ON a rather sensitive issue this week, following on from my challenge to South Somerset District Council about the situation at Yeovil Crematorium, where the chapel is closed, I have corresponded with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office regarding the stance of the Church of England on funerals, closing its doors to even the smallest number of mourners.
I accept that churches are closed to congregational services but government has never instructed that small-scale funerals should not take place – nor that flags should not fly. You can read my column published in The Times about this at www.chrisloder.co.uk/press
(Editor’s Note: It was announced after this column was published that the crematorium would re-open as of May 4).
In other news, government has announced a welcome £10million fund for England’s fishing and aquaculture sectors, which includes £1million to assist fishermen to sell their catch in the local communities.
It is hoped this will provide a lifeline for more than 1,000 fishing businesses, including those in the Lyme Regis area, so they can continue to maintain and operate their boats during this challenging time.
During my weekly conference call with Dorset Police it is clear that, despite a general downturn in local crime, drug dealing and trafficking continues. Added to which, the devastating impact of ‘County Lines’ so often exploits young people and the vulnerable.
Please report suspicious behaviour to Crimestoppers, anonymously and free of charge, on 0800 555 111.
Many of you have asked when household recycling centres will be back open and I am lobbying government for this to happen, as the situation with irresponsible fly-tipping is unacceptable. I have also asked for a controlled reopening of our garden centres, which I believe would bring immense benefits and sense of wellbeing here.
Also this week I have co-signed a letter with fellow MPs to the Chancellor, regarding second homeowners who have registered their properties as holiday lets to avoid council tax; some have additionally claimed the government’s Coronavirus Small Business Grant worth £10k. We believe this funding would be better spent supporting other areas of our local economy through this crisis.
Finally, this week I’ve discussed a range of issues with Dorset councillors, including business grants, PPE, care homes and emergency dentistry provision. We now have an Urgent Dental Centre at Dorset County Hospital – patients should telephone their usual dentist or 111 to be referred.
I would like to pay credit to all our local councillors who have demonstrated a real strength of tenacity as we tackle the effects of coronavirus together.
Chris Loder MP