WHILE we are in a fundamentally different place compared to six months ago, the evidence shows that the virus has started to spread again in an exponential way and that is why the Government have acted.

I want to see us avoid returning to the types of restrictions we had in March which is why we all need to follow the tougher measures.

Constituents have been in touch sharing a very wide range of views. In my view, these are proportionate measures, informed by the science and considering the risk the virus poses, the impact on the economy, livelihoods and personal freedoms of the people of Taunton Deane.

In terms of support for the economy, the Chancellor has announced a range of additional support which I welcome, including the Job Support Scheme to help businesses who can support employees doing some work during a period of depressed demand; extending the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors; giving businesses the option to pay back VAT bills in smaller instalments; a 12 month extension for self-assessment taxpayers and extending the length of ‘Bounce Back Loans’ from six years to 10.

Do download the NHS Covid-19 app to help control transmission.

Locally I’m so pleased that funding I helped secure from Government means the rail station and Firepool can now be linked enabling work to begin on regenerating the site.

I’ve also met with local farming businesses recently; to discuss the new environmental land management scheme as well as maintaining food standards.

In terms of our food export market, I welcome news this week that the first exports of UK beef to the USA in 20 years are getting underway.

MP for Taunton Deane