The Prime Minister announced this week that we are past the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, but we must continue keeping apart for the foreseeable future.
The figures here in Lancashire show we are on a plateau and relaxing social distancing rules now could still see a further rise in infections.
It is vital we all stay home and stay safe to ensure infection figures fall. If they do not, we risk a second peak, a much-extended period of social distancing, and a longer wait to be with our loved ones.
I am very sorry to hear of the loss of one of the team members at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to Coronavirus.
Eleuterio “Boy’’ Gibela worked at the hospital for almost 20 years. It is clear he was well-respected and liked by everyone he met. My thoughts are with his family. Many of us have been singing the praises of doctors, nurses and paramedics throughout this pandemic, and rightly so; we must not forget all of the support staff in our hospitals and care homes who perform vital roles to support patients and residents.
I would ask everyone to continue shopping locally wherever possible to help the legion of small businesses in our towns and villages.
There are many operating delivery services to our front doors and I hope you use them wherever possible.
I’m pleased to see the Government announce Bounce Back loans for these businesses, which will give easier access to funding. These funds are 100 per cent guaranteed by Government. I wrote to the Chancellor asking for action after several businesses told me the banks were not lending the initial loans, guaranteed to 80 per cent, in the spirit of which they were intended.
Lastly, this week marks the tenth anniversary of my time as MP for Fylde. It has been and still is, an absolute privilege to serve residents and represent the area in Parliament.