This week has been busy as usual! I have been in London for most the week taking part in a strategy and war gaming exercise on my course with the Royal College of Defence Studies in between duties in the House and meetings on zoom. It was very interesting and I have learnt a lot on how to be tactical and use strategic planning. I hope to be able to integrate this into my work in politics.
This week we have seen the number of vaccines rolled out rise to over 75 million. We have also managed to see a huge break between hospitalisation and infection. The latest data shows that the vaccination programme has already saved over 14,000 lives and has prevented over 44,500 hospitalisations in England alone. This is great progress and a clear sign that we can beat this virus. I now believe all restrictions must end on 19th July and businesses can get back to as normal as possible.
On Wednesday I attended the Travel Day of Action. I met with the President of The African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA®) and others from the constituency to discuss the ongoing challenges facing the travel industry and the risks to businesses and livelihoods. We discussed the risks of reopening and the financial support to travel companies and suppliers. I hope to see the Green List expand or even open our borders completely as this is ultimately the only the way the travel industry will recover. It is important that we open up this industry as soon as possible.
This week has been Armed Forces Week. There have been many soldiers and sailors in my family and I loved being in the Intelligence Corps reserves myself, so I am very pleased that we recognise the work of the Armed Forces every year. The Armed Forces Bill was brought to the committee of the House of Commons on Wednesday. This is an important Bill that protects the rights and treatment of our service men and women. I was also pleased to see many organisations and businesses have affirmed their commitment to supporting personnel and veterans by signing the Armed Forces Covenant during Armed Forces Week. This is great progress and I will be pleased to see this implemented going forward. I am particularly pleased to see so many companies signing up to recruit veterans when they leave the Armed Forces, they are well trained and an asset to any organisation.
Last Friday I visited the local office of Grainger who are responsible for the development at Berewood in Waterlooville. I was really pleased to hear that Natural England have said that they are nitrate neutral meaning that every new development should be able to do the same – we have a big nitrate problem in the Solent and I do not believe the existing offsetting system is good enough, developers need to incorporate the management of nitrates within their development . I spoke on protecting nature when I spoke in the Environment Bill a few weeks ago, and I will continue to push for funding for more schemes like this. The project will build 2650 homes when it is completed by the middle of the decade with 40% of them in shared ownership schemes or affordable housing and managed by Grainger Trust and Guinness Partnership.
I am out today to Lovedean to see about speeding in Lovedean Lane and having lunch in the Bird in the Hand as well as visiting local businesses – it is really nice to get back to normal again.
Have a good weekend.