Kemi Badenoch MP for Saffron Walden constituency’s October column

PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:10 19 October 2020

How Covid is affecting life. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

How Covid is affecting life. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Kemi Badenoch

During my regular briefings with local authority leaders, I am receiving the latest updates on transmission locally. I have been advised that confirmed cases of coronavirus in Uttlesford have risen to the highest level in Essex (64 cases per 100,000 population a week as of October 6), I must emphasise that it is vital we continue to follow the latest guidance and adhere to the measures in place to protect us.

I continue to receive lots of positive news on funding allocations across the constituency which are helping residents and businesses get back on track. Most recently the Saffron Walden Community Cinema, received over £90,000 as part of the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

As the local MP I have worked extensively to represent local businesses across the constituency, however big or small, to make the case for the support they require to help weather the storm of the pandemic.

The Chancellor’s Winter Economic Plan also provides certainty for residents and local businesses that additional support will continue to be available, including an extension to the self-employment scheme, the 15 percent VAT cut for the hospitality and leisure industry extended until March next year, amongst other announcements.

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Following a number of residents getting in touch to share their difficult experience trying to access a Covid-19 test, I raised my concerns directly with Essex County Council and the Department of Health and Social Care regional directors. I have been assured they are aware some residents have experienced difficulty accessing a test and are putting in the relevant measures to increase capacity.

In August the Government launched the ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper. Whilst I welcome the fact the government is looking again at planning, I recognise residents, local authorities and some organisations have reservations on the proposals, some of which I share.

This is why it is absolutely critical that we engage with the consultation in significantly large numbers to help shape the proposals to meet the needs of our constituency. I will be raising my concerns and those of residents across the constituency directly with the Minister and ask that residents do so too by responding.

I have also written to the Minister regarding the Government’s consultation on ‘Changes to the Current Planning System’ raising concerns regarding the implications of the proposed new Standard Method on Uttlesford, temporarily limiting the small sites threshold and extending permission in principle to larger developments.

To view the proposals and find out how to respond to the consultation, please visit:

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