This month in Parliament we passed three really important pieces of legislation, the Business Recovery Act, the Domestic Abuse Act and the Trade Act. Each very different but each positive and both important to us domestically and internationally.
The Business Recovery (and Planning) Act allows businesses more easily to make use of outside space during the summer months to maximise their custom and keep them afloat during a difficult time when social distancing is putting them under pressure. "Al fresco" dining, supported by the Chancellor's VAT cuts and food vouchers, will keep local businesses running and help local jobs. I was the Minister responsible for the Bill and I am very grateful for the help and support given by many, including Tamworth Borough Council, in getting it drafted. I do hope Herald readers will do all they can to make best use of this Act and support our local businesses in the town centre, helping out by eating out when they can.
The Domestic Abuse Act will strengthen protections for victims, whilst also tackling perpetrators at the earliest stage and ensuring they face the full force of the law. Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime perpetrated on victims and their families by those who should love and care for them. This landmark Bill will help transform the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need. It is also recognition of some fantastic local charities and support organisation that have for years worked so hard to help people (usually women but not always so) to escape and recover from domestic violence and intimidation.
Continuing our trade with existing partners is vital for us and for them, and when we were in the European Union these deals were signed off on our behalf. Now that we have left, we need to re-sign them in our own name, and this is exactly what this Bill does. It is a continuity bill that lets us run over our previous deals into the future, but it is ONLY focussed on existing deals and ONLY about the existing rules of those deals. Sadly, the Labour Party tried to play some silly games and some rather interesting showboating pretending to make the whole vote about the future of the NHS and President Trump. The Bill had nothing to do with the NHS into which the Government is investing record sums to ensure it is fit for the future so it was very disappointing to see Labour's new lawyer leader Sir Keir Starmer waste Parliamentary time in pursuit of misleading headlines.
Earlier in the month, I was invited to the Dunstall Park site where Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes are building around 800 homes for local families. I was grateful to the team there for asking all my questions, as a number of you had put to me questions around flooding. It is my job to represent you and to get more information for you and it was beneficial to hear about the drainage infrastructure in place that is increasing the water run off at a higher rate than before. I was keen to see how the site is supporting hundreds of jobs, including apprenticeships, during this pandemic, jobs that local families may rely on.
The House of Commons has now recessed for the summer, so I am up in the constituency catching up on meetings and casework in my office on Lichfield Street. There is a lot to get through but I am looking forward to being able to safely meet residents again and hear more about the great stories of people's community effort and hard work from the last few difficult months.
As ever, if I can help you or your family, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.