I have been spending time speaking with constituents, local business and healthcare workers and, even after all that has happened in the last year, I am absolutely blown away by the indomitable Norfolk spirit - still as strong as ever. We have reached 20 million vaccinations nationally, seen new investment to our region in the Freeport East and last week the PM announced a new roadmap to unlocking the country. As we move forward with our gradual return to normal, spring is in the air and better times around the corner.
As ever - please contact me and my office if you need any help or assistance: email@example.com
On Wednesday 3rd March the Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined the Budget - to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people:
Supporting people and business through crisis
• Extending furlough until the end of September
• Two further grants for the self-employed – and bringing in 19/20 starters
• Restart grants of up to £18,000 to get our retail, hospitality, leisure and personal care businesses going again
• Business rates holiday extended for 3 months, before tapering for another 9
• Extending the VAT cut to 5 per cent for a further six months, before tapering for another six
• Continuing our stamp duty cut for another three months, before tapering for another three
• Extending Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits by six months
• More money for apprenticeships and traineeships
• New Recovery Loans to replace our existing loan schemes
• £700 million for arts, culture and sports
• A brand new 95 per cent mortgage guarantee for prospective homebuyers
Beginning to fix the public finances
• Asking the largest, most profitable firms to pay more in two years’ time by increasing corporation tax to 25 per cent – while still being the lowest in the G7, and the fifth lowest in the G20
• But ALSO an unprecedented Super Deduction on capital investment for companies – a £25 billion tax cut
• Maintaining personal tax allowances at their current levels from April 2023 until 2026
• Keeping inheritance, capital gains and pensions lifetime allowances & the VAT threshold at current levels
• Keeping our manifesto pledge with NO increases to income tax, NICs or VAT
• Freezing alcohol duty and fuel duty
Read more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2021-documents
The Prime Minister has set out our roadmap for a cautious easing of national restrictions, which will ensure we do not undo the incredible progress we have made so far.
This announcement was very welcome news and has been achieved due to the brilliant work done by all our NHS staff and volunteers to deliver the vaccine at speed, the tremendous work done by teachers in maintaining our children’s education, the British public following the covid19 guidance and all our key workers keeping the show on the road this past year.
The decision in early 2020 to invest significantly in covid19 vaccine development means that the UK can now look towards a brighter future and much praise must go to the world leading team of scientists, business leaders and medical experts who have been working at pace on this programme. The Prime Minister has provided clear guidance for our roadmap out of lockdown, offering with it considerable optimism for the coming months.
Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step.
This assessment will be based on four tests:
1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
Check out the infographics to find out what each step means and read the full guidelines here: https://www.gov.uk/.../publ.../covid-19-response-spring-2021
Vaccine and Case Update
The region’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to make good progress. Nearly half of adults in Norfolk and Waveney have now received their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19, newly released figures show. According to data published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, 398,026 doses of vaccine had been given in Norfolk and Waveney. Some 384,186 people had received their first dose and 13,840 their second dose.
The figures show that 45% of adults in Norfolk and Waveney had received their first dose, compared to 38% of adults in England. This puts us fifth out of the 42 health and care systems in England.
Early signs suggest the success of the vaccination programme is contributing to the welcome fall in people in hospital with coronavirus.
For further information on the vaccine programme in your area, please refer to https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19...
Please contact Norfolk County Council between now and 31 March 2021 to register as a carer if you are:
- the sole or primary carer of an older or disabled person who is clinically vulnerable to COVID-19
- parents or primary carers of children and young people who are disabled and clinically vulnerable to COVID-19
- young carers (aged 16 or over) of people who are elderly or clinically vulnerable
- people caring for someone with severe mental illness
Register online here: http://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/carervax.
A 24/7 voicemail service is available for people to leave their contact details: 01603 257256.
More information on NCC website
Meeting the Covid Team
Great to meet the team & volunteers in Norfolk and Waveney who are providing the fantastic NHS vaccine rollout.
Help for business
The Chancellor has announced £5 billion in Restart Grants for high street shops and hospitality firms – ensuring the hardest-hit businesses have the support they need through the next stage of recovery.
- Under the scheme, non-essential retail businesses will get up to £6,000 per premises to help them reopen and start trading safely.
- Hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England – which will open later under the roadmap or will be more impacted by restrictions when they do open – will get up to £18,000 per premises
Light Cinema, Thetford
After raising this case directly with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, I am really pleased that Light Cinema, Thetford will be receiving an award of £292,836 from the Culture Recovery Fund.
