Message from Andrew Mitchell

29th January 2021

Vaccinations

Our GP led vaccination teams are working incredibly hard across the Royal Town to ensure that vulnerable groups receive their jabs as soon as possible. Our local hubs are now at a stage where they are able to vaccinate cohort 3 and are looking at broaching cohort 4 and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

Last weekend we secured the official approval for the new hub at our Town Hall which I hope will help speed things up further and be particularly convenient for Royal Town residents. I will be thanking all those involved at the Town Hall on Monday morning.

Across Sutton Coldfield our local teams have completed well over 9000 vaccinations across cohorts 1-3 and care homes, with several hundred jabs taking place each day. Due to a large batch of vaccines arriving locally, Ley Hill surgery has opened briefly to boost capacity, allowing for nearly 1300 extra inoculations to take place.

I have received a lot of positive feedback from Suttonians that have received their first jab and I would like to thank all those NHS staff who have been working incredibly hard and doing such a brilliant job.

I also would like to thank Dr Rahul Dubb in particular for all his work ensuring things run smoothly and generally getting things done.

Covid 19

An additional 328 cases of Covid 19 have been registered in Sutton Coldfield for the week 16th -22nd  January compared an updated figure of 410 for the 9th-15th January based on data from Birmingham City Council’s public health division.

The 7-day case rate between 16th – 22nd January in Birmingham is now 584.5 cases/100K population, compared to an updated figure of 727.6/100K for the period between the 9th- 15th January.

Over the 7 days leading up to 22nd  January, of 32,009 PCR pillar 2 tests, 6,706 (21%) were positive, higher than the regional and national averages but lower than last week.

Birmingham ranks 11th in the region for pillar 2 PCR tests, with 2,803 tests per 100k population. Over the 7 days leading up to 22nd  January 22,830 lateral flow tests were also carried out.

Hospital admissions have decreased but still range between 99 and 150 new cases a day at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust over the 7 days from 16th to 22nd January.

The new UK variant accounted for nearly 79% of cases in Birmingham in the seven days up to 20th of January and 75% nationally.

Westminster news and Parliamentary business

On Wednesday my Registers of Births and Deaths Bill reached its committee stage and was considered by a group of MPs in a Public Bill Committee. I am pleased to report that it passed and will now move to report stage and third reading. For those that haven’t been avidly following its progress (!) my Bill will help transform the way in which we register births and deaths. It was very much designed with our Royal Town in mind following the decision to close Sutton Coldfield’s Registry Office in 2014. As well as saving the taxpayer at least £170 million over the next decade, I hope that it will help ensure that people in Sutton Coldfield will not have to travel significant distances to use registry services.

The Public Bill committee involved a more detailed run through of the clauses within the legislation than at previous readings. For those with an interest in Parliamentary procedures, a transcript is available online: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-27/debates/803678d3-8f4f-437c-b95c-cd506044bc54/RegistersOfBirthsAndDeathsBill(FirstSitting) and its available on audio as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzmRTq4LQEk.

This week I also spoke in the House of Commons on a number of issues including the arrest of Alexei Navalny, the importance of securing justice for the five alleged preparators from the Rwandan genocide, and the significance of our aid budget, particularly in terms of ensuring that girls in some of the poorest countries in the world receive an education. I have uploaded videos on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh1dcjrq62DwcP5ztQMoLWg

I have signed a cross party letter to the Chancellor regarding support for the UK wedding industry which has been organised in conjunction with the UK Weddings Taskforce. I remain concerned about the difficulties faced by the events, exhibitions and hospitality sectors at this difficult time.

Royal Sutton Coldfield updates

The Mayor of Sutton Coldfield, Councillor Jane Mosson has allocated almost £40,000 to primary schools in the Royal Town through the Mayor’s Digital Inclusion Project. The funding will enable schools to purchase additional devices and technological equipment for their students who are now remote learning. After liaising with the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust about their Schools Digital Inclusion Project, which provided emergency grant funding to enable the purchase of devices for children who were having to self-isolate, the Town Council recognised that there may still be a shortfall within schools for the provision of devices. Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council wrote to all primary schools to establish what devices and other IT requirements were still needed to support children in remote education. The Mayor of Sutton Coldfield has reallocated the Mayor’s Challenge funding through the Mayor’s Digital Inclusion Project. I am sure everyone in the Royal Town will join me in thanking our Mayor and the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town council for their speedy and very welcome intervention in this important aspect of children’s schooling locally.

I would like to thank Mr Kabir Uddin at Bashundora restaurant and his team of volunteers for their generous donation of 100 hot meals to the Hope Helpline charity at St James Church in Mere Green.

Mr Uddin and his team delivering meals

Mr Uddin and his team delivering meals

Congratulations to Richard Gill (chief executive, Arthur Terry Learning Partnership) and Rachel Davis (headteacher, Little Sutton Primary School) as well as the team at Inform Accounting for their awards from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s geographical division awards. https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/latest-news/news/2021/1/29/award-winners-from-three-chambers-revealed-in-online-extravaganza/

Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have collectively awarded £6 million to the Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival which will run from March – September 2022. The festival will reach 2.5million people through a range of high-profile events and projects. As a direct result of the funding, the Birmingham 2022 culture team will begin to commission projects, launch ‘open calls’ and support artists and heritage-makers to develop their ideas for 2022. This is welcome news at what continues to be a very difficult time for those working locally in our arts and creative industries.

Birmingham City Council will receive £440,000 funding from the Government’s Community Champions scheme to support local areas to work more closely with communities who are at higher risk during the pandemic.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that Birmingham Airport is now able to apply for a Government grant worth up to £8 million, helping to protect jobs and the economy across Birmingham and surrounding areas. The Airport and Ground Operators Support Scheme, which opened today will help Birmingham Airport and other commercial airports across England to cover losses on costs caused by the pandemic, including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rate bills.

The West Midlands Police force has been bolstered by an additional 357 officers since the Government launched the major police recruitment drive over a year ago.

Opportunities and Events

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has arranged a digital event for Midlands based SMEs which will offer practical solutions for businesses wishing to embark on a transition to low carbon in support of the Government’s net zero target. The event is taking place on 10th February from 10.00am to 4.20pm consisting of multiple presentations and interactive options. Government Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan and the Government’s UK Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP will address the event. For details of the full agenda and the registration process, please use the following link: https://event.bablglobal.com/beis-business-journey-to-net-zero/home

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership is funding 120 places to bridge the digital skills gap for small independent retailers and businesses, including hospitality and leisure. The Digital Skills for Business training will be delivered by Clockwork City and will include 1 to 1 training sessions via zoom, mentoring and phone and online support. Businesses will be able to gain better understanding of how to use social media to promote their services and how to increase online discoverability and visibility. https://gbslep.co.uk/delivery-impact/our-response-to-covid19/digital-skills-training-prepare-for-trading-online-in-2021/

The 2022 Commonwealth Games team is recruiting at the moment, full details available on their website: https://birmingham2022.gigroup.com/current-vacancies/

The January/February edition of Families Birmingham Magazine is out now with ideas and activities for children: https://issuu.com/familiesonline/docs/fambhamjanfeb21digital

Every year in January the RSPB invites people to take an hour out of their weekend to count the birds in their garden or in their local park. Last year nearly a million people took part – including 857 people in Sutton Coldfield. This year, Big Garden Birdwatch runs from today until Sunday. It is the world’s largest wildlife survey and has been running for over 40 years, with the results helping to form a picture of how wildlife is faring across the UK. https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

--

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