This newsletter is one of the regular updates I send out to residents in Scunthorpe. If you would like to subscribe, please click here.
Last Friday, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh passed away. This was really upsetting news- the Prince has been a permanent fixture throughout our lives. He served our country through war and peace, and we will forever remember his contribution and service to our country.
In light of Friday's saddening news, I decided to postpone this Local Update from Saturday until today. My thoughts remain with Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family during this difficult time.
March & April Local Update
I hope you are well and was happy to see the further reopenings on Monday in accordance with our roadmap.
Having worked with many of our reopening businesses it’s exciting that many of these businesses were able to open their doors yesterday. Our roadmap out of this pandemic is a cautious one, but it is meant to be irreversible.
The continued success of the vaccine rollout makes this all the more likely- nowhere more so than locally. As of 25th March, 36,867 have been vaccinated in Scunthorpe- that’s over half of all adults. Our new Mass Vaccination Centre at the Baths Hall will undoubtedly accelerate efforts, and I want to congratulate our local CCG on their fantastic coordination.
Along with the return to trading this month, our town stands to benefit from over £21 million of “new money” from the government. On top of this, our bid for a Humber Freeport has succeeded, making Scunthorpe a magnet for investment and jobs. You can read more about these exciting announcements on my “Budget Special” Business Update.
Many residents in our area have been in touch regarding 'vaccine certification'. This is something I am personally instinctively wary of, and I am keen to hear from more locals on this. It would be great if you could fill in the survey on my website so that I can be informed in my discussions with colleagues and Ministers in Parliament. Please share as I am keen to hear from as many residents as possible!
As ever, please find below my progress reports on key local issues:
- Working with local residents
- Protecting and promoting our world-class British Steel
- Upgrading Scunthorpe Hospital
- Rejuvenating Our Local Roads
- Supporting our local businesses, community groups, and building up our high street
- Useful information and links for residents
Working with local residents
Keeping our community clean
Fly-tipping (along with dog-fowling!) is one of the most irritating things in life and is not only an eyesore but a safety hazard on our streets.
Throughout the year I have been working to address antisocial behaviour and fly-tipping in our area. This includes doing a small drive around Frodingham earlier this week to make sure that a fly-tipping incident I reported has been sorted.
It is thanks to local residents who have taken the time to contact me that I am able to take action, so please get in touch directly if there is a case in your area.
A reckoning for offenders!
It is also the case that these incidents are persistently caused by small groups of offenders. This is why I have written to the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council to ask him to step up enforcement, such as going through fly-tipping to find addressed letters, whenever it is safe to start doing so again. I will also be finding ways to work with areas that are affected for longer-term solutions.
UPDATE 15/04/2021: I can confirm following my letter to NLC, visits have now been made to some of these areas and enforcement work has started. Officers have been provided with cameras and are able to examine waste for evidence such as addressed mail.
Working with our community groups
As you will know I have also been working with some local charities and community groups in our area. Last month a resident asked a local non-profit to get in touch and we were able to work together to secure some very significant funding.
Do also keep an eye on my Facebook and for my Business Updates, as I will include funding opportunities, such as Sports England's Return to Play: Small Grants posted recently. If the groups are struggling with applications please ask them to get in touch and I will do my best to help!
Supporting our own #TeamHopkins
It was good to be able to (virtually) stand by Team Hopkins in a Parliamentary meeting recently. Nicki was very brave when she highlighted the difficulties facing brain tumour patients such as David and made the case for more awareness in policymaking.
Working together with the Chair of the Brain Tumours Parliamentary Group, we wrote to the Health Secretary last week to push for free tests for tumour patients travelling abroad. I will continue this campaign so fewer families have to go through this.
Protecting and promoting our world-class British steel
What is being done?
Having asking the Minister to retain steel trading safeguards, I received a positive response last month month. The Trade Remedies Authority are currently reviewing safeguards- I will be watching this closely.
