From adversity now comes a great opportunity

ERBID2 logo - vote yes for ERBID2

The ERBID2 result was a landslide for 'yes' - Credit: ERBID

On Friday, I joined leading figures from our tourism industry to hear the result of the ballot held on the renewal of the English Riviera BID.

The result was a landslide for 'yes' with 76 per cent of the votes cast - representing 83 per cent of the total rateable value of the businesses who voted - backing another term for it.

Over the last year our tourism industry has faced the greatest of challenges, with many businesses forced to close for the first time since Hitler greedily eyed our beaches as potential landing grounds.

Yet from this adversity now comes a great opportunity.

With international travel restricted, a new generation of visitors is looking for the first time at holidaying closer to home, rather than boarding a jet to head overseas.

This makes the work of the ERBID vital to not only support businesses to face today’s challenges, but to ensure our Bay can take advantage of the coming opportunities.

The overwhelming 'yes' vote is a clear endorsement of the work to market our bay as a destination and ensure we build back stronger when we fully re-open as a resort next month. 

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Saj Is back  

Many across our Bay have made sacrifices over the last year to do their bit in the fight against Covid-19 so rightly expected the person in charge of health policy to do the same as he asked of them.

Matt Hancock made the right decision to resign.

Having worked with Sajid Javid in the past during his time at the Department for Communities and Local Government, I was very pleased to hear he will be the new Health Secretary.

This is a critical time for the NHS and healthcare more widely, therefore bringing his experience back into Government, alongside his passion for polices which help promote aspiration and social justice, is a welcome move.

Finishing the fight against the pandemic will be his immediate priority, but long-standing issues such as tackling health inequalities and wider social reform will benefit from having him at the helm of the Department of Health and Social Care.

TUFC 

It had the making of a fairy tale end to the season as the goalkeeper headed in a stoppage time equaliser, however the penalty shoot-out which followed saw Hartlepool win and head to the Football League next season.

Yet this sad end should not overshadow a solid season for the Gulls during what has been an unprecedented time for the game.

The players and manager deserve the praise they are getting, as do the team at Plainmoor who worked behind the scenes to keep the club going, including owner Clarke Osborne.

Let’s hope next year brings the deserved promotion back to League status.

Surgery times 

I have restarted face-to-face advice surgeries, but telephone appointments can still be arranged if preferred. Sadly, my surgeries must remain by appointment only at this stage. 

Surgeries are for urgent personal matters such as welfare, immigration, housing, problems accessing support and benefits.

For an appointment, you can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989. You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am  and 1pm weekdays. Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.