I would like to wish all my constituents a Happy Easter and a restful Bank Holiday weekend.
Covid 19 & Vaccinations
An additional 69 cases of Covid 19 have been registered in Sutton Coldfield for the week of 20-26 March compared to 55 for the week of 13-19 March based on data from Birmingham City Council’s public health division.
The 7-day case rate between 20-26 March in Birmingham is now 72.0 cases/100K population, compared to 70.8/100K for the period between 13-19 March.
Over the 7 days leading up to 27th March, of 19,139 PCR pillar 2 tests, 646 (3.4%) in Birmingham were positive, higher than the regional and national averages.
Birmingham ranks 12th in the region for pillar 2 PCR tests, with 1,676 positive tests per 100k population. 99,068 lateral flow tests were also carried out.
Hospital admissions have decreased again and range between 6 and 15 new cases a day at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust over the 7 days from 20-26 March.
In line with the easing of lockdown restrictions, those on the shielded patient list can now cease shielding and follow the national restrictions.
The attached image shows an overview of vaccinations across different wards in Sutton Coldfield, based on the data that was available on Tuesday.
Dr Rahul Dubb has provided an update about our Town Hall vaccination programme. Well over 35,000 vaccines have now been completed. Virtually all local patients and staff in nursing, residential, and learning disability homes have now received two vaccinations and across the Royal Town approximately 7,000 people have received 2 doses of the vaccine, with the numbers increasing each day. Approximately 96% of all those 75 and over on the Town Hall list have received their first jab and well over 91% of those between 60 and 74. The over 50s are now being vaccinated alongside carers and the clinically vulnerable and the team has vaccinated over 80% of these larger groups which is excellent progress. The Town Hall team has likely completed the most vaccinations in Birmingham and Solihull as a local vaccination site.
When I was there yesterday, the response and the reception for everything that the Town Hall and our brilliant vaccinators are doing was excellent and in addition, thanks to the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, coffee and biscuits are laid on afterwards for those taking a moment after their vaccination to compose themselves. May I particularly recommend the quality of the coffee and the magnificent Tunnock’s tea cakes.
Royal Sutton Coldfield updates
Yesterday I was joined in Sutton Coldfield by our West Midlands Mayor Andy Street. He and Frank Eperjesi who is standing for the Sutton Vesey Ward in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council by election next month had a most useful discussion about employment in Vesey and in particular about the Boldmere High Street.
I recently recorded an interview for the Royal Town Talking Podcast which is part of the What’s On In Sutton Coldfield platform. You can listen to it on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3tNV6jRDwPKSeQM4yyqa6K?si=miISWiazQ8eCLYgdMyMX9A&nd=1. Arianna and Nigel have produced a series of episodes featuring local people including Dr Rahul Dubb and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, as well as many others.
Our local Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Jay Singh-Sohal this week hosted the Policing Minister on a special call with residents concerned about crime. Jay shared with Kit Malthouse MP his plans for keeping our police station open and increasing neighbourhood policing in Sutton Coldfield
The Department for Education has made £475,000 available to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) so it can help provide free training to help people secure new green jobs in the construction industry. The skills bootcamps will offer free, flexible training lasting up to 16 weeks in areas including construction. The courses are open to adults aged 19 and over, and offer opportunities for local people to learn new skills or upskill in different areas.
The Government has increased funding for the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme and Birmingham City Council will be running the largest scale HAF programme this year. Over Easter local children and young people can take part in activities online with their families. The Birmingham Holiday Activities web-portal - www.birminghamholidayactivities.org has a wide range of over 400 free activities including live streams of activity and play sessions, sports coaching sessions, downloadable resources and activity cards, arts and craft activities, food and nutrition advice, cook at home ideas and recipes, along with Key Stage appropriate educational programmes focusing on wellbeing, physical activity and nutrition.
