POLITICALLY SPEAKING: I’m relieved to have a roadmap out of lockdown - MP Andrea Jenkyns

Like everybody across Morley and Outwood, I felt a sense of relief when the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown last week.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 6:00 am

It is a carefully calibrated path to freedom that we all hope will be “cautious, but irreversible”.

We all want certainty that this will be our last lockdown, that is why last week in Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked Boris Johnson what steps are being taken to spot, prevent, and limit the damage of any future public health emergences.

I am pleased the Government will be taking steps to control local outbreaks and is investing heavily in remarkable British science and research that will help to tackle similar future issues.

The roadmap set out is in a number of steps, each subject to review based on the latest data. I welcome that each step comes with an earliest date, so people and businesses are able to roughly plan the months ahead.

The first step, on March 8, is the vital return to schools for our children. The importance education plays in social mobility and achieving life goals cannot be overstated and I welcome the Government’s policy of schools being the last to close, first to open. We have amazing schools in our area, and I know our children will benefit massively by learning in them.

Following this, on March 29, we will see further relaxation where larger groups, either a maximum of 6 or two households, can meet outside. This will be great news for many who are looking forward to seeing friends and family again, and from speaking with residents and local support groups I know this small change will help improve mental health.

On April 12, we’ll hopefully see non-essential retail and gyms open up again. Alongside this, I know many will be relieved to hear, hairdressers will be able to operate. Hospitality venues can operate outdoor areas, such as beer gardens. This significant opening up of our economy will bring good news for businesses, both small and large.

The next step, on May 17, will see indoor pubs, restaurants, and cinemas open up again - further increasing capacity for many local businesses. The rules of social contact outdoors will be lifted, and households will be able to mix indoors.

Finally, on June 21, all legal limits on social contact are set to be removed, and remaining sectors of the economy will be reopened. This, I know, will be an immense feeling of relief for us all.

In my recent Morley and Outwood Business Association Zoom event, a round table with Business Minister Paul Scully held last Friday, the minister listened directly to local business concerns.

It was a great event which put the voices of Morley and Outwood front and centre, just as the budget was being finalised. There was real positivity about the roadmap too - finally we have a path to freedom.

We all want this to be the last lockdown, and to see our loved ones once again. I am a passionate supporter of our return to freedom, and of our Great British spirit which will enable our economic rebuilding following the impact of the virus.

As always if you have any questions or issues I can help with please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected]