Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her monthly column for The Wire.
Freedom Day has brought us closer to getting back to normal but I’m under no illusion that we are out of the woods yet.
This was brought home to us in Parliament in the first PMQs since social distancing restrictions lifted. There may have been more of us in the chamber but the Prime Minister had to Zoom in by video link.
The Leader of the Opposition just about made it through the session before he had to self-isolate too.
I’m very aware that businesses in Rushcliffe have had problems with staff having to isolate and testing positive.
Like many colleagues I have asked Ministers to look at moving key industries to a ‘test to release’ scheme ahead of this being rolled out nationwide on 16 August.
I’m glad that we’ve made progress but I am looking forward to when we can move to this system for everyone next month.
Further progress, and the progress we’ve made so far, is down to the huge numbers of people who have taken up the offer of a vaccine.
88% of all adults have now had one dose of the vaccine and 70% have had two.
I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet had a vaccine to get one booked in as soon as possible. I’ve got my second dose booked in the with the team in Gamston next week.
We’ve also started to see new covid cases fall quite significantly in the last six days. I don’t want to make too much of that because its very early days and this virus is nothing if not unpredictable, but I am cautiously optimistic and I have confidence that our vaccines will help us to weather future storms.
Sport and culture have been two of the industries most affected by the restrictions over the last 18 months.
It was a pleasure to bring the Minister for Sports and Tourism, Nigel Huddleston, to Rushcliffe the other week to see the fantastic sport and cultural treasures we have here.
We covered cricket, football, water sports and gymnastics at both professional and grass roots level. I know the Minister greatly enjoyed meeting so many dedicated athletes, players, coaches and volunteers. I’m so delighted that our historic grounds such as Trent Bridge and the City Ground will be full of fans again this summer.
It was also fantastic to be able to show him how the Cultural Recovery Fund had helped protect beautiful, historic places such as Holme Pierrepont Hall.
As we head into the summer recess I’m looking forward to visiting many more of the wonderful businesses and organisations in Rushcliffe and to meeting many more of you.
Last weekend I had a wonderful morning meeting residents in Cropwell Butler.
Despite the scorching sun, one of the concerns we spent most time discussing was that of flooding.
The flash floods in London and areas across the South this week serve as a reminder that this danger is never far away.
I’m continuing to work with residents and agencies to resolve flooding issues across the constituency, we’ve made some great progress but there’s still a lot of work to do. This week’s flooding is also a reminder of the increasingly unpredictable weather that comes with climate change.
This month the latest piece of research in Onward’s Getting to Zero Programme, which I am supporting, was published.
This paper, Qualifying for Net Zero looks at the challenges that meeting our net zero targets poses for the UK’s labour market and proposes a plan for closing the current skills gap.