The University of Birmingham has been announced as the lead partner of a new centre for adult social care, which will aim to put evidence into practice to promote and maintain people’s independence and wellbeing. It will support innovation in adult social care and build capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce.
Birmingham City Council has launched a survey to determine the effects of Covid 19. The Impact Survey asks citizens about their views on Covid, as well as how they think lockdown measures may have affected health and wellbeing. https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/place/covid-19-impact-questionnaire-2021/
Westminster news and Parliamentary business
On Wednesday I appeared on Cross Question with Iain Dale on LBC. The whole show can be found here: https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/iain-dale/cross-question-with-iain-dale-watch-live-8pm/ and I have uploaded some clips on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3JXiPHewNE
Yesterday the Government increased the National Living Wage to £8.91 an hour – an above inflation pay rise equivalent to £345 extra per year for someone working full-time. We are lowering the age eligibility to 23, meaning more than 2 million people will receive a pay rise. We have also launched hundreds of new free qualifications as part of our Lifetime Skills Guarantee, giving an estimated 11 million adults the chance to gain the skills they need to secure rewarding careers.
The Government has announced a new Mental Health Recovery Action Plan backed by £500 million which will help expand mental health services to ensure everyone is able to access the support they need.
Ministers have committed to improving the Troubled Families Programme, which has helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families since it was introduced in 2012. An additional £165m of funding has been provided for 2021-22 and the programme will be renamed “Supporting Families” to reflect the ways in which the programme helps families with multiple and complex needs. Delivered by local authorities and their partners, Supporting Families provides a joined up approach, to ensure that families with difficult circumstances can access early, coordinated support.
On Monday Matt Hancock set out details of a new Office for Health Promotion. The office will set the direction on prevention strategies and drive action across national government, local government, the NHS and the wider health system. The Office for Health Promotion will incorporate Public Health England (PHE) functions that directly support the delivery of national health improvement policy, alongside existing Department of Health and Social Care capabilities on prevention and health improvement. Over the summer the rest of PHE’s functions will move to other organisations within the health system where they can make the biggest impact.
I am a supporter of my colleague Philip Dunne’s Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill. While Parliamentary timetabling and disruption due to Covid 19 has meant that the Bill has not progressed, there has been some good news this week as measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows will be put into law. During wet weather, storm overflows help prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of sewage and rain and the overflows release diluted wastewater into rivers. Reducing the reliance of water companies on storm overflows will help cut pollution in our waterways. The government will consult on potential options and has committed to adopting a number of measures that were part of the Bill.
This is in an important matter for us in the Royal Town as Minworth has the largest sewage treatment plant in the West Midlands. Having stood and watched the enormous flow which makes its way through that facility I am very much aware of the importance of Philip Dunne’s Bill.
Opportunities and Events
Businesses in the Health and Medical Technology sector are invited to join the newly formed Science Industry Partnership for the West Midlands (SIP West Midlands). The employer-led group will bring companies from across science and industry together to share best practice and find solutions to skills needs, apprenticeships and retaining graduates. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sip-west-midlands-a-new-local-skills-group-for-the-science-industries-tickets-142904742933
National Express has launched a driver reward and recognition scheme. It is open for anybody to nominate, so if you hear of or have any personal experience of excellent service from a National express bus driver you can nominate them here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSepBLndJEgHJfzWOVrld9Q05waGHCnABEYcC87QjOJFdxuQYw/viewform
Something light hearted for the bank holiday weekend; this Easter Sunday the Donkey Sanctuary’s award-winning Sanctuary From Your Sofa event returns, with videos and live footage throughout the day. The Royal Town’s donkeys will feature at 2pm: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/events/04-04-2021/sanctuary-from-your-sofa-easter-2021. Battersea also has two cat cameras streaming live from within their rescue centre: https://www.battersea.org.uk/rescue-is-our-favourite-breed?dm_i=5P0D,6RSH,10OJ25,S62X,1#cat-cams-section
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