Corona - A year on
Mon 14 Jun 2021
By Mel Stride
It is over a year now since the UK first went into lockdown. A poignant moment to remember the lives that have been lost during the past 12 months – a period that has been like no other in most of our lifetimes and one which will hsave caused considerable distress to many readers of The Cottage. But the anniversary has also been a time to reflect on the way communities in our constituency have come together to look after one another, to recognise the extraordinary dedication shown by our frontline NHS staff and other key workers, and to look forward with optimism as further lockdown measures are lifted.
Well over 30 million vaccinations have been administered in the UK and recently I spoke with the main organisers behind the vaccination drives at St Boniface House between Ashburton and Buckfastleigh and in Crediton to thank the staff and volunteers for their hard work. Here in Central Devon and across the South West we have seen a fantastic level of take up with 99% of those being offered the jab accepting it.
Vaccine take up in other parts of the country has not been as strong. At the time of writing around 1 in 7 people in London have declined the jab. If that ratio continues, there will be up to a million people in our capital city alone who will be more vulnerable to catching Covid and will be more likely to pass it on. It is in part because of these refusals, and in part because no vaccine is 100% effective, that hospitalisations and deaths may not continue to fall as quickly as we would like. But Devon we are doing our bit.
More information on my work over the past year can be found at www.melstridemp.com. This includes action to support school re-openings, partnering with Google to teach local primary school children about staying safe online, promoting mental health support and providing support to local Covid response teams. My main focus though has been on help for local businesses and self-employed workers. Through the Treasury Select Committee, which I chair, I have fought successfully for a number of changes in Government policy, most recently ensuring that 600,000 newly self-employed workers can access financial support.
I have also worked hard to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t mean other important issues are forgotten. For example, during a recent Liaison Committee meeting (the committee which brings together all the select committee chairs), I pressed the Prime Minister directly on funding for social care, for the backlog of NHS operations and treatments and for catch up support for primary school children. I have also chaired a key parliamentary inquiry into Decarbonisation and Green Finance, and through my involvement with Climate Assembly UK I have pressed the Government to ensure that investment in green technology and jobs is at the heart of our economic recovery.
As ever, if I can assist with any issue or concern please do get in touch via my website at www.melstridemp.com
Other columns by Mel Stride
Supporting our Local Communities in difficult times - Mon 1 Mar 2021
The PM’s first year - Thu 1 Oct 2020
Quizzing the PM - Tue 7 Jul 2020
It’s the economy, stupid! - Tue 11 Feb 2020
Vision for the Future - Mon 2 Dec 2019
Into the Cabinet - Thu 1 Aug 2019
Local Apprenticeships Matter - Fri 3 May 2019
Huge shot in the arm for our High Streets - Thu 24 Jan 2019
Reading - Thu 8 Nov 2018
EU - In or Out? - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Opportunity. - Tue 22 Jan 2013
Where do we begin? - Tue 13 Nov 2012
To Infinity and Beyond - Wed 5 Sep 2012
Working in Westminster - Sun 1 Jul 2012
A Better Balance - Thu 5 Jan 2012
Capital Shame - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Olympic Feat... - Sun 11 Sep 2011
The Coalition - A year on - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Labour Dreams - Sun 17 Apr 2011
Now we really must mean Business - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Freedom and Responsibility - Sun 9 Jan 2011
A leader for Labour - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Education and Freedom - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Tradition and Words - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Mel Stride - Early Days in Westminster - Tue 6 Jul 2010
Mel Stride Conservative Parliamentary Candidate on The Big Society - Mon 3 May 2010
A look back over my years as Conservative parliamentary candidate and contributor to The Cottage - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Building the homes of the Future means giving Power to the People - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Early memories... - Wed 4 Nov 2009
As General Franco lay dying... - Tue 20 Oct 2009