Last week, the Prime Minister addressed parliament and the nation to confirm a new tiered system of restrictions would be applied across England in response to a continuing rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) cases, plus parts of the NHS coming under severe pressure in areas of high infection rates.

In making decisions on these new tiers the potential impact of Covid-19 had to be weighed against the likely health impacts of any measures to tackle it, for example during the lockdown earlier this year issues such as domestic violence got worse.

There is not a lives versus business decision being made, rather a need to make a judgment call about how to balance the impact on both any changes may have.

There are no easy options or simple solutions available, despite what some may claim on social media.

Across our Bay NHS and social care teams are working hard to continue normal services, while also dealing with the impact of the pandemic and protecting the most vulnerable from it.

We can all be very grateful for their work, the only thing they ask in exchange is we follow the advice we are all being given.

MP PAY

Given the current public health crisis and the resulting economic impact it was bizarre to hear the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is proposing a 4.1 per cent pay rise for MPs.

Despite IPSA linking their proposal to other pay increases in the public sector, it appears they are completely oblivious to the reality of what many are facing across our nation and tin eared to the objections many will raise.

Since 2009, MPs have not voted on their own pay, with IPSA having the final decision-making power under laws passed after the expenses scandal.

This means I will not get a chance to vote against this proposal as our Bay’s MP.

If this pay rise is implemented by IPSA despite my views, I will ensure it is donated to local charities on the same basis as the pledge I made to donate the 10 per cent pay rise IPSA implemented back in 2015, which I repeated in 2017 and 2019.

CULTURE BOOST

The Palace Theatre and Torquay Museum have been at the heart of our Bay’s heritage and cultural life since the Victorian era.

It is therefore great to see them receive Government support to ensure they will still be at the heart of Torbay’s cultural life for another century.

SURGERY TIMES

Following recent changes in public health guidance, I have restarted my regular advice surgeries, although they must be by appointment only.

My next surgeries are tomorrow , Friday October 23, from 2pm to 4pm and Saturday, October 31, from 11am to 1pm. Both will be held at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD.

Social distancing measures will be in place and please bring a face covering with you unless you have a medical condition which means you cannot wear one.

To book an appointment you can email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or telephone 01803 214989.

Daily drop-in sessions from 10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday, are also available at my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD for residents with urgent queries.

Please be prepared to wait outside if more than 1 person attends at the same time.