Dewsbury MP gives big thanks for public abiding by social distancing rules
I am incredibly grateful to the vast majority of people who are abiding by social distancing rules, the death rate is coming down and hospital admissions are falling.
By keeping the rate of infection low, the Prime Minister has been able to announce that non-essential retail shops will be able to open again from June 15.
As a result, face coverings become compulsory on public transport in England from that date, and this will further help to stop the spread of this disease and make shopping safer.
I am delighted that Dewsbury Market will re-open on Wednesday, June 10, with a phased re-opening with initially some outdoor stalls operating in a socially distanced way.
And, I would encourage people to visit the market while continuing to take the necessary safety precautions in line with Government advice. Increasing testing is the Government’s top priority.
It is key to getting essential workers back to work and also ensuring we can get Britain back on its feet.
I was delighted we hit the 200,000 daily testing capacity at the end of May, and the plan is to now test, track and trace.
Twenty-five thousand contact tracers have been recruited, and antibody testing for health and care staff, eligible patients and care residents are set to start.
And a contact tracing app is being developed, with a pilot launching on the Isle of Wight. MP’s including myself, last week, returned to physical proceedings in Parliament.
It is my firm belief that MPs who can be at Westminster should be at Westminster to set the right example to the rest of the country, especially at a time when we are encouraging people to send their children back to school.
Of course, I do recognise that some MPs cannot be present because of medical conditions and I welcome that the house has made some accommodation for them.
Having a virtual parliament was a necessary compromise during the peak of the virus.
While I have enjoyed contributing to parliamentary business remotely, it’s not the same in terms of ensuring proper scrutiny of the Government.
We do have to queue longer to vote, and it’s a mild inconvenience.
Still, it’s no different to queuing at the local supermarket for our groceries sometimes for up to an hour. Therefore, I have no complaints about the extra queuing time to vote on important legislation.
Before returning to Westminster, I paid a visit to the Darul Ilm Mosque in Thornhill Lees, to help the fantastic volunteers with the delivery of their food parcel scheme.
I also had a positive online meeting with the Environment Agency and Coun Martyn Bolt to discuss the recent episodes of severe flooding in Mirfield.
I am pleased that the Agency agreed to look at securing funding for flood defences to help try and avoid a repeat of what we saw earlier this year and back in 2015.
Finally, The discretionary grant-fund for small businesses with fixed property-related costs is now live with eligibility criteria on the Kirklees website.
There is a deadline of June 22 for applications.
I am proud to have played my part in establishing the fund, which was set up after I lobbied the Business Secretary Alok Sharma.