It has been another busy week in the constituency in the run-up to Christmas.
As you’ll already be aware, following from the coronavirus restrictions review this Thursday, Derby and Derbyshire have remained in tier 3 until the next review on 2nd January. I know this will be disappointing for many but we must do what we can to keep the virus under control whilst we continue the roll out of the vaccine, we are so close to returning to a new normal and we must not diminish our efforts now despite how hard times have been.
At this time of year, its really important to reach out and help the most vulnerable members of our communities, especially in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday this week, I was honoured to help out with the Christmas Cheer Project with local partners, distributing meals those who could use a helping hand this Christmas. Usually a community Christmas dinner would be held, but this has had to be put on hold this year on account of coronavirus. It was really rewarding to spread some Christmas joy and the scheme will make an important difference this year in particular.
On Friday I will be walking along the Rotary Club of Derby’s Santa Sleigh when it stops off in Littleover. The sleigh continues to tour Derby until the 23rd December and is aiming to raise much needed funds for Safe and Sound and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre. Both these charities do vital work in supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our local communities and I am proud to support their efforts.
The Christmas spirit in our communities continues through Festive Derby and I’m looking forward to following the Elf trail this weekend as I visit shops and businesses across the city centre. I’m also eager to visit the Make & Trade Festive Market and see all the exciting things on offer from local makers and creators. As we near Christmas, there are still lots of local festive events and you can find out what’s on from the visit Derby website at the following web link (https://www.visitderby.co.uk/whats-on/festive-derby).
This week I have also held my regular ‘Ask Amanda’ Q&A. Alongside our regular panellist Cllr Matt Holmes, I was pleased to be joined this week by Paul Brookhouse from the Derby Food 4 Thought Alliance and John Forkin from Marketing Derby. As usual, you can watch the video on my social media accounts and can tune in live to future instalments every Thursday from 6pm.
As you know, from the 23rd December until the 27th December inclusive, Christmas bubbles can be formed, comprised of people from three households meeting in homes, places of worship or public outdoor spaces. Travel is also permitted during this period between tiers and between UK nations to meet your bubble. This year has been a difficult one and the chance to see our loved ones over the festive period will be a great relief to us all. It is important however to remain vigilant to the dangers posed by coronavirus and celebrate responsibly with our loved ones, in line with the recently set out guidance.
Negotiations on a future trade arrangement with the European Union have continued this week and the deadline for the negotiations has been extended until the end of the year. This will give a greater chance for a potential agreement to be reached and we all hope that the discussions prove fruitful. It is important to be prepared for the end of the transition period whatever the outcome of the negotiations may be, and the government is encouraging businesses, individuals, and families across the country to make sure they are ready. The information on how to be prepared is available on the gov.uk website and can be accessed using the following web link (https://www.gov.uk/transition).
This week has also seen important developments on the Government’s aim to achieve net-carbon neutrality by the end of 2050. This week, the Government has published an Energy White Paper which provides much greater detail on how this is to be achieved through transforming energy production and consumption, creating a fair deal for consumers and launching a green recovery from COVID-19. The effects of Climate Change on our planet are profound and I am pleased that the UK is leading the way globally in tackling the issue.
On Tuesday, the Government also published a response to the Online Harms consultation which had involved a wide range of key stakeholders and parliamentarians. The response sets out a regulatory framework to protect internet users, especially children from significant harm and ensures that the framework is tightly defined to include strong safeguards for users’ rights online. I am pleased that action is being taken to ensure that when we go online, we are safer from harmful activity and content and can have confidence in the protections that are in place.