Message from Andrew Mitchell

16th October 2020

Covid 19

An additional 97 cases of Covid 19 have been registered in Sutton Coldfield for the week of 4th-10th October compared to 82 for 27th September - 3rd October, based on data from Birmingham City Council’s public health division.

The 7-day case rate from 3rd October - 9th October across the whole of Birmingham is now 144.4 cases per 100K population, compared to 126.6/100K for the period between 26th September - 2nd October. Birmingham had a total of 1,649 cases in the last 7 days up to the 9th October, a 5% decrease compared to the previous 7 days. Over the 7 days leading up to 9th October of all community pillar 2 tests 9.2 % are positive, a slight increase on the previous week and higher than the regional average of 6.0%.

Testing in the community stands at 2,170 tests/100K population, which ranks 1st in the region. Drop and Collect testing continues to focus on areas where there are spikes in cases and lower testing uptake, including a focus in areas with student housing and halls of residence. Local Enhanced Contact Tracing is now live and our Public Health team are undertaking contact tracing calls whilst scaling up the Contact Centre provision.

Greater Birmingham (including Sutton Coldfield) has been placed in the High Alert category of the Government's new COVID-19 restrictions (level 2). This means that households will not be able to meet indoors (except as part of a support bubble/ extended household) including indoor hospitality, leisure and retail. Full details of the new rules are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high

Westminster news and Parliamentary business

On Monday I expressed my concerns about the new local restrictions directly with the Prime Minister: https://www.andrew-mitchell-mp.co.uk/content/covid-19-prime-minister%E2%80%99s-statement and on Tuesday I raised further points with the Health Secretary: https://www.andrew-mitchell-mp.co.uk/content/covid-19-local-restrictions

On Tuesday I appeared on Newsnight to discuss the new restrictions and the Government’s approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuss_oqkWAM. This week I also had a number of meetings, calls and events including with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Coalition for Global Prosperity, Dignity in Dying and the University of Cambridge’s Sinews of Development programme. I also outlined my thoughts in the Telegraph about the reasons why UK Aid should be invested in creating a healthier, safer world: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/covid-19-shows-us-uk-aid-should-invested-creating-healthier/

Today I have been in the House of Commons which is unusual for a Friday when almost always I am back safe and sound in the Royal Town. Several Fridays a year are allocated to Private Members' bills which are public bills introduced by MPs who are not government ministers. I was third on the Order Paper today for the Second Reading of my Registers of Births and Deaths Bill which will help transform the way in which we register births and deaths. My Bill was very much designed with our Royal Town in mind. The decision to close Sutton Coldfield’s Registry Office in 2014 has affected a huge number of local people and many have been inconvenienced, often at difficult and stressful times in their lives, by having to travel significant distances to use Registry services. My Bill will reform the way in which registration can take place and pave the way for fully electronic system, ensuring that people in Sutton Coldfield and elsewhere no longer need to travel long distances and saving the taxpayer at least £170 million over the next decade into the bargain. I am pleased to say that my Bill passed its Second Reading and I have uploaded a video of proceedings on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_AIs8wiL8E

Royal Sutton Coldfield updates

This afternoon I had a catch up with Jacqui Smith and David Rosser and parliamentary colleagues on the challenges facing the NHS across the region. It is clear that the NHS continues to perform very well. I am incredibly grateful for the work Good Hope, Primary Care and community services and all our doctors, clinicians, care workers and medical and ancillary staff are doing all across Sutton Coldfield.

I am delighted to report that the Royal Sutton Coldfield Community Town Hall Trust has been awarded £100,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Our town hall is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support.

The Trust took over the town hall as an arts charity in 2016 when it was in danger of closure and the team has worked incredibly hard to broaden the cultural programme. The funding will allow the building to stay partially open to host dance school lessons, blood service and food bank collections, whilst preparing for streamed ‘hybrid’ meetings and weddings and reduced capacity cabaret shows. As President of the Trustees I know that this funding will make a significant difference.

The Government has released some positive statistics relating to the Coronavirus support packages that have been introduced. Businesses across Sutton Coldfield have benefited I’m pleased to say to the tune of £71,646,463 worth of loans since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes 1,830 Bounce Back Loans – 100 per cent government-backed loans which are interest-free for the first 12 months – worth £54,716,893. The scheme ensures that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance quickly with no repayments due during the first 12 months. In addition, 82 loans have been offered in Sutton Coldfield at a value of £16,929,570 through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme. Across West Midlands a total of 102,322  Bounce Back Loans, worth £3,116,906,273 and 4,722 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, worth £1,118,876,197, have been provided to businesses to support businesses across all sectors, protecting jobs and livelihoods.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team has begun a search for Hometown Heroes (local stars of West Midlands community sport) and these people will become the faces of its next campaign for the Commonwealth Games.  Those selected will appear on billboard adverts across the region. The team is asking people to nominate those who deserve to be recognised for making a difference to their communities by dedicating their lives to grassroots sport. Nominees could be an inspiring coach, dedicated volunteer, courageous player, diehard supporter, or anyone who’s had a real impact on their sport club, team or facility. Hometown Heroes can be anyone who lives and works in the West Midlands and can be connected to any sport, not just those included in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games programme.  Nominations are open now at www.birmingham2022.com/hometownheroes

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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 andrew.mitchell.mp@parliament.uk

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Andrew Mitchell MP speaking in the House of Commons, March 2019