This week I am inviting everyone to get involved in Parliament Week – an annual festival that engages people from across the UK with their Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved.
I am determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy, and I’m excited to see so many organisations and local groups taking part.
There are lots of exciting activities taking place and I have sent a short video to every school to encourage students to get involved and to get in touch with me if they have any questions about Parliament or my work as their local MP.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday new national restrictions which come into force from 5 November.
No one wants to be implementing the sort of measures this and other governments across the world are doing to tackle the spread of Covid-19, but as the virus is doubling faster than we can conceivably add capacity in our NHS, without decisive action we will run out of hospital capacity in a matter of weeks.
I did not get into politics to implement lockdowns but ignoring the emerging evidence about growing pressure on our health service and refusing to take the decisive actions needed to try and prevent such a scenario would not sit comfortably with me and that is why I support the measures.
Many residents have been in touch with questions about what is and is not permitted under the new national restrictions – I will continue to do my best to answer all of your queries as quickly as possible, but please be patient as I work through the volume I am receiving.
In the meantime, more information can be found via: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
I know how worried people are at the moment about their livelihoods and that is why I am pleased the Chancellor has introduced further support to help businesses and individuals during this period.
To help protect jobs, the government has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended until 2 December; more generous support to the self-employed and paying that support more quickly; cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed; £1.1 billion for councils to further support businesses more broadly over the coming months; an extension to the mortgage payment holiday for home owners; and much more.
These announcements will give more businesses, whether they are open or required to close, the flexibility to adjust and plan over the coming months – and comes on top of the £200 billion package of support the government have committed since the beginning of the crisis.
With the annual Remembrance Day service at the town centre Cenotaph being cancelled, I know it will be of great disappointment to people here in Swindon that we will be unable to attend the parade and services.
It is does not mean though that Remembrance Day is cancelled, but rather we need to find other ways to come together as a local community to mark this occasion and pay our respects in a different way.
That is why I have teamed up with North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson to encourage people to print poppies and decorate their windows – these can be found on either of our websites.