Here's your latest edition of Denton and Reddish Weekly News.
As you will have heard, we are now in a second national lockdown. The rules are a bit different this time though, so it's worth checking out the Government's official guidance to find out what you can and can't do:
New restrictions from 5 November ([link removed])
Take care and stay safe.
** A second national lockdown
This week Parliament has been asked to approve measures for a new national lockdown. None of us want to have to impose these kinds of measures, but unfortunately the spread of the virus leaves us with no better options.
Already local hospitals in Greater Manchester, including Stepping Hill and Tameside, are at or close to ICU bed capacity and if left unchecked some hospitals may very well need to start restricting some routine operations and treatments to release ordinary bed capacity too. That would be utterly disastrous for people who need treatment – many who had their treatments postponed in the spring, too. We cannot allow our NHS to be overwhelmed.
There’s a two week delay from transmission to hospitalisation and so we know the likely impact the latest data will have on the health system in a fortnight, and it’s grim.
The present trajectories suggest the NHS across England (in Greater Manchester we are already close to this point) will be unable to accept any more patients by Christmas. The doubling rate means we can’t outrun this unless there’s a serious intervention to halt or slow transmission. We cannot double NHS capacity every ten to 14 days, and we also have to factor in that a lot of NHS staff will fall ill themselves.
In addition to this massive public health challenge, we also face an equally daunting economic challenge. I take this extremely seriously, and that’s why in recent weeks I’ve opposed measures that have hurt businesses – especially those who, at some expense, made themselves COVID-secure. I’ve also been pushing for an extension of the furlough scheme at 80%, which is why I fully supported Andy Burnham in his battle with Ministers.
On top of this, there’s a mental health challenge to lockdown – which I certainly do not underestimate – and real concerns about civil liberties. We certainly have to guard against an overbearing State thinking some of these measures can become the ‘norm’ once the pandemic is defeated.
Finally, here in Tameside we have a real COVID-weariness – I fully understand this, because I’m feeling it too. We have been under different forms of local restrictions now for 14 weeks and they just haven’t worked.
All of these considerations make the decision to lockdown extremely difficult, but ultimately I believe it to be the right one – the problem of NHS capacity cannot be understated. We are already at capacity in Tameside and neighbouring areas are at or close to capacity too. I am therefore supporting the measures, but we need economic support to continue, we need the Government to fix Test and Trace, we need a clear exit strategy and – longer term – we need a national conversation on how NHS capacity was allowed to be run down so much over the last decade.
NOTE: This was written before the lockdown measures were approved on Wednesday
** Gwynne pledges support for compulsory cat microchipping campaign
Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, joined an online event to pledge support for Cats Protection’s campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats.
Gwynne joined a virtual drop-in event on 20 October to discuss how the measure could significantly improve feline welfare in the UK.
Cats Protection, the UK’s largest cat charity, is calling for microchipping to become compulsory for pet cats, as it already is for dogs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cats Protection hosted its microchipping discussion online to update politicians on its campaign.
Microchipping is a safe, permanent and cost-effective method of identification which ensures cats can be reunited with their owner should they go missing. It means lost cats are not mistaken as strays and taken in by rehoming charities.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I’m delighted to support Cats Protection’s campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats.
“This would be in line with legislation for dogs and would make a real difference.
“Ensuring all pet cats are microchipped would be an important step in improving the welfare of one of the nation’s best-loved pets.”
Jacqui Cuff, Head of Advocacy & Government Relations at Cats Protection, said:
“Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership, and ensuring it is compulsory for cats would give them the same protection as dogs.
“We were delighted to welcome so many politicians online to discuss this important animal welfare issue, and look forward to working together in the future.”
Cat lovers can back Cats Protection’s campaign for compulsory microchipping of owned cats by signing its petition at www.cats.org.uk/microchippingpetition
** Building Back Better, Properly
You may have seen some of the Prime Minister’s speech at the recent virtual Conservative Party conference. Behind him on the backdrop were the words “Build Back Better”, which may have reminded you of our own city region mayor Andy Burnham’s slogan “Build Back Better” from the start of the crisis or US presidential candidate Joe Biden’s election slogan “Build Back Better”.
Regardless of the fact that the PM has pinched the slogan, I’m glad that he and so many others have come to the conclusion that “building back better” is what we need to do. This crisis will have done a lot of damage and we will need to rebuild. But we need to do more than just put things back to the way things were – we need to come up with something even better.
And right at the very heart of how we do this must be community. We need to make sure that any rebuilding is done with communities in mind. That means consulting people and getting involved, helping one another as so many have during this crisis.
It also means tackling inequalities. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the gap between rich and poor open in many ways during this crisis, and it was already wide enough. We need to rebuild in a way that gives people more of a fair chance. There’s a lot of talk of the north-south divide, but something similar exists even within Stockport borough – and indeed within the relatively small area served by this fantastic paper.
So yes – let’s build back better. But it needs to be more than a slogan – it needs to mean real positive change, involve communities and result in a fairer society.
Read More of This Week's Stories ([link removed])
Andrew in the constituency
** 🏆 LOCAL BUSINESS AWARDS 🏆
Congratulations to all local businesses nominated so far for my awards. As they face another difficult lockdown, show your appreciation to our excellent businesses across Audenshaw, Denton, Dukinfield, Reddish & the Heatons: [link removed]
🏆CITIZENS’ AWARDS - Sue Doyle & Pat Quinn
Well done Dane Bank resident Sue & Reddish resident Pat, who’ve retired from Friends of Horses Field Committee which they’ve served on since the 1990s. And delight after their battle to have the Field added to Greenbelt has succeeded!
❄️ Thanks to everybody who sent their wintry photos to me. My Christmas card is now being printed, and the theme is “Stockport snowscapes” from Reddish and the Heatons. ⛄
Thanks to Paul Howarth, Cllr David Wilson, Paul Lacey, Stephen Hinds and Noel Henry for the photos.
Andrew in Parliament
Here are videos of some of my contributions in the House of Commons this week:
📺 WATCH: Around 2,000 airport-related jobs are at risk at Manchester because of COVID decimating travel.
I ask the Minister to consider business rate support for Britain’s airports. He seems to think the limited funding given to Councils to run local services can cover this. I’m speechless!
📺 WATCH: This morning we have an urgent question on end of life care. I’m torn on the subject of assisted suicide but what I do know is the current end of life care and support just isn’t good enough in too many parts of England.
I firmly believe we need a review into palliative and end of life care alongside improving support for families going through extremely difficult times.
📺 WATCH: As the UK alert level is raised to ‘severe’ by the security services, and after too many years of funding cuts, I urge the Minister to consider using the upcoming Spending Review to properly fund counter-terrorism policing and security in the UK.
Andrew in the media
📻 LISTEN: On Wednesday afternoon, I was the guest on the LBC News PMQ’s panel, where we mainly discussed COVID measures.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Next Sunday we are going to have to pay our respects differently:
• Join in the 2 minute silence at 11am on Remembrance Sunday on your doorstep.
• Display a Poppy window poster - you can download one from the Royal British Legion website ([link removed]) .
For the first time, the charity Children's Hospital Pyjamas is collecting donations of children's pyjamas in Greater Manchester.
These will go to Tameside Hospital, Stepping Hill Hospital and MRI Hospital for Children.
You can find out more, including how to donate, here. ([link removed])
Our mailing address is:
139 St Annes Road
Manchester, Greater Manchester M34 3DY
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Andrew Gwynne . 139 St Annes Road . Denton . Manchester, Greater Manchester M34 3DY . United Kingdom
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