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My September update...

September is always a busy time of year- a new school, new challenges or perhaps a new trade deal!
I've been visiting farmers, constituents and businesses across South West Norfolk - offering assistance and listening to their experiences and concerns. 
Congratulations to all those who received their exam results this summer- I have been supporting students with their university applications, schools and getting children back in the classroom.
Brexit and free trade negotiations continue: trade is absolutely vital to securing economic recovery and jobs for the UK. We must seize the opportunities to sell more of our great local produce on the global stage.  
As ever - please do not hesitate to contact me and my office if you need any help or assistance:

Coronavirus update

New guidance was released this week. Figures show there has been a rise in the number of coronavirus cases, so the government has announced upcoming changes to simplify restrictions and ensure the virus is controlled.


Over the past few months my office has been helping businesses with a range of support options. Details of all the packages available can be found here.

Downham Market The market is a vibrant hub in Downham Market offering a wide selection of goods and produce. Community is especially important during these challenging times and I continue to support communication between all those involved in ensuring we have thriving businesses in the town.

Kickstart Scheme The Kickstart Scheme launched this month, helping to create jobs for young people: offering those on Universal Credit aged between 16-24, six-month work placements with wages and training costs paid for by the government. Referrals into the roles will go through JobCentre Plus work coaches. 
If you are a SWN business that could provide a Kickstart job or an interested young person- check this link for more info.

Eat Out To Help Out The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme ended last month and 60 SWN restaurants, cafes, pubs and diners served up 31,000 EOTHO meals! 
Thank you to everyone who took part and everyone who ate out over the last month- supporting local businesses and protecting people’s jobs.

Farming and Agriculture

Traditional Norfolk Poultry Very proud of Traditional Norfolk Poultry's high welfare, high quality produce. I visited them last week for a tour of the chicken farm- we talked about new export opportunities for UK poultry farmers.

Laurel Farm Last week I met Ed and Roger Lankfer at their farm in Wereham, They showed me their wheat store and livestock. I also caught up with the NFU Southery and Downham Market branch and Cranswick reps and discussed how our pork, beef & arable producers can benefit from new trade deals and sell more abroad.


Ely Great news that the £13.1 million to develop the business case for the Ely Area programme has been confirmed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and despite the considerable challenges of the last few months, work has been progressing to develop this scheme. I am also extremely pleased that construction is nearing completion to allow for the eight car trains to operate on the Fen Line. The £27 million invested by the DfT on this route will greatly increase capacity, significantly improve the travelling experience for regular commuters and will be a tremendous boost to the aspirations and business development opportunities in West Norfolk.


UK Japan Free Trade Agreement 

On Friday 11th September 2020, as Secretary of State for International Trade, I signed an historic trade agreement with Japan which aims to boost trade between the UK and Japan by around £15 bn.

This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan. This is our first major post-Brexit trade deal and it goes far beyond the existing EU deal by securing new wins for British businesses.
This deal will create new opportunities for people in the East of England and help level up the whole of the UK.
Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies.


International Trade Secretary Over the last few months I have taken major steps to securing the UK's trading future - here are a few highlights:

  • We have announced a New Board of Trade bringing together a diverse group of people who share Britain’s belief in free enterprise, democracy, high standards and rules-based trade.
  • I met the Chief Negotiators of 11 Trans-Pacific free trade area (CPTCC) members to discuss potential application
  • The 4th round of UK/US trade talks begun- we want to increase opportunities for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Commenced trade talks with Canada- we want to provide continuity for business by the end of transition period.
  • I visited Muntons Malt in Suffolk to talk about how trade deals we are negotiating can open up new export opportunities for our brilliant malt producers.
  • We announced a new series of Trade Advisory Groups to support our trade negotiations. ​These groups will bring together experts from farming, automotive, manufacturing​ and others across the UK​.
  • I welcomed US decision not to impose tariffs on gin and blended whisky, and to remove tariffs on shortbread. But there are still tariffs on UK goods like single malt Scotch. These tariffs are in no-one’s interests. I am in further talks with United States trade representatives to remove them asap.
  • The US is removing tariffs on Scottish shortbread, after my visit to Washington last month, securing 250 jobs at Walkers & more from other firms across Scotland.

Read more about it here

Read my article in the Telegraph

Where you can find help and further information

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is also providing support for local businesses, email or telephone 0300 333 6536 (Mon- Fri 9am-5pm)

My website has live updates with the latest announcements and government advice