I’m sure people want to know other business than Covid-19 so I’ll keep my comments limited to reference to the businesssupport.org website that has all the information regarding what financial help is available and people are welcome to contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org. The self-employment support has increased but only for those who qualified last time. I’m pressing for a simple change to include businesses with a 2019/20 tax return rather than the 2018/19 criteria that exists at present. This would include a significant portion of the currently excluded.
Turning to the environment, figures suggest that fewer than one in six of our rivers are in good health. A major contributing factor is untreated sewage which is entering our rivers from the very treatment works whose purpose is to clean it up. Regulations and investment have not kept pace with changes in behaviour and pressure from development. To address this a Private Members Bill in the name of former Government Minister Philip Dunne, titled Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill, is to get a second reading in January and I’m one of many Conservative MPs backing this. To achieve the same end I’ve put my name to an amendment to the Environment Bill which places a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters. To find out more go to Cornish charity Surfers Against Sewage website and search EndSewagePollution-SewageBill.
The Government set an ambition in the 25 Year Environment Plan to improve at least three quarters of UK waters and return them to their natural state but, the latest assessment by the Environment Agency showed that just 16% of England’s rivers meet the criteria for ‘good ecological status’, unchanged from 2016.
Chairing the Brain Tumour All Party Parliamentary Group is both a great privilege and challenge as we work to support individuals and families who live with the trauma that comes with a brain tumour diagnosis. After years of very little progress it is remarkable how treatment and research has advanced in just a few years - partly due to years of work that came into sharp focus when Dame Tessa Jowell lost her life in May 2018. This week we met to further our efforts in relation to finding ways to provide better access to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding, reform DVLA rules regarding permission to drive to ensure regulations reflect advances in treatment and diagnosis (the tiniest indication of a tumour can result in a driving ban), support the International Brain Tumour Alliance Charter of Rights and press for clinical trials in UK for DIPG (a terminal brain cancer affecting children). More information can be found on the Brain Tumour APPG website.