As I write this month’s column, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on TV in the background - I know Tamworth is united behind all our athletes in Team GB. It has been a great start to the week with the first medals coming through, including for Staffordshire’s own Adam Peaty with more to come! Our town has already got into the sporting spirit with the Olympic ring flowerbed in Castle Grounds looking fantastic.
These past few months have seen us take big steps to lifting COVID restrictions whilst our vaccine rollout is still firing on all cylinders. On the 19th of July, our ‘Freedom Day’ saw most restrictions in England finally lifted. Our world leading vaccination programme has, since the start of this year, administered over 80 million doses and fully vaccinated well over half of the United Kingdom’s population - a significant milestone in our fight against Covid-19.
I was glad to see so many people make use of the Tamworth super jab and test weekend to help curb the spread of the virus in our town and make sure we are as safe as possible coming out of lockdown. Make no mistake, the vaccines are working. Over the last week or so we have seen the cases come substantially down. So please, if you have not already done so do get yourself vaccinated. You are protecting yourself as well as your family, friends and neighbours.
Back in Westminster there have been two important bills debated this month.
The new plan for immigration has three targets: to modernise and increase the fairness and effectiveness of our immigration system, to strengthen our ability to stop illegal entry into the United Kingdom and strengthen our ability to remove those who have no right to be here. The Nationality and Borders Bill will tackle these issues and make sure we take back control of our borders with a more transparent legal framework and revolutionise a failed asylum system that costs the taxpayer over a billion pounds a year. These changes are needed to ensure we can tackle criminal networks that specialise in people trafficking and provide security for migrants that are legally entering our country. I know this is a problem that Tamworth cares about and I will be voting for these measures when the time comes.
The Health and Social Care Bill also had its second reading (the main debate) in the House of Commons. This bill will look at the proposals for key changes in the NHS’s long-term plan, following the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill is based on the NHS’s own proposals as to how it can become less bureaucratic, more accountable and more integrated, so that it continues its commitment to delivering world-class care for patients.
This month I have also submitted my thoughts to the Boundary Commission on proposed constituency boundary changes. Many of you will live in villages like Shenstone, Drayton Bassett or Elford which although are part of Lichfield District are also part of the Tamworth parliamentary constituency. The 2023 review could see Tamworth constituency lose Wall to Lichfield constituency but gain Whittington and Streethay.
It is important to revaluate constituency boundaries as our population changes and grows. However, it is equally important that constituencies reflect the local area, geography, history and heritage. I do not believe this initial proposal from the Commission achieves that, and so I have written to the Commission with more sensible suggestions, very much in keeping with those proposed by my colleague Michael Fabricant.
As this session of Parliament ends, and summer recess begins, I am lucky to be able to spend even more time in Tamworth and look forward to seeing many of you at my Seniors’ Faire at St Editha’s Church next month. I have been overwhelmed by the number of responses from those of you looking to spend the day with us at St Editha’s on the 26th August So many local groups and businesses will be there too so they can meet senior citizens and explain what they do. We have already confirmed that many local hobby groups and sports clubs, activity groups, as well as a major supermarket, Council and NHS teams will be joining us. I look forward to seeing you there.
As always, my team and I are always here if you think we can help or represent you in any way, so do not hesitate to get in contact with us either by writing to us or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.