Time flies! It feels like we were saying goodbye to 2020 only a few days ago, and yet here we are, already in February. Time to perhaps start thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts for loved ones and, excitingly, making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday - for those home-schooling, cooking some pancakes will be a welcome relief. It’s been a long month for many, and the promise of spring brings with it increased hope and optimism.
The new month has already brought some positive news, with confirmation the UK is applying to join the CPTPP – a free trade area which is made up of 11 Asia and Pacific nations and states, including our Commonwealth friends Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore. This is one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, with some of the fastest-growing markets. If we joined, it would cut tariffs for UK industries and businesses, creating opportunities for companies to expand into new markets, creating new high-value jobs across the UK. This is another example of the exciting times ahead for Britain.
I wanted to mention the Kickstart Scheme’s success and how proud I am, as the Minister who led on this programme. Over 100,000 new jobs have already been created for 16-24 years olds across the UK and this will only continue to rise. One of my motivations for getting into politics was to help young people progress, so I’m delighted to see this early success. I again encourage employers across Mid Sussex to get involved in this scheme - referrals run until December 2021.
My office was recently alerted by the Sussex Rural Crime Partnership and Sussex Community Resilience Partnership about the increasing rise in dog thefts reported. As a dog owner, I find this completely upsetting and shocking, and I’ve had people writing to me worried for their dog’s safety – they aren’t just pets, they’re truly part of the family. I have already spoken to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne about this worrying situation. The best course of action is to keep your dogs on their leads where possible and don’t leave them unsupervised in the garden. If you are a victim of this terrible crime, please report it immediately to 999. The RSPCA recommend you contact your vet, or micro chipping company, immediately also.
As of writing, over 9 million people have had their first Covid-19 jab. Following my most recent rollout meetings, I can confirm we’re still on track locally to vaccinate the top four priority groups by 15th February. Letters inviting over 70s to receive their vaccinations have started to be distributed and I encourage everyone in Mid Sussex to receive your jab when it is offered. For latest info: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/vaccine-roll-out-mid-sussex-latest-details