This is comprised of a one off health and safety grant to help them make their venue Covid-secure for their staff and for audiences, and a business sustainability grant to ensure they are able to survive through to the spring and beyond when they can hopefully reopen their doors to audiences again. Light Cinema is a great asset to the community in Thetford and I hope to be able to visit again in the near future.
The Chancellor's Budget announcement that Felixstowe and Harwich have secured freeport status is fantastic news. I supported colleagues in lobbying for this and it will be a massive opportunity for our region to become a hub for global trade and investment, levelling up and creating new jobs. https://www.freeporteast.com/
Make It Your Business, Norfolk
Fantastic to speak to local female entrepreneurs and business owners. This great scheme brings people together to share know how, opportunities and network. Thanks for having me! It was also great to speak to Breckland Business owners about international trade opportunities.
At the NFU21 conference, I spoke on protecting farming standards and opening up opportunities for UK farmers to become world leaders in exporting top quality food and drink to growing markets across the world.
I’ll be working closely with the industry to help farmers seize new opportunities and slash barriers to trade. More trade will help drive an exports-led, jobs-led recovery from Covid across the UK.
Export Toolkit Launch
Agrifood businesses support more than 500,000 employees across the UK. We’re unlocking new opportunities overseas for farmers with our trade deals.
I launched a major new food and drink export campaign in partnership with NFU, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the Food and Drink Federation- to help the industry and our brilliant producers sell more into the biggest markets of the present and future. More exports will help level-up rural communities and create high-value jobs: https://exports.campaign.gov.uk/
I am delighted that Banham Zoo and Africa Alive are to receive a Zoo Animal Fund grant. Working with my colleague Peter Aldous MP and local councillors, financial support for the zoo was a critical issue that we raised with ministers and the £750,000 will help maintain all the excellent work currently being done by staff and protect animal welfare.
Banham and Africa Alive are much loved and important attractions in East Anglia and I am keen to ensure they thrive for the long term enjoyment for everyone.
Support for Local Government
I am pleased that additional support has been given to councils in Norfolk. Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk were awarded in the Budget the following-
- Levelling up Fund Capacity Funding = £150,000
- UK Community Renewal Fund = £20,000
Eccles Heath Bridge Replacement
Welcome news that the Eccles Heath bridge has now been replaced. This is an issue I have been pressing Network Rail on and is an issue raised by County Councillor Steve Askew and local residents.
Secretary of State for International Trade
This year the UK takes on the Presidency of the G7 I look forward to working with my fellow Trade Ministers to promote free and fair trade as part of our agenda to #buildbackbetter
- Global Britain Debate: Read my House of Commons speech on our independent trade policy to drive jobs and growth across UK.
- Read my piece in Telegraph on how UK is standing up against the state-sponsored undermining of free enterprise and the human rights violations being perpetrated in China's region of Xinjiang.
- Great to speak at Japan Trade Summit. I outlined how business can benefit from UK/Japan deal, our ambition to join Japan in CPTPP and develop our relationship using our G7 presidency to work with fellow democracies like Japan to promote free & fair trade.
- Read my piece in the Daily Express on why joining the Asia Pacific trade area CPTPP is a huge opportunity for UK business and Global Britain.
- Read my article in Telegraph about the UK’s application to the dynamic £9 trillion pacific trade area CPTPP and how we will use our G7 Presidency to fight for free and fair trade.
- I have formally notified CPTPP nations of our intent to join
- We signed a trade deal with Ghana covering £1.2bn of trade.
- We signed a trade deal with Albania
- I visited India to discuss how we will- deliver more trade and investment, create jobs in both countries, and collaborate on industries of the future. More trade will help our two great democratic nations #BuildBackBetter from Covid. We are committed to developing an enhanced trade partnership between our two democracies and building back better from COVID-19. Read my Joint Statement with Piyush Goyal on progress of the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) with India. We agreed to accelerate roadmap leading to a potential comprehensive FTA. We agreed to launch our ETP during the PM’s visit to India this year.
- I agreed with the US to remove retaliatory tariffs on a range of UK goods:
- The removal of Scotch whisky tariffs of 25%
- Removal of tariffs on cashmere, machinery and other products
- A joint de-escalation of the Boeing-Airbus dispute
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.
In February I set out why we want to see more women and girls studying STEM, ahead of the UN's Women in Science Day. Use the links below to find out more about what I'm doing as Minister for Women and Equalities.