The coronavirus pandemic brought an economic shock to the UK like we have not experienced before, but I am encouraged to see that we are taking steps towards a positive recovery.
In this constituency of South East Cambridgeshire, the government has supported 14,700 furloughed workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and provided assistance to 4,600 self-employed people through the Self-Employment Income Scheme.
I am pleased to see that support has been given to 536 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in South East Cambridgeshire who will pay no business rates this year, and thanks to the local authority discretionary grant fund, 1,687 local businesses have received cash grants of up to £25,000.
Whilst these measures have brought relief to both employers and employees, it is important that we each continue to support local businesses as they re-open.
Visiting local traders across the constituency, I have been reassured to see customers returning to the high street with social distancing and hygiene measures in place to keep us safe.
Speaking to many parish council chairs regularly over the past few months, I also have been impressed by the huge efforts to support local residents.
Over the summer many of us have taken advantage of the Eat Out to Help scheme – and in the first two weeks alone, the discount was used more than 10.5 million times in the UK.
Closer to home, the scheme has been so popular I have been finding it difficult to get a table!
Amongst others I have had delicious meals at Wildwood in Ely, The Merry Monk in Isleham and the Red Lion in Soham with my family – and some amazing ice cream at Cherry Hill Chocolates in Ely’s high street.
I am really pleased to see them doing so well.
And it has been great to see experience some new Covid friendly-adventures over the summer.
As a family we have enjoyed river swimming in Grantchester Meadows, quad biking in Kennett and buying second hand goods at the car boot sale in Fordham.
As we all adjust to a new normal, life becomes a little more as it was.
If you have questions about returning to work post furlough, specific support for businesses, access to health services or any other queries or concerns, then please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.