After the heart-breaking penalty loss to Italy in the Euros final, I wanted to start by thanking Gareth Southgate and the entire England squad for their incredible efforts – they’ve really lifted the nation after such a tough 18 months and given us some brilliant moments. I have loved watching the games, cheering along in Savannah in Haywards Heath and up at HHRFC. The team are superb role models and it’s been great to see the passion and pride they have for representing our country. Now, let’s look forward to hopefully another brilliant Olympic and Paralympic Games for Team GB shortly.
The PM and Health Secretary confirmed we will be lifting the final restrictions in England on July 19th. However, the ending of these Covid rules doesn’t mean the pandemic is fully over, and we should all continue to use our good sense and be responsible in protecting ourselves and those vulnerable in the weeks and months ahead as we learn to live with this virus.
It was also confirmed that, from July 19th, everyone who is fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when arriving back from an amber list country, while the Government will also stop advising against travel to countries on this list. Seeing our aviation and travel sector recover and Gatwick return towards its pre-pandemic levels is vital to our local businesses and employment, so this is really positive news!
Another local boost is the potential new Center Parcs UK in the Mid Sussex area - it will need a vigorous planning process but the potential £350 million investment and possible new local jobs boosting our tourism is a hugely exciting prospect.
Last week marked a year since we launched our Plan For Jobs – our ambitious plan to help people back into work, earn more and upskill. This has been one of my main focuses as Minister for Employment at DWP, and I am so proud to see our plan is working, with unemployment much lower than previously forecast and lower than in other countries, job vacancies and employment growing, and household incomes protected.
Finally, Homes England is working with WSCC as the local education authority to create a free school for children aged 4 -16 - run on two separate sites within the new Northern Arc development - primary and secondary but by the same school sponsor, as well as providing funding and land to WSCC. Please have your say on the plans which will reduce pressure on the demand for secondary places in Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Hassocks. The consultation is open to everyone and WSCC would especially like to hear from local families, children and teachers. The consultation runs to 26 July at: www.westsussex.gov.uk/burgesshill