June saw the wonderful, unique Platinum Jubilee celebration. I had a tremendous time over the long weekend and it was wonderful to see the country come together in festive spirit and unity to pay our respects to our Queen. I have written to many organisers of the Tamworth celebrations to thank them for making that four-day weekend into the great occasion we can all remember. There is no time for post-Jubilee relaxation however, as we have a packed Commonwealth Games schedule coming up.
The Queen’s Baton Relay will visit Tamworth on 20 July for a day of unmissable festivities. I will be there to welcome the baton so let’s try to pack the streets and cheer on the runners. What’s more, Tamworth has been announced as a Festival Site for the Commonwealth Games. We are one of only ten towns and cities across the West Midlands region to be chosen as hosts and the only site in Staffordshire. The event will run from 28 July – 8 August and there will be a programme of live performances, entertainment, and special events, as well as giant screens to watch the games – so do get involved!
In Westminster, the focus this month has been on the economy. The current period of high international inflation is driven by a spike in the price of energy that in turn has come from the end of the pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. And while this is a global challenge, we are getting on and using our domestic arsenal to combat it – this includes boosting our own production of energy. Most recently, we brought forward our Cost of Living Payments Bill, enabling us to support families with cash cost of living payments.
The first automatic instalment of the £650 payment will be £326, paid on 14 July, with the rest of the payment to follow in the Autumn. Pensioners will receive an extra £300 while disabled households will get a £150 payment on top of the £150 council tax rebate paid in April and the £400 grant to help with energy bills this Autumn. This is part of our £37 billion package of support that will strengthen the economy and help people through this high inflation period.
I am also delighted that our local NHS trust has made it onto the shortlist of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2022. I nominated the digital team from the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the Future NHS Award, as they had done brilliant work reaching the digitally excluded in their homes through the provision of digital technology during the pandemic when people were in dire need of remote consultation. I wish them all the best in the finals and hope we can bring home the Award.
Towards the end of June, I had the absolute pleasure to visit Drayton Manor Theme Park to meet their new CEO and also try out the new Viking area with Norse themed rides such as Thor and Loki. I will always beat the drum for more investment in our area, and with it comes more jobs and more facilities. So, if you haven’t been down to Drayton for a while – there is a new area to discover!
On a final note, our own Reverend Vic Van Den Bergh will conduct his last service on July 3 after 20 years at St. Editha’s and 17 at St. Francis. I would like to thank him for his tireless service to the Tamworth community and wish him all the best for the future.
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