My December update...
2020 has certainly been a year like no other and I would like to send my very best wishes and good will to all at Christmas and the New Year.
As ever - please do contact me and my office if you need any help or assistance: email@example.com
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn
A £600 million investment for NHS Hospitals in England was announced this week with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn awarded just over £1.5 million. The money will be targeted at critical maintenance work, with projects already underway scheduled to be completed by March 2021. I have been supporting the hospital with its wider ambition for a rebuild and have raised this with ministers at Department for Health. This is very good news for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and will enable essential works as well as the continued delivery of routine procedures to take place. In the long term I am working with fellow MPs to secure further investment at the hospital. The QE has significant ambitions for the future including a collaboration with the College of West Anglia for a nursing school and improved working with the wider community. Within West Norfolk and adjacent districts, there are plans for increased housing, and more people are relocating to this area for jobs and lifestyle, so the funding announcement is extremely welcome.
On 31 January, the United Kingdom left the European Union. The transition period ends on 31 December 2020 and we will leave the Single Market and Customs Union. This will herald changes and many opportunities for which we all need to prepare - government, businesses, and individuals alike. There are a number of actions that businesses and individuals must take to be prepared. Many can be done now and are not dependent on a trade deal with the EU - they are guaranteed changes. Check out the link below where you can find helpful links on my website
On the 3rd December 2020 the UK became the first country in the world to clinically approve a vaccine against Covid19. In under a week, the first dose was administered, and now over 500,000 people nationwide have received their first dose. Norfolk hospitals were among the first to receive batches. I was delighted that last week local GP practices started vaccinating people. We must thank the NHS and all the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine and the local teams who are now busily rolling it out into the communities. Local council teams are working with the NHS, CCG and the wider Vaccination Taskforce to ensure the the region is ready to vaccinate. The first vaccines will go to the most vulnerable people in the country, beginning with care home residents and their carers, all those over 80 and front line health and social care workers. GP practices are working through their lists, booking in the first patients for vaccination appointments.
Fantastic news for our South West Norfolk farmers! The Seasonal Workers Pilot, originally launched in 2019, has been extended and expanded for an additional year with 30,000 visas available for those wanting to come and work on UK farms for a period of up to six months. The workers will play a vital role in helping horticulture growers pick and package their produce in 2021, whilst reducing their reliance on migrant labour as we exit the EU.
Culture Recovery Fund
I welcomed the news that the Light Cinema in Thetford is set to receive £7,164 as part of the Culture Recovery Fund. Click on this link to find out more htts://www.gov.uk/government/news/two-hundred-independent-cinemas-supported-th…
Fen Line Rail
I am thrilled that longer trains came into operation on the Fenline this month, with eight cars running between Kings Lynn and London. This is an issue I have been campaigning on for some time and in 2017 met the then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to secure the commitment for the longer trains. An investment of £29 million has taken place in lengthening the platforms at Waterbeach and Littleport stations, as well as new stabling at Kings Lynn. I know the improvements will be welcomed by all travellers on the Kings Lynn to London route and with future ambitions for increased economic growth and housing in West Norfolk, the additional carriages will significantly ease the over-crowding on what is an extremely popular rail route.
Covid Winter Grant Scheme
We want to make sure no child goes hungry this winter, as we continue to improve life opportunities and level up across the whole of the country. As part of our £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, councils across England have now been provided with extra funding to support vulnerable families with food and essentials over the Christmas period. The other half of this funding will be delivered in 2021 as the scheme runs until the end of March.
UKEF launches the General Export Facility
Helping our small, go-getting British businesses export more is a priority. Great news from UK Export Finance that we are giving smaller firms greater financial backing to seize opportunities from our trade deals. Check out what this could mean for your business here:
International Trade Secretary
Our trade deal with Mexico means we have now secured agreements with 58 countries.
- The UK has signed a Geographical Indications agreement with Mexico protecting Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey in Mexico and Tequila and Mezcal in UK.
- We tabled an amendment to extend the Trade and Agriculture Commission and put it on a statutory footing. UK farming and its high standards sit at the heart of our values driven, value generating trade policy. bit.ly/3oduyh4
- We've signed a continuity trade agreement with North Macedonia. With trade between our countries worth £1.8bn, this deal gives certainty to businesses and paves the way for increased trade in the future.
- We have secured a vital deal allowing service professionals to work in Switzerland visa-free for 90 days. This agreement locks in our existing services relationship, worth over £17bn, & is part of our strategy to enhance the UK’s status as a global services hub.
- The UK has signed a continuity trade agreement with Egypt. This continuity deal secures the £3.5bn of trade between our countries.
- The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement has completed UK parliamentary scrutiny. Next steps: The UK and Japan exchange diplomatic notes, the deal enters into force on 1 January. Businesses benefit from our stronger trading relationship.
- The UK and Kenya signed a continuity trade deal.
- We have secured continuity for businesses trading goods with Norway and Iceland, worth over £20bn last year. We're looking forward to a more comprehensive FTA with Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein that will come into force in 2021.
- We've signed the UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement.
- I signed a deal with Singapore covering £17.6bn of trade - the 2nd biggest agreement we’ve signed in #AsiaPacific
- We have just secured a trade agreement with Vietnam.
- We signed a deal with Mexico supporting a trading relationship of more than £5bn.
- We laid our new UK Global Tariff in Parliament: lower for business and consumers, simpler with less bureaucracy, and greener - lower tariffs on 100 green goods.
Minister for Women and Equalities
I’m outlining a new approach to equality that focuses fiercely on fixing geographic inequality and addresses the real issues people face. A new fight for fairness based on core Conservative principles.
Watch my speech- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nPrls8xmBo
Where you can find help and further information
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is also providing support for local businesses, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0300 333 6536 (Mon- Fri 9am-5pm)
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