IT’S been a very productive couple of weeks in Westminster, albeit some issues this week have been rather a distraction.
I’d like to thank all of you from the Lyme Regis area who took the trouble to correspond with me about the situation with Dominic Cummings – my response to this has already been very well covered by LymeOnline, but if would like to read my latest thoughts on the matter please do visit www.chrisloder.co.uk
Above all, this week’s news headlines focused my mind even more on the enormous sacrifices made by all of us in recent months – sacrifices which means West Dorset has one of the lowest numbers of coronavirus infections in the country, and for that I am grateful.
Government is now asking us to do more, with the launch of Test and Trace, as we slowly move forward in our recovery from the pandemic.
My focus and duty as your MP has always been clear and this recovery transition period is my absolute priority. In that respect, this week there has been positive news for our high streets and town centres as non-essential shops plan to reopen.
It is a tentative time for business owners as they adapt their premises to accommodate social distancing; equally tentative for communities as we get used to a ‘new normal’ way of shopping.
As we begin to kick-start our economic recovery, government is helping this transition, with a new £50m Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. This will enable local councils to support their high streets, beachfronts and promenades get safely back to business.
Dorset will benefit by some £335k and I will do all I can to help local councils as the phased re-opening begins.
We are likely heading into one of the worst recessions for decades and we will not be immune from the effects of that – indeed I know how difficult it already is for local fishing and hospitality businesses, especially as the hospitality sector will be one of the last to recover.
It is a political tightrope to tread, achieving the fine balance of controlling the virus and safeguarding public health, while reopening our economy.
We have had 358 confirmed coronavirus cases in a population of 380,000 or so in rural Dorset and, as difficult as it is, we will need to put that into perspective when making decisions as we return to normality.
Please support your local businesses at this time – they need us more than ever.
MP for West Dorset