MP Kevin Foster: Light of 2021 can now be seen at end of Covid-19 tunnel
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
While the end of national restrictions yesterday will bring relief for many Torbay businesses as parts of our tourist sector, gyms, hairdressers, restaurants and non-essential retail re-opened, there are others who still cannot trade today.
The Health Secretary and Deputy Chief Medical Officer briefed MPs on what factors they considered in tiering decisions. While overall case numbers are key, the infection rate in over-60s and the situation in local hospitals are also factors.
I am disappointed our Bay is not yet in Tier 1, but with cases falling rapidly over the last week it gives us a good chance of getting into it soon, potentially at the next review on December 16.
Yet if cases rise or advice is ignored, especially on visits to other households, then we could be stuck in Tier 2.
The fall in new cases combined with the recent announcements of new vaccine developments, mean the light of 2021 can now be firmly seen at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, but there is still more to be done in the meantime and a need to support those businesses who cannot trade effectively.
GOODRINGTON ON TRACK?
Back in the 1960s many communities were cut off from the rail network, including Brixham, Churston and Goodrington.
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Earlier this year Anthony Mangnall and I submitted a bid to the Department for Transport for funding to do an appraisal of whether it would be possible to reverse some of the so called ‘Beeching Cuts’ here in our Bay.
We were supported by Goodrington Cllr Jane Barnby and Conservative Group leader Cllr Dave Thomas in doing this.
We recently heard the bid would not progress at this stage, but got some valuable feedback to help drive it forward in a future round.
Anthony and I will continue to explore this issue and how it could be taken forward for the benefit of our Bay.
TORBAY HOSPITAL INVESTMENT
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement brought further positive news in relation to the major project to rebuild Torbay Hospital, which will be the biggest single investment in our Bay’s health services since the NHS was created in 1948.
The trust running Torbay Hospital was awarded £3.7mllion of funding in March to proceed with the planning of a £350 million project to transform their estate and digital technology.
I am advised the trust are working towards having the full business case ready in September 2023 which if approved would see construction commence shortly afterwards.
This project could not only be a massive boost to healthcare, but a major shot in the arm for our economy, hence ensuring it is delivered, plus the skills to do so being available locally, are some of my biggest priorities as our Bay’s MP.
With the restrictions recently introduced I have sadly had to cancel my regular advice surgeries until further notice.
I hope to restart them as soon as possible, but in the meantime a telephone surgery appointment can be arranged.
Please note these appointments are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, problems accessing support and benefits, rather than to discuss policy or the wider situation.
You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.