Parliament returned this month after a busy August in which we witnessed the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, continuing economic fallout for our local businesses and the multiple policy u-turns that further exposed this Government’s incompetence.
In Stockport, the lockdown restrictions have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and I was encouraged that the Government eased the rules around two households mixing.
Following the Government’s announcement, Andrew Gwynne MP and I wrote to the Health Secretary to urge him to support the TUC’s ‘Time Out To Help Out’ campaign for occupational sick pay in the absence of the Government’s Test and Trace system, which has been an unmitigated disaster.
It’s also been a busy period for education with the A-Levels results scandal, when the Government’s disastrous predictive algorithm resulted in students being significantly downgraded and ultimately missing out on their first choice university and, in many cases, their insurance option. The subsequent u-turn took four days to arrive and was too late for thousands of students, with universities and colleges already having filled their places in the days that followed.
As I made clear in my letter to colleges at the time, I would be more than happy to help in any way I can to ensure that you or your child does not miss out for this academic year because of the actions of this Government. Please write to me directly and I will endeavour to lend a supportive voice to your case.
Now the schools have returned, I challenged the Education Secretary in Parliament about the Government’s decision to end its additional funding for schools during the pandemic, despite the fact many are strapped for cash and have had to spend an average £10,000 to make their premises Covid-compliant.
I was also pleased to be able to make a number of visits in the constituency to see how so many local businesses and organisations have been pulling together in challenging circumstances and using their creativity and innovation to continue to serve our community. To name but a few this included Stockport Plaza, Garrick Theatre, Chelwood Foodbank Plus, Stockport Car Scheme, Stockport Samaritans, and Signpost for Carers.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their efforts during the course of this pandemic. As a community, we have made significant strides forward but, as the R rate begins to creep upwards nationally, please continue to following all guidelines including wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing and regularly using soap and hand sanitiser in the weeks and months ahead to help keep Covid-19 infection rates at bay, stave off a second wave and prevent further lockdowns which would be devastating for everyone in Stockport.