This week I asked the Business Secretary a virtual question, saying that the best way to help small businesses in rural areas like ours is to beef up broadband in the long term, but that in the short term we need to allow businesses to business — not subsidise them to close.
The Government needs to work full pelt to get our businesses back to work. Those who saw the recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics will have noticed that of local authorities in England, West Lindsey has come second lowest in terms of Covid-19 fatalities.
People only die from the virus if they catch it, and people’s chances of catching it are radically reduced if people stay at home and wash their hands frequently, especially when returning from outdoors.
People across West Lindsey have been doing so. This is to be commended and helps explain why our rate is lower than the national average.
I would also like to thank our local team at the district council for the tremendous work they have put in to make sure that the business grants, which have been funded from central government by the taxpayer, get to our small businesses as soon as possible.
I believe our average turnaround from businesses applying to money in their account has been about 48 hours and this is down to the extraordinary work done by West Lindsey District Council.
In Parliament we’ve adapted as well. Scrutinising the work of the executive is the essence of Parliament’s purpose and is even more important in times of crisis. That’s why I argued during the Easter recess that we must keep some form of scrutiny going. The House authorities have worked tirelessly to create an operational model for the Commons to get back to work while respecting social distancing, just as many businesses and workplaces across the country have. I’ve been in frequent contact with ministers , mostly on behalf of constituents and businesses here in Lincolnshire.
I’ve also taken part in live sessions of the Commons itself, with ministers responding from the despatch box in Westminster as I ask questions from Lincolnshire. The turnaround on this has been remarkable and I’m very grateful for the work the House authorities put in. Our NHS has fulfilled the most noteworthy achievements though. Setting up the Nightingale hospitals to massively increase our capacity, in alliance with British manufacturers introducing and upscaling ventilator production, has been a sight to behold.
We’re not through it yet. The reality is that the coronavirus will likely keep affecting the way we live our daily lives for some time. But I firmly believe our people have what it takes to get through it.