-Japan trade deal.
Where you can find help and further information
My website has live updates with the latest announcements and government advice