Last week the COVID-19 Tier system was introduced nationally. I thank every single one of you for your support in following the guidelines and keeping the borough in Tier 1. Sadly, the simple truth is that Coronavirus cases are rising, and if infections continue to rise at the current rate, then in just four weeks hospitals could be treating more Coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave.
We are of course far better prepared for this second wave – we understand more about the virus and how it spreads. It is upon all of us to act now to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, so we can keep cancer treatments, elective surgeries and other vital diagnostic services going. It is also naturally the responsibility of everyone to protect our loved ones.
The work of residents in the community never fails to impress me. I was pleased to see that the new CCTV for Lye High Street will be installed shortly. This was down to the hard work of local campaigners such as Sheila Sidaway, Helen Phipps and Dave Borley who have quite rightly kept the pressure on all of us to ensure this project is completed. In advance of this, I was pleased to welcome West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to Lye to talk about my concern at the drop in footfall on the High Street and closure of so many shops.
Last week I enjoyed meeting local Quarry Bank campaigner Rob Clinton at the Saltwells Nature Reserve, another jewel in our crown and if you haven’t already visited, please do. It is a stunning place with some breath-taking views and walks. It was recently made a National Nature Reserve, which for an urban constituency, is a high accolade.
I had the pleasure of joining the Amblecote Street Watch with Cllr Bradley, Cllr Lee and our fabulous PCSO’s. It was also an opportunity to thank local campaigner Kamran Razzaq for his hard work, who, with the two local Councillors, helped ensure a brand-new barrier was installed that will help stop anti-social behaviour in Turners Lane.
The last two weeks in Parliament have been very busy, supporting Ministers during International Trade questions in the House of Commons and meeting the Australian High Commissioner talking about the future free trade agreement between Australia and the UK. In Stourbridge I was pleased to announce that £137,000 of Arts funding has been awarded to local venues Claptrap and The River Rooms. I look forward to visiting both. My support for the Justice for Ryan campaign remains resolute and I will do all I can to support the family to ensure Justice is done. I was very happy to facilitate a meeting between Justice for Ryan campaigners and Justice Minister Alex Chalk MP.
So, despite COVID-19 life does go on as we keep adapting to the new norm. I thank every single one of you for all your efforts to protect loved ones and of course our beloved NHS, and for your continued support.