The towns are opening their doors, it's Euro 2020 and summer is finally here!
It has been great to visit the pubs and restaurants that have now reopened like the Bedingfeld Arms, Oxborough, Brown’s in Mundford, the new pizza eatery at Thetford Garden Centre and the White Hart Pub, Swaffham. I've loved visiting local schools and meeting young students- look at this fabulous picture Gracie has drawn of the PM!
This month we fired the starting gun on CPTPP ascension and I am extremely pleased that the UK Australia Free Trade Agreement has been signed. It is a huge step for our country- the first we have negotiated from scratch, showing what we can do as a sovereign trading nation. It is a fundamentally liberalising deal, strengthening the bond between two great friends and democracies.
Please read the update below for more information about what this means for the UK and what else I have been up to in South West Norfolk.
The Prime Minister has announced that we will pause step four of the Roadmap out of lockdown by four weeks, giving our NHS time to accelerate our vaccine programme and save lives.
- Vaccinations greatly reduces transmission but there are still millions of adults who have not been fully vaccinated.
- The Delta variant which is now spreading faster than the third wave predicted in the February roadmap – seeing cases grow by 64% per week.
- Therefore it is right that we delay taking Step 4 until 19 July to give our NHS a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them.
- Our aim is that by the 19 July all adults will have been offered their first dose of the vaccine with around two thirds fully vaccinated.
- However- we are removing the 30 person limit on weddings and wakes, removing the requirement for care home residents to isolate for 14 days after visits out, and allowing major sporting events – including the final four UEFA Euro 2020 matches at Wembley and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships to go ahead with greater capacities.
I am working hard to ensure healthcare provision is available for all constituents, including access to dental services. I have also been calling on the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, for a new build hospital in Kings Lynn; £20 million has been committed to ensure any current structural issues at the QE Hospital are addressed but there needs to be a long term solution and I am working with my parliamentary colleagues from Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk to ensure the case is made.
Vaccine and Case Update
The region’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to make good progress. The latest national vaccination data shows that up to Sunday, 20 June 2021:
- 84% of adults in Norfolk and Waveney had received their first dose, compared to 79% of adults in England. This puts us fifth out of the 42 health and care systems in England.
- 66% of adults in Norfolk and Waveney had also received their second dose, compared to 58% of adults in England. This puts us fourth out of the 42 health and care systems.
- A total of 1,276,250 doses of vaccine had been given locally since the start of the vaccination programme.
- Over 30 million people have received their 2nd dose in the UK
For further information on the vaccine programme in your area, please refer to https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19...
Norfolk Pizza, Thetford
Brilliant new restaurant opened in Thetford Garden Centre. Fabulous woodfired, hand-stretched pizzas using the finest Norfolk ingredients. Can't wait to come back to try 'The Nelson' !
Light Cinema, Thetford
Great to see the Light Cinema Thetford back open and showing the latest films. I 'popped' in for some popcorn with Breckland Council Leader Sam Chapman- Allan. Cinema is back!
Shop with confidence
Supporting the local 'shop with confidence' campaign in Thetford and seeing how businesses have adapted for the pandemic.
Great to visit the production site to see what Kemp Herbs are up to. Fantastic specialist produce being grown locally.
Education Recovery Plan
I know that the covid pandemic has been incredibly tough on our young people so I very much welcome the government’s commitment that children across England will be offered up to 100 million hours of free tuition to help them catch up on learning lost during the pandemic. As part of the next step in the government’s plans to boost education recovery, a total of £1.4 billion is being invested, including £1 billion to support up to 6 million, 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged school children, as well as an expansion of the 16-19 tuition fund, targeting key subjects such as maths and English. £400 million will help early years practitioners and 500,000 school teachers across the country with training and support, and schools and colleges will be funded to give some year 13 students the option to repeat their final year. It builds on the £1.7 billion already announced to help children catch up on what they missed during the pandemic, which includes summer schools and mental health support, bringing total investment to over £3 billion.
Mundford CoE Primary Academy
Terrific to chat with children at Mundford Primary about their lives during Covid19 and staying positive. Well done to the children, parents and teachers for their excellent work at this difficult time
Nicholas Hammond Academy
I visited Swaffham Nicholas Hamond Academy to discuss the future of sixth form at the school. I am extremely keen to ensure provision is available for students and will continue discussions with the school on this.
The Government are going further on our Plan for Jobs by boosting cash incentives for businesses taking on apprentices, meaning that employers of all size in England can apply to claim £3,000 for each new apprentice hired.
This added new boost to the Government's Plan for Jobs is improving opportunities for young people to stay in and find work – putting skills and jobs at the heart of our recovery as we Build Back Better.
