Bexley placed in Tier 2

Bexley Borough has been placed into Tier 2, along with the rest of Greater London, under the Government’s COVID-19 local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December.

For further information what you can and cannot do in each tier, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

Evennett backs Chancellor’s package to deal with economic emergency

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has strongly endorsed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spending Review 2020, which aims to deliver on the peoples’ priorities. “The emphasis on jobs, infrastructure and economic growth, as well as more money for schools, hospitals and safer streets will be welcomed across the country”, Sir David stated.

The freeze on public sector pay and the reduction in the Aid Budget from 0.7% to 0.5% will be a disappointment to many, but is necessary in these unprecedented times, especially when so many people in the private sector are losing their jobs and experiencing reduced incomes. The increase in money for NHS workers and the increase in the minimum wage were “good news in these difficult financial and economic times.”

Sir David commented “we are still experiencing a severe health emergency because of COVID 19 and we are also facing a domestic economic emergency. As the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said, we need to prioritise domestic issues and sticking to the aid pledge at this time is difficult to justify to the British people as we are the second highest aid donor in the G7 – higher than the USA, Japan, France and Canada.”

“Protecting peoples lives and livelihoods must be the top priority. Our Government will spend over £280 billion in response to the consequences of coronavirus pandemic and is determined to beat the virus and restore our economic health.”

Evennett urges support for the hospitality sector

Yesterday (23 November), in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister (PM) delivered a statement on the Government’s COVID-19 winter plan. He announced that from 2 December the Government will reintroduce a localised system, based on strengthened tiers.

A number of changes will be made to the previous tiered system, including the 10pm closing time for hospitality, which will be modified to last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm. This allows customers to depart in a staggered way and provides greater flexibility.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, participated in the debate following the PM’s statement. He asked a virtual question in the House of Commons, where he highlighted the importance of the hospitality sector to local economies. He asked:

© Parliamentary Recording Unit

“Families and businesses in Bexleyheath and Crayford will share my strong support for my right hon. Friend’s statement and approach today. However, we have a thriving hospitality sector that has particularly suffered this year because of the necessary restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus. While safety remains the top priority, does my right hon. Friend agree that the hospitality sector is the backbone of our local town centres, and it is vital we continue to provide it with the support it needs to help them survive and to protect jobs?”

The PM responded:

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“Indeed, and I have been with my right hon. Friend to many a fantastic hospitality venue in Bexley. I seem to remember going with him to one pub where he christened a blue drink: the Bexley Breeze Block I think it was, from memory. Let us hope that we are able to get the hospitality sector going across the country in the way that we would all want so that those fantastic businesses can recover strongly in the new year. We are going to do that by the techniques that I have mentioned—tough tiering, mass testing and rolling out a vaccine.”

Prime Minister’s Statement on the Integrated Review

Earlier today (19 November), the Prime Minister (PM) gave a Statement to the House of Commons to give an update on the Government’s Integrated Review of foreign, defence, security and development policy.

The Integrated Review is the largest of its kind ever undertaken – covering not only defence but also our foreign policy and security. The PM advised the Government will make the largest investment in our nation’s defence since the end of the Cold War. Over the next four years the Government will invest an additional £24.1 billion. This will help create 10,000 new jobs a year, revitalise British shipbuilding and ensure that the United Kingdom is a global, outward-looking nation now we have left the European Union.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, warmly welcomed the measures in the House of Commons chamber, and asked the PM:

I strongly welcome and support my right hon. Friend’s statement. We live in difficult times, but, as he states, the defence of the realm must always remain a top priority. The announcement will be warmly welcomed by so many British businesses who rely heavily on our defence industry. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that this will safeguard jobs, helping us to build back and level up opportunity across our nation?

The PM responded:

My right hon. Friend is completely right. We will use this defence package and spending review not just to modernise and update our armed forces in a truly revolutionary way but to drive jobs across the whole of the UK. It is a very exciting prospect.

Evennett welcomes funding for local charities

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has warmly welcomed the funding being given to local charities in his constituency from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. 12 charities in the Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency have so far received £173,129.

Sir David commented: “this is really good news for these local charities in difficult times and is a welcome decision by the Government. In a year of unprecedented disruption, we have relied upon our charities more than ever. These charities do so much excellent work across our community and this assistance will help them continue their good work”.

