IT is good to see the Prime Minister back in Downing Street to lead on tackling the coronavirus crisis. I recognise how challenging the whole issue is as we adapt to living and working at home and not seeing our family and friends, but I must urge you, however difficult, to continue to Stay at home, Protect the NHS and Save lives.

Any relaxation would do more to endanger lives and damage the economy over a longer period.

It is a particularly worrying time for businesses and my staff and I are working to ensure people are signposted to the wide-ranging package of support the Chancellor has made available.

I’ve made special representation for certain sectors including small businesses facing cash flow issues.

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I am optimistic that this weeks’ announcement of the 100% Government backed loan scheme for small and medium-sized businesses enabling them to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months, should provide some relief.

I continue to help ensure the chain of PPE is running as smoothly as possible and Somerset County Council, among others, are doing sterling work on this as well as organising the distribution of food parcels to the vulnerable.

The Government has recently expanded testing eligibility so that all essential workers and their households can now be tested if displaying symptoms. Testing centres are being established across Somerset, including Taunton, and further information will be shared directly with staff in individual organisations with more sites to be added if required.

Taunton based laboratory SYNLAB is engaged in analysing the samples and Somerfield in Wellington is working at pace to produce hand gel. Well done to all involved and to those showing ingenuity to help others, including the DT team at Castle School making masks for care homes and those in Wilton and Sherford running a community shop.

Do get in touch if I can help. Email or sign up to my Coronavirus Bulletin at

MP for Taunton Deane