My sixteenth weekly message to my constituents and local residents across our Royal Town is focused on businesses and jobs.
Today I visited three local businesses in the Royal Town. It is humbling to see how businesses are picking themselves up and forging ahead. I am really proud of the businesses in my constituency.
It was good to have the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing local businesses in more detail and find out more about the ways in which some of the Government support schemes have been helping keep businesses and jobs afloat in these difficult times.
Thank you to Mark from Bathart designer bathroom & tile studio, Peggy from The Little Home Company and Simon from Simon John Hair for taking the time to have a chat. I would like to visit more local businesses over the coming weeks so please do send me an email if you would like me to visit. My advice sessions have also resumed from my office for constituents.
Incredibly sad news locally for all of us as it appears that the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer will not be returning we are all so grateful to Charlotte Hart, the Editor, to Nick Horner and the others who for so many years have kept us entertained and informed through this wonderful local and award winning newspaper. We will all be considering locally whether anything can be done to replace what will be a big hole in our local community.
Following my meeting with our local Police team last week I have been closely monitoring reports of antisocial behaviour especially in our parks and recreational areas. Locally across the board the lockdown has had an impact on crime levels. We have seen crime fall by 27% overall which includes a 76% reduction in burglaries and robberies have fallen by 45%. Domestic Abuse cases have risen which makes the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill through the House of Commons even more timely. I hope that it will pass through the House of Lords to receive Royal Assent soon.
On Wednesday the Chancellor set out our Plan for Jobs. The plan has three strands; to support people to find jobs, to create new jobs through investment, and finally to protect jobs by revitalising the hard-hit sectors upon which many jobs depend.
The Government has set out plans to reward and incentivise employers who bring furloughed staff back through a new Jobs Retention Bonus Scheme. We have also temporarily cutting VAT for tourism and hospitality sectors, giving a much-needed boost to some of the industries hardest hit by coronavirus.
To boost the property market we are temporarily scrapping stamp duty on all homes under £500,000 and by upgrading the energy efficiency of homes across England through a new £2 billion Green Homes Grant we will not only save people hundreds of pounds on their energy bills but we will encourage green growth in the economy.
Young people have been hit particularly hard in recent months and a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will give young people the best possible chance of getting a job. We are also doubling the number of work coaches to support those who are unemployed.
A package of emergency grants and loans will help to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions. This is the largest ever investment in UK culture and will help safeguard the sector, ensuring arts groups and venues across the country can support their staff as the economy cautiously reopens again. Our arts, culture and creative industries contribute significantly to the UK economy and I welcome this announcement.
Yesterday the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport made an announcement about the further reopening of sports and leisure facilities. Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities will be able to re-open from 25 July and grassroots sport will be able to return this weekend, beginning with cricket (other sports will follow).
From Monday beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can reopen subject to restrictions on particularly high-risk services. I know that there has been some uncertainty over recent weeks but I hope that the guidance on the Government website is helpful for businesses looking for advice: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening and I hope to see a further easing of the restrictions over the coming weeks.
I’ll be posting further updates over the weekend on my Facebook page about my other meetings and visits from earlier today.
As your MP I am here to help. If you feel I can assist with any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org.