Evennett welcomes “constructive and comprehensive” Queen’s Speech

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Yesterday (12 May) in Parliament the Queen outlined the government’s priorities for the year ahead, as she officially reopened Parliament.

The new legislative programme is focused on supporting the nation’s recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Among the 30 new laws announced were:

  • Legislation to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens our borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys by migrants across the English Channel.
  • The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to accelerate the rollout of 5G mobile and gigabit broadband.
  • Improvements to animal welfare, including banning the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, mandatory microchipping for cats, and recognising animal sentience.
  • Repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, in order to reinstate the constitutional principle that the Government of the day has the confidence of Parliament and is able to seek a fresh democratic mandate when it is needed.
  • A Skills and Post-16 Education Bill to transform access to skills across the country, ensuring that people can train and retrain at any stage in their lives, supporting them to move into higher quality, higher skilled jobs and equipping the workforce with the skills employers need.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, watched the Queen’s Speech from the Special Gallery in Parliament before speaking in the House of Commons Chamber during the Debate on the Address.

He welcomed the “constructive and comprehensive” approach the Government is taking, and primarily focused on the measures for education, especially on skills and post-16 training and education, and ending fixed-term Parliaments. In particular, he strongly supported the skills revolution to “support the nation’s recovery from the ongoing pandemic, while building on the progress made so far to level up the country and ensure equal opportunities for all people, wherever they live”.

Sir David concluded by commenting that: “The issues people are concerned about are being dealt with in this Queen’s Speech, and it will pave the way for us to build back better, putting jobs, skills and businesses at the heart of our recovery. It is the way forward. I commend the Queen’s Speech”.

Tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Yesterday (12 April), the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, invited Members of Parliament that were unable to unable to make a tribute in the Commons Chamber to send in their personal messages in tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Owing to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, Books of Condolence will not be available in the normal way. In these wholly exceptional circumstances, these tributes will be presented to the Palace at the appropriate point together with a record of the tributes made in the Chamber.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, contributed to this, with his message reading:

I pay tribute to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was an exceptional man and spent a lifetime serving our country and working tirelessly for so many good causes. I have been privileged to meet Prince Philip on a number of occasions, including when he visited Crayford. I was always impressed by his enthusiasm, knowledge and his interest in people, the environment and the events he attended. RIP Prince Philip.

Evennett praises ‘measured, sensible and constructive’ Budget

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, hailed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget as “measured, sensible and constructive” in the House of Commons yesterday (3 March).

As part of the Government’s commitments to fund the nation’s priorities, the Budget confirmed:

  • A continuation of the temporary Universal Credit uplift for a further six months.
  • New support for providing young people with new skills, including doubling the incentive payment to SMEs to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, and £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
  • An extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of September, ensuring it continues to support employers as they begin to reopen. Two further grants will also be available to self-employed people – and the newly self-employed will also be eligible for both grants.
  • New Recovery Loans and a new Restart grant of up to £18,000 to help businesses as they reopen. Support for the sports, arts and culture sectors will also be increased by a further £700 million as they begin to reopen.
  • Extending the business rates holiday and providing a VAT cut for businesses in hospitality and tourism.
  • A new Help to Grow scheme to boost productivity of small businesses, to ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training.

Sir David participated in the Budget debate virtually and highlighted the support the Chancellor is providing and that “although so many challenges for businesses still remain, this is undoubtedly a Budget for business and getting the economy back on track”. He concluded that “The Budget provides us all with hope for the future and allows us to begin to get the economy moving again”.

Evennett backs PM’s roadmap and highlights support for businesses

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, spoke virtually in the House of Commons debate yesterday (23 February) on Supporting Businesses and Individuals.

Sir David began his speech by welcoming the roadmap that will guide us cautiously towards reclaiming our freedoms, whilst continuing to do everything possible to protect people against COVID-19. He called the plan “a measured, sensible and constructive approach”, and praised the much-needed clarity it provides for businesses going forward.

He then highlighted the support the Government has provided over the last year to support individuals and businesses experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic. The Government has implemented one of the most generous and effective support packages in the work, amounting to approximately £280 billion, and the furlough scheme alone is being used by 1.2 million businesses and has saved almost 10 million jobs.

Sir David did express concerns for the hospitality sector but concluded that “we are all looking forward to the summer when we can enjoy hospitality, tourism, pubs and social opportunities, of which there are so many across my borough of Bexley”.

