Javid appointment could be beneficial to the South West

Former chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid, outside his home in south west London, after he was

Former chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid after he was appointed as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following the resignation of Matt Hancock. - Credit: PA

Although the pandemic is far from over with cases up 59 per cent in the last week, Sajid Javid will concentrate on when restrictions can be removed and confirmed this was his 'most immediate priority'.

The effectiveness of the vaccine and the continued roll-out of vaccinations to adults in England has already meant that half of those under 30 have received a Covid-19 vaccine was confirmed by NHS England last weekend.

More than 4.2 million people aged 18 to 29 were jabbed in three weeks and with hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites opening, there is optimism about coverage by July 19.

There is still concern about the increase in hospital admissions putting further pressure on the NHS as they struggle to deal with other outstanding backlogs.

The good news for Devon and Cornwall is that Javid attended Exeter University and as well as understanding the economic challenges of the area, also enjoyed relaxing in our wonderful environment.

In his previous role, as Chancellor, I heard him talk to business leaders from the region in Exeter and I am sure he will work well with the current Chancellor to ensure support for the region.

It is also likely he will renew demand for a faster roll-out of electric powered vehicles to clean up our cities and improve the health of all the inhabitants.

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More investment will come from both Government and the industry to change the face of our personal and business transport over the next few years.

The current semi-conductor shortage is having a huge impact as manufacturers step up the number of new models with some electric power whether they are pure electric, plug-in or mild hybrid.

The choice for customers is increasing and there is more confidence as range and infrastructure grows to address concerns.

The country is trying hard to get back to some normality but the challenges for business are greater than ever.

The growth in online sales continues and there are massive challenges for local councils as they try to encourage new businesses to fill the empty shops in the high street and bring new jobs of any kind to their area.

The pandemic has changed a lot of ways in which people work and working from home, more flexible hours, and a different attitude to current lifestyles are all having an affect.

Some people are reluctant to return to work and although there are jobs available, filling them with people with the right skills is proving a challenge.

This, added to the shortage of raw materials, will put pressure on many businesses for the rest of 2021. 

The motor industry has bounced back from the first three months of lockdown with a much-needed profitable second quarter but stocks are not being replenished fast enough and the large September market is looking like being extremely challenging.

Motor dealers are hoping stocks will arrive in time to meet demand but this is looking increasingly unlikely.

As a result of this used cars are scarce and prices remain high.

Stay safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.