The charities that have received funding via the Coronavirus Community Support Fund are:
• Irish Community Services (£9,590)
• Bexley Deaf Group (£9,190)
• Bexley Mencap (£9,200)
• Isolation Help Bexley (£4,230)
• Dorcas Foundation (£9,720)
• Bexley Voluntary Service Council Limited (£7,819)
• Golapganj Upazila Social Trust (UK) (£8,000)
• Centrepieces CIO (£9,790)
• Way4ward Solutions CIC (£9,800)
• Bexley Snap (£10,000)
• Bexley Accessible Transport Scheme (£60,000)
• Bexley Moorings Project (£25,790)

Evennett welcomes funding to save theatres, arts venues, museums and cultural organisations across England

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has warmly welcomed the news that over 1,300 arts and cultural organisations will be able to benefit from a share of £257million as part of a vital financial boost from the Government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, announced the funding, which will save 1,385 theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and local venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure they have a sustainable future. It is the biggest tranche of funding distributed to date from the Culture Recovery Fund. Mr Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country – from the Beamish museum in County Durham to the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Bristol Old Vic. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly”.

Aimed at cultural organisations with key national and local significance, the funding will boost iconic venues known around the world, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and Liverpool’s Cavern Club, as well as hundreds of smaller organisations at the heart of communities across the country.

Earlier today (12 October) in Parliament, Sir David showed his support for the funding and attended a briefing. He commented: “I am delighted the Government is providing further support for the arts and culture at this difficult time for our nation. These organisations play a vital role in our economy and bring such joy to people’s lives. The funding will help allow performances to restart, venues to plan for their reopening and it will continue to protect jobs”.

Prime Minister dynamic, upbeat and enthusiastic in Conference speech

Speaking at the 2020 virtual Conservative Party Conference earlier today, the Prime Minister (PM), Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, laid out the vision of a post-Covid UK.

In the keynote speech, the PM highlighted the Governments plans to:

  • Build a greener economy and becoming the world leader in low cost clean power generation.
  • Build more homes without destroying the green belt, and giving young first time buyers the chance to take out a long-term fixed rate mortgage of up to 95 per cent of the value of the home.
  • Build more hospitals and invest in schools, so public services have the tools they need to give everyone the opportunity to get on.
  • Transform the provision of skills with a new Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, branded the speech as “brilliant, upbeat and enthusiastic”. He commented: “2020 has been a tough year but the Government is doing all it can to tackle this terrible virus. We are now looking forward to a bright future and the Government will take this opportunity to transform our country and build back better. I welcome the measures highlighted by our Prime Minister today, including delivering on our promises to the NHS, improving home ownership, tackling crime, a greener economy, job creation and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee”.

Evennett welcomes Government investment in lifetime skills and post-16 education

Yesterday afternoon (1 October) in the House of Commons, the Education Secretary, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, set out further details on the Government’s plans for the lifetime skills guarantee and post-16 education.

The lifetime skills guarantee will provide adults in England without an A-Level or equivalent qualifications from April the opportunity to take up a free, fully funded college course. Alongside this, the Government is also making higher education loans more flexible, allowing people to space out their study across their lifetimes and take more high-quality vocational courses. The Education Secretary commented that the lifetime skills guarantee “will help people to retrain and upskill” and that “This will be the backbone of our covid recovery and will enable us to come back stronger and build back better.” The Government is also providing support for employers to continue to take on apprentices, such as by making it easier for larger employers to transfer their unused levy funds to smaller employers.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has welcomed the announcements from the Government. He commented: “as a former teacher and Further Education lecturer myself, I am passionate about providing people the opportunities they need to develop their skills at every stage of their lives and to improve social mobility. Despite the difficulties of recent months due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, this Conservative Government is delivering on the promise to level up opportunity across the country.”

On Tuesday (29 September), Sir David also spoke in the House of Commons in the Statement on ‘Students’ Return to Universities’, where he highlighted how education is essential for opportunity and social mobility, and that the role of further education colleges is absolutely vital.

Evennett backs Government’s plans to radically overhaul sentencing

Today (16 September), the Justice Secretary has set out the Government’s plans to radically overhaul sentencing, crack down on crime and protect the public by ensuring dangerous criminals are kept in prison for longer.

The White Paper, ‘A Smarter Approach to Sentencing’ delivers on the Conservative Party manifesto commitment to reform the sentencing and release framework in England and Wales. Under the proposals, prisoners serving four to seven years would no longer be eligible for release half-way through their sentences and would instead have to serve two thirds. Prisoners convicted of terrorism offences or who pose a wide danger to the public would not be automatically released, while community punishments, including 20 hour a day curfews and satellite monitoring, for convicted burglars are among other measures.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has expressed his strong support for the Government’s plans. He commented: “This Government’s top priority is protecting the public. These sensible proposals announced today will see the most serious offenders serving the time in prison they deserve, with new community interventions and changes to the rules around criminal records to help with rehabilitation and reduce reoffending.”

The White Paper can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-smarter-approach-to-sentencing