Evennett welcomes Government’s support for schools but raises concerns about social mobility during lockdown

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Yesterday evening (18 January), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, participated virtually in the House of Commons debate on Remote Education and Free School Meals. During his speech, he praised the incredibly hard work of the teachers and support staff across Bexley Borough that have continued to work throughout the ongoing pandemic, and acknowledged that, “Teaching today is more difficult than ever before”.

Whilst Sir David did express some concerns about the temporary closure of schools and remote learning, such as the lack of physical and social interaction, the impact on mental health, the effects of increased screen time, and social mobility, he did acknowledge that it was, “regrettable but necessary”.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has worked to give every child access to the world class education that they deserve. Sir David highlighted the many achievements of the Government in this respect, including the purchase of 1.3 million laptops and tablets for those most in need, delivering 54,000 4G routers to schools and colleges and strengthening the minimum standards for remote learning and introducing binding requirements for schools to deliver high-quality remote education.

Evennett praises hard work of Bexley Council and local NHS

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Yesterday (6 January), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, spoke in the debate on Public Health in the House of Commons. Sir David joined the debate virtually via Zoom, and used his speech to “pay tribute to Bexley Council for all its tremendous work, to all NHS staff across south-east London, who have worked for so long and so hard during the national crisis, and to the community workers who have done such great service across my borough in helping the most vulnerable” throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Sir David also expressed concerns for mental health, particularly for those living in overcrowded homes and in small houses, for those living alone, the elderly and the disabled, as well as the educational consequences due to the closure of schools. However, whilst the restrictions are regrettable, they are necessary given the increased number of COVID-19 infections, and he recognised that the “crisis needs strong action and restrictions are necessary to safeguard the vulnerable, and, with the vaccination, to help beat the coronavirus”.

The Government will use this lockdown to ramp up the vaccination programme, and over 1.3million people across the UK are now vaccinated, including almost one in four people aged over 80. Furthermore, by 15 February, the NHS is committed to offering a vaccination to everyone in the top four priority groups – over 13 million people. GP surgeries across England starting to roll out the vaccine from today, and Sir David urged the Health Secretary to cut red-tape to increase the vaccine roll-out to allow the opportunity for retired GPs, nurses and pharmacists to assist in the delivery of the mass vaccination programme.

David Evennett and Bexley Conservatives supporting local pubs, sports and social clubs this winter

Bexley Council with funding support from the government has announced further Covid-19 support packages for local businesses across Bexleyheath and Crayford.

These new grant schemes include a special winter support package of just under £1 million being made available for local independent pubs, bars and licensed sports and social clubs. We are currently not aware of any other boroughs stepping up to support local pubs and clubs in this way, highlighting again that Bexley Conservatives back local businesses and these important community assets.

Rt. Hon. Sir David Evennett MP for Bexleyheath & Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Business Engagement said: “I am delighted that with the support of government and the local Council, we are able to support many local businesses with this latest round of funding. Local pubs and clubs are at the heart of our local communities and they need our help this winter so that we all have great places to socialise again once we have beaten this pandemic”.

Councillor Louie French, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Growth said: “We are pleased to be able to open three further sources of funding schemes for small and micro businesses who don’t qualify for other funding (such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant) and for those hit hardest by Covid.”

“We are particularly keen to support the leisure and hospitality sector, especially independent pubs, bars and licenced sports and social clubs that are so important to our town centres and local communities. If you think you may be eligible for any of these grants, please act quickly and apply via our website, taking care to provide full and accurate information.”

The Bexley ARG scheme comprises four grants for specific categories of business: non-ratepayer businesses closed due to the recent national lockdown; businesses indirectly impacted by lockdown closures; one-person businesses who can demonstrate significant hardship as a result of Covid19 and a top-up support package for independent pubs, bars and licenced sports and social clubs.

Eligible businesses could receive a grant between £1000 and £14000 depending on the type and size of the business.

Applicants for all grants must have a trading address in Bexley and will need to provide evidence to show that their business income has dropped significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grants will be awarded to eligible businesses or organisations on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Due to the expected volume of applications, the Council will not be contacting unsuccessful applicants. You can find information on all the grants and business available online Guidance and support for businesses during Coronavirus | London Borough of Bexley.