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Welcome to my December email newsletter. I know this year has been incredibly difficult for many families, and will continue to be very challenging, especially given the new variant of Covid, but the rollout of vaccines and community testing, which are gathering pace in Derbyshire, gives some hope for the new year. I’m sure, like me, you particularly welcome today’s announcement of the approval of the Oxford vaccine for rollout in our communities. Under these challenging circumstances, I nevertheless wish you a very safe and happy new year in 2021.
Heanor Future High Streets Fund bid success – £8.5 million:
Following Heanor’s bid towards the Government’s £830 million Future High Streets Fund, I’m delighted that Heanor has been successful and has been awarded over £8.5 million to help transform its town centre and recover from the pandemic. You can find the full details of the Borough Council’s bid here, which focuses on plans to regenerate the Market Place and Grammar School site. The Council now have a few months to confirm the final version of their plans, and I look forward to continuing to support and work with them to ensure we can maximise this funding.
Brexit deal latest:
On Christmas Eve, the Prime Minister reached a deal with the EU regarding our future relationship after the end of the transition period, from the 1st January 2021. Parliament has been recalled today, on the 30th December, to consider the deal and vote on it. You can read the deal here and the legislation enabling it here. The select committee on the Future Relationship with the EU on which I serve has published a report on the deal this morning, which you can read here.
I can confirm I will be supporting the deal when it comes to a vote later.
Many constituents have contacted me throughout the negotiation period, and I think this deal delivers on the key areas whilst also providing certainty and security for businesses and residents already impacted by Covid-19.
This deal delivers on Brexit, the referendum and last year’s election result by taking back control of our laws, borders, money, trade and fisheries.
– there is no role for the European Court of Justice and no requirement for the UK to follow EU law, so regaining parliamentary sovereignty;
– we will trade with the EU on the basis of zero tariffs and zero quotas, which will allow businesses to be able to trade smoothly and continue to access EU markets;
– Allows us to introduce our own modern subsidy system. This new subsidies system will operate in a that best suits the interests of UK industries – outside the EU State Aid regime.
– offers streamlined co-operation on law enforcement, ensuring we continue to effectively tackle serious organised crime and counter terrorism, protecting the public, and bringing criminals to justice. It also provides for future cooperation between the UK and EU on emerging security challenges, such as cyber and health security, including continuing to work together on tackling the spread of Covid-19.
– Recognises UK sovereignty over our fishing waters and puts us in a position to rebuild our fishing fleet and increase quotas, overturning the inequity that British fishermen have faced for over four decades. By the end of the five year transition we will have full control of our waters and the amount of fish available to UK fishermen will have risen from half to two-thirds.
– Provides for the UK’s participation in certain EU programmes, furthering our commitment to making the UK a science and research superpower. This deal will fulfil our manifesto commitment to participate in the Horizon Europe programme, but also the Euratom Research and Training programme, and the space programme, Copernicus.
The deal also includes arrangements for airlines and hauliers that provides them with certainty, and gives people the ability to travel to and from the EU easily for work and holidays; a social security agreement that has practical benefits for UK citizens including accessing healthcare when travelling in the EU; and agreements on energy which will benefit consumers by helping to keep prices down.
As I set out in previous newsletters, compromises were necessary to achieve a deal, especially on fishing and the level playing field. Having been through the deal I am satisfied that these compromises are acceptable in the context of the importance of tariff free access to the EU market. This is a good deal achieved at great speed and gives us the best possible platform to make a success of Brexit.
Coronavirus guidance latest:
Following the last review of the tier restrictions on 16 December, Amber Valley and all of Derbyshire remained in the tier 3 restrictions. The next review takes place today. Amber Valley currently has a high case rate, of 332 cases per 100k, which is one of the highest in Derbyshire, and up 44% on the previous week. This is a very concerning situation and may lead to further restrictions being out in place locally.
On the positive side, mass testing has started in Swadlincote in the south of the County and will spread further in the county, including to Amber Valley early in the new year. This programme, along with similar roll outs in health, care and school settings will help identify cases earlier and slow the spread.
Vaccines are also now starting to be rolled out across the County, and I’m pleased that Ripley is one of the first primary care centres to begin rolling out the vaccine, which you can read more about here. Now that the Oxford vaccine has been approved for us, the roll out of vaccination should increase rapidly at dedicated centres as well as local GPs and pharmacies. Please do wait to be contacted about the vaccine though rather than asking your GP.
We are now at a critical point in this pandemic with cases rising rapidly and the problems of 2 new variants. But the end is in sight now we can rapidly vaccinate the most vulnerable. At this time we all need to show as much caution as possible to reduce the number of cases and minimise the new restrictions needed. We’ve got this far, let’s not ease off now.
I will continue to engage with ministers, the public health team and the local NHS to ensure that this area sees the full roll out of the vaccines and mass testing as soon as possible and that support is in place for those who can’t work and those businesses forced to close as a result of the tier measures.
You can read my contributions in Parliament here including on highlighting the need to roll out the vaccine to people who are unable to leave their homes as soon as logistics allow here and about consideration of more localised geography for tier restrictions here.
As always, you can find the latest Covid-19 guidance, and support available, here.
Coronavirus – support for local businesses & high streets:
In Parliament, I’ve continued to highlight the difficulties faces by our local businesses, such as the events industry and conference centres (you can read my question to the Secretary of State for Business on this here), and supporting local high streets (which you can read more on here).
I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021, and the extension of the business loan schemes until the end of March. You can find more information on the support and grants available for you or your business here.
As always, if there are any street repairs in your area, such as potholes, pavement repairs or broken street lights, you can report these issues and concerns to me quickly and easily here so I can ask for the repairs to be investigated and addressed.
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Promoted by Nigel Mills MP, of Unicorn House, Wellington Street, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3EH.
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