“If this virus were a physical assailant, an unexpected and invisible mugger – which I can tell you from personal experience, it is – then this is the moment when we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor” – these were some of the words that stuck with me as Boris Johnson returned to No10 Downing Street, following his recuperation period, and addressed us all from the steps outside the famous black door. We are winning this fight, and Tamworth is playing its part.
I have briefly been back to Parliament in line with my duties as a Government Minister, replying to MPs who raise the very issues you raise with me as your MP. This week I supported the second reading of the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, so it could move along the conveyor belt to become law. This bill represents the most comprehensive package ever to tackle this horrendous crime and has been widely welcomed by charities and stakeholders. I also spoke in Local Government Questions outlining the £3.2billion package of measures the Government has introduced to help councils like Tamworth contend with the epidemic. That is in addition to the £500million made available for household hardship cases. We will continue to work with councils to ensure they and their services are supported.
Across Tamworth and the villages, it is clear that the pandemic has not held people back from their goals, with some using innovative techniques to achieve them. Cllr Tina Clements had planned a number of fundraising nights to purchase and install a new defibrillator in Bolehall. She has instead used social media and has fundraised a staggering £2,220 and smashing her goal. This is fantastic to see and, as Tamworth Have a Heart was my Summer 2019 charity, this means a lot to Tina and her family personally.
So many people are doing a brilliant job in following the medical guidance. We all want to get over this crisis as quickly and kick start our economy. I read it daily in the emails you send me as business owners, concerned family members and isolating residents but we cannot throw away all the effort and sacrifice of Tammies and the British people. A second major wave will lead to further loss of life and could overwhelm our NHS. We are coming to the end of the first phase of this battle, we have nearly succeeded. We just have to keep going. So, let us redouble our efforts to stay safe and keep other people safe so we save lives and finally defeat this national threat.