Increasing domestic use of our steel is another key priority. I encouraged the Defence Minister to consider British steel in upcoming defence projects in the Commons a couple of weeks ago.
To reassure local stakeholders of the current concerns surrounding Liberty Steel, I asked the Business Secretary to do everything he can to support our local Liberty Steelworkers. I know that this is a tough time for those involved and I am following the situation very closely.
As ever, I will continue to follow developments at Liberty Steel closely, and continue to support the British steel industry in Parliament.
Improving our local health offering, upgrading Scunthorpe Hospital
What is being done?
Having raised local vaccine access in Parliament, The Baths Hall mass vaccination centre is finally up and running. I was able to go along for a socially distanced visit recently to see vaccinations take place.
As ever, I have been making representations on behalf of residents through Written Questions:
- Ensuring that local services are supported as they work through the backlog of treatments that have been delayed by Covid pressures.
- Forwarding concerns about death-in-service insurance for student nurses.
- Securing flu vaccine accessibility over the Winter.
Some residents have spotted ongoing building works in Scunthorpe Hospital - we are indeed funded for some upgrades including a new A&E.
This is good news for all of us, and with these mid-term solutions in place, I will now ramp up my campaign for a new Scunthorpe Hospital. As you can imagine, pushing for a new hospital may take some time, but I genuinely believe this is what our area needs.
Improving our local roads
What is being done?
Having worked with NLC and local residents, I was delighted that Scunthorpe received £912k from the government’s Rural Mobility Fund to improve the JustGo! Bus services. From this month, there will be additional services- read more here. I have written to residents in Hibaldstow on this.
I have worked with haulage workers, local seafarers and motorcyclists since January, ensuring support is in place for them. Indeed, I signed a letter with my colleagues to push for a freeze on Fuel Duty, which the Chancellor committed to in the budget.
I am also holding extensive discussions with North Lincs Council and Morrisons regarding the roundabout there. I will update residents via social media on the progress being made shortly.
Supporting our local businesses, community groups, and building up our High Street
What is being done?
Our hospitality industry has helped the local Covid effort in so many ways, and I was able to thank a number of local businesses during a Parliamentary debate on Hospitality recently. You can watch the speech below:
In the run-up to the Budget earlier this month, I was pushing for a beer duty cut, a continuation of the 15% VAT cut that I called for last summer and an extension to the business rates holiday. To my delight, the Chancellor froze beer duty whilst extending the VAT cut and rates holiday.
Along with the return to trading for hundreds of businesses over the coming month, the Chancellor’s Budget on March 3rd presented a huge win for our area.
The £20.9 million from the Towns Fund deal, is in addition to the £10.6 million from the Future High Street Fund announced in December. This, along with the new Freeport, presents the groundworks for Scunthorpe to grow.
Having campaigned with Andrew Percy on Beer Duty, we managed to prevent it from rising by securing a duty freeze. I have now signed a letter to create a new "Draught Beer Duty" to support pubs, and this is something I will be working on in the coming weeks
As we reopen I will continue to work with our local businesses to provide the support they need and raise issues of concern.
Working with our Schools
What is being done?
You may have heard that North Lindsey will benefit from the Government's Further Education Capital Transformation Fund. This funding will help reshape the campus and to improve North Lindsey's offering of the new "T-levels" in our area.
As headteachers will know, I wrote to all school leaders prior to their return to ensure that they had all the support they needed to welcome back pupils.
A number of students have got in touch with me recently, and I know that there is uncertainty. And at the end of last month, I called on the Education Secretary to provide extra support for those pupils who may need it, including those with dyslexia. And I will continue to press government to provide support for the final year cohort.
I know that our pupils will continue to feel the effects of lockdown and self-isolation periods in future- I will continue to ensure that support is in place for this year and next.
Useful information and links for residents:
- Latest Business Update
- Letter from the Prime Minister on Step Two of the Roadmap
- Response from Minister on SEISS Grants
If you need anything over the next few weeks, please get in touch with me and I will get back to you when I can.
Take care and stay safe,