Downham Market Academy
I am pleased to see that Downham Market Academy is going from strength to strength and is now oversubscribed. The Athena Sixth Form at the school has considerable ambitions for the future and is keen to attract even more students from the surrounding areas.
Infrastructure and Local Government
Meetings with councillors and local government briefings
I have held meeting with Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Breckland District Council to discuss levelling up plans and covid recovery.
The Covid Local Support Grant
I am pleased that the Covid Local Support Grant arrangements will be extended for a final time, with a further investment of £2.579m for Norfolk, to cover the period up to 30th September. This temporary support is being extended beyond the planned ending of restrictions, to help families get back on their feet as the economy recovers and the vaccine rollout continues.
I held a meeting with councillors, Environment Agency and Norfolk County Council Highways to address the concerns at Welney in relation to road closures. Highways and the Environment Agency will report back in two months on any possible solutions for this long standing issue.
Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance
A new single point of contact for flooding in Norfolk has been launched, allowing residents to report any sort of flooding quickly and efficiently.
In the event of flooding residents can call 0344 800 8013 to report it.
Alternatively, residents can continue to report flooding online via the Norfolk County Council flooding pages.
Flooding this winter has also been a concern for many and I very much welcome the new Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance led by Lord Dannatt. Delighted to see Kenninghall, Cranworth and Welney Causeway included in first tranche of sites that the alliance will be working on.
I am pleased that 109 more police have been recruited to Norfolk Constabulary
F-35 Lightning II
I had a catch up with the Commanding Officer at RAF Marham. Extremely impressive to see the F35 in its incredible new hangar and hear of the joint working by BAE Systems/RAF to conduct STEM outreach at local schools as well as encourage more job seekers to the wide variety of employment opportunities available at the base.
Secretary of State for International Trade
For the latest updates on my work as Secretary of State for International Trade follow me on Twitter: @trussliz
The UK has secured a trade deal with Australia eliminating tariffs on all UK goods and boosting jobs and businesses across the country, in the first major trade deal negotiated from scratch by the Government since we left the EU.
The main elements of the deal were agreed by the Prime Minister and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a meeting in Downing Street.
Click here to access the agreement in principle document setting out what the UK and Australian negotiating teams have agreed should be included in the free trade agreement once it is finalised.
This deal delivers for Britain and shows what we can achieve as a sovereign trading nation. It is a fundamentally liberalising agreement that removes tariffs on all British goods, opens new opportunities for our services providers and tech firms, and makes it easier for our people to travel and work together.
The agreement paves the way for us to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a £9 trillion free trade area home to some of the biggest consumer markets of the present and future.
The deal with Australia will not undercut UK farmers or compromise our high standards. Hormone-fed beef is banned in the UK and will not be allowed to enter the UK market – this won’t change under any FTA. Compromising on the high food standards we enjoy in the UK is a red line in our trade negotiations, we will never allow it. Also any changes for sensitive goods such as beef and lamb can be staged. This would provide UK farmers sufficient time to adapt, with 15 years agreed for the FTA with Australia. Global demand for beef and lamb is soaring with meat consumption expected to increase by 26 per cent from 2007 to 2050 - the UK produces highly sought after high-quality premium cuts and our new FTAs will create new export opportunities for British farming.
On 17 June I struck an historic deal with the US on the Airbus-Boeing dispute in a major win for industries like Scotch whisky.
After talks with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai at the Department for International Trade’s headquarters in central London, we agreed to suspend retaliatory tariffs for 5 years and cooperate more closely on tackling unfair trade practices by non-market economies.
On 17 June I also welcomed Minister Damien O’Connor to the UK to ramp up trade talks with New Zealand. A trade deal with New Zealand will strengthen ties with an old ally and partner, allow better access to New Zealand for our world-leading services and a deal will pave the way to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
On 22 June we fired the starting gun on negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership- aka CPTPP. Joining this high-standards free trade agreement of 11 Pacific nations will mean lower tariffs for British exports to those markets. There is growing demand for British meat in Asia-Pacific markets while demand in European markets is falling.
- Hitch the UK to the fastest-growing parts of the world
- Create new opportunities for our farmers, manufacturers & services firms
- Support jobs and drive growth
Minister for Women and Equalities
The UK will host its first ever global LGBT conference to tackle inequality around the world and urge countries to take action. Read more about it here
We’ve announced that we’ll ban conversion therapy in the UK. We will legislate to protect people from this coercive and harmful practice, and launch a new victim support service. Being LGBT is not an illness that needs to be treated or cured. Read more here
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)
- My website has live updates with the latest announcements and government advice