Statement: Covid-19 Roadmap

2nd March 2021

Covid-19 Roadmap - Spring 2021

Last week the Prime Minister set out the Government’s Roadmap out of lockdown.

Lockdown has been hugely difficult and damaging for so many households, families, pubs, shops and local businesses and communities. Having run my own small business for fifteen years in our area before being elected to Parliament, I absolutely understand and feel that pain. 

I have been on the business frontline myself and have been doing everything possible over the last twelve months to help all those small businesses in our community that are struggling to make ends meet. The route out of lockdown provides hope to us all. 

But, over the coming months, it is all the more vital that we all support local small businesses, the self-employed and the younger generation in every way we can.

In the short-term, that means vaccinations for all and continuing to follow the Government's rules. The vaccine rollout has rightly been a source of great national pride. We must continue to encourage everyone to take up the offer of a vaccine and bring down infections and case rates over the coming weeks. We must also continue to abide by the social distancing precautions. The stay-at-home order is still in place as is the guidance around hygiene, handwashing, mask-wearing and working from home if we can. We cannot let the virus resurge again. Compliance is still our best weapon against the virus. We must not let our guard down in this final phase.

Longer-term, however, it’s also clear that the structural damage and legacy of the Covid pandemic will require some big bold measures from Government to ensure a strong post-Covid Recovery.

We will need clear measures in four key areas:

1. First, training and recruitment support for the c50,000 forecast to lose their jobs when furloughing ends

2. Second, tax support for local small businesses to ‘bounce back’. We have 30,000 small businesses in Norfolk and they are the key to our economic recovery

3.  Third, innovative approaches to get reinvestment and new energy into our High Streets and Town Centres which have been so badly damaged

4.  Fourth, new thinking on how we can ‘Build Back Better’ and capture the public desire for healthier and cleaner living and working. Norfolk’s economic revival must be based around less commuting, congestion, pollution and more people able to work from or closer to home and work smarter and healthier.  
 

If we get this right, the post-Covid Recovery is an opportunity to embrace an ambitious vision for Norfolk, as I set out in my recent article in the EDP: https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/unleash-norfolk-as-a-science-and-innovation-county-7565404

But this won’t just happen. It will need vision, leadership and partnership working. That’s why I’m working on a number of local projects to support this: the Norfolk Way project to promote Rural Enterprise; the Norfolk Enterprise Festival to bring our high growth small business leaders together to create new opportunities; and the Restart Project with the New Anglia LEP to set out a MicroBusiness Manifesto and a Norfolk Routemap to Net Zero plan for healthier growth.
 
The end of the Pandemic may be drawing near. But we then need to embark on a big bold Recovery Plan. In Norfolk, of Norfolk and by Norfolk. 

This is an historic moment. Together we can rebuild the County we all love. Future generations will not forgive us if we fail.

 

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Step 1 - 8 March

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Step 1 - 29 March

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Step 2 - No earlier than 12 April

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Step 3 - No earlier than 17 May

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Step 4 - No earlier than 21 June

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