Saving lives and livelihoods

The coronavirus pandemic is the most serious national crisis we have faced in our lifetimes. Many residents have told me about hardships at this time, from mental health to business recovery. There is help available on many issues, so do get in touch if you need assistance. By working together and remaining resolute we will beat the virus, and go from strength the strength as an independent nation in the world.

Yet as the second wave of the virus approaches, we also know that things will get harder before they get better. That’s why we must be prepared for the serious challenges to our jobs and the economy in the coming months. Striving to strike the right balance between saving lives and livelihoods.

Last week the Chancellor set out fresh support for the next stage of the pandemic. The full Budget and national path to recovery will come at a later date as we ease through the coronavirus crisis.

In addition to record spending on the NHS to beat the virus, there has also been record levels of support here on the ground in Dover, Deal and the villages. Dover District Council have played a crucial role in keeping our local businesses going during the first lockdown. DDC handled the distribution of over £23million of Government grants to 2,000 local businesses. In our area there are a high number of self-employed workers, and more than 3,000 self-employed workers have received over £7.7million of financial support.

In recognition of the additional responsibility that councils have undertaken during the pandemic, Kent County Council, Dover District Council and Kent Fire and Rescue were allocated more than £80million of additional funding. An Infection Control Fund has benefitted nearly 500 care homes across the county, to the tune of over £6.7 million.

One of the most important schemes to save jobs has been the furlough scheme. In Dover & Deal around 12,200 jobs have been protected. An updated furlough scheme has been introduced in this next phase of the virus. Called the ‘Job Support Scheme’, it has the aim of protecting jobs for the long term.

In defeating the virus each and every one of us has a vital role to play. To make sure that we wash our hands, keep distance and wear a mask when out and about. If we all follow the rules we will keep ourselves safe, our neighbours safe and our country safe.

Whatever the virus throws at us in the second wave, I will keep fighting to support our jobs locally – from P&O to Dover Athletic, from our creative industries to our local shops and hotels, from our food processing factories to construction sites. As well as for the vision of a stronger economic future for our area as we move forward through these uncertain times. Together we can and will save lives – and protect our livelihoods and economy for the future too.

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