James Heappey weekly column

Ahead of the easing of lockdown on Saturday, it was pleasing to see the Prime Minister set out a bold and ambitious plan for our recovery from Covid-19.

While we are by no means yet through the battle against this awful virus, it is right that we look to fix the problems which were so clearly magnified by coronavirus.

Social care, GP waiting times, further education and more police officers on our streets are just a few of the areas which need attention from the Government.

While the manifesto from last December had already addressed many of these, it is now so important that we accelerate our investment and look to bounce back from the economic and health crisis which we have endured over the past few months.

I was particularly drawn to the Prime Minister’s words about opportunity and productivity.  There are so many talented people here in Somerset and by investing in skills for higher education and connectivity between regions, I think there is much to be optimistic about, while being acutely aware of the challenge ahead. The plans to offer an Opportunity Guarantee so that every young person has the chance of apprenticeship or an in-work placement, is something I welcome and look forward to seeing in action. 

It is important we are not complacent. But infections in the South West remain low and I hope the reopening of many important businesses brings relief to such hardworking employers and employees in the constituency.