Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown speaks in Covid-19 debate

12th January 2021

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown praises the work of everyone involved in delivering the vaccine and raises constituents’ concerns about education calling for clarity from the Government for schools, pupils and parents.

 

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)

There was a time when I did not think that I was going to get on, but I am back, so thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.
 
The first vaccine dose has now been supplied to more than 2.2 million people. That is larger than the whole of the rest of Europe put together—a brilliant start to this huge programme to vaccinate a significant proportion of the United Kingdom’s people. I thank our healthcare workers in Gloucestershire, who have been working very hard since Christmas to meet the four priority groups by mid-February. I understand that most care home residents and workers will be vaccinated by the end of this week—a fantastic achievement.
 
We must make a comprehensive plan this year for our schools. I received a number of detailed questions from my constituents on the curriculum to be adopted. For example, is Ofqual considering the idea of grades being announced earlier this year to provide certainty and time if needed to appeal the grades? Will some form of mini-exam or coursework on the content learned be expected to help in grading accurately? What will be the plan for students who do not take normal exams, for example, those on apprenticeships, or the new T-levels being trialled at Cirencester College? We now have enough information to make those decisions. We should make them and adhere to them. Clarity must be provided for schools, parents and pupils, with all Government communications and websites being clear and not contradictory.
 
The vaccine programme has the makings of being a great British success, as we build on a strong medical manufacturing base in future. We are now world leaders in the new ribonucleic acid technology, which should enable vaccines to be made for not just covid but a wide range of viruses. From yesterday’s Public Accounts Committee session on the vaccine programme, the immense skill and knowledge of Kate Bingham and her taskforce were well and truly apparent. When they started their work in May they were not sure whether they would be able to develop a vaccine, let alone where it would come from. Yet the vaccine trial has now been successfully launched, with 267 million doses contracted from five companies at a cost of £2.9 billion. It is an amazing achievement.
 
The strong message of recovery now needs to come from the Government, encouraging everyone to take up the vaccination so that we can enable individuals, schools, hospitals and, above all, businesses to have a well-overdue return to normal life.
 

PUBLIC MEETING

THE COTSWOLDS
FLOOD RESILIENCE

An opportunity for residents of Bledington, South Cerney, Cerney Wick, Siddington, Cirencester, Fairford, Lechlade and Moreton-in-Marsh to hear and ask questions of the continued flood resilience work taking place and to speak with officials from the County and District Councils, Parish Council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency about ongoing issues.  

PUBLIC MEETING

 Friday 5 March 2021
1030-1245

VIA ZOOM ONLY

Please email Bettertonj@parliament.uk if you wish to participate in the call and also include any questions or concerns you would like to have discussed.  I will then forward the Zoom invitation.

Coronavirus - COVID-19

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For the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus pandemic visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For the latest medical advice visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

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Planning White Papers

I have submitted my responses to the two planning consultations: “Changes to the current planning system’ and “Planning for the future’.

These planning changes are one of the most significant events to affect the Cotswolds since WWII. I think that both papers contain positive proposals, in our case commitments to protect the AONB. The proposal to abolition Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should speed up the planning process and it is important that the money is retained locally so that the infrastructure can be built at the same time as the development. 

Too often we see a development being built long before the supporting infrastructure, which I know can cause significant issues for existing residents. The proposals to simplify and speed up local plan-making and retaining neighbourhood plans where possible are welcome, in that design codes can be specified so it should be possible to protect our unique Cotswolds vernacular.   

I spoke in the planning backbench business debate on the 8 October and called for a change to the algorithm the Government uses in its planning White Paper which fails to take account of local variations and concentrates all new house building in the south-east and central south of England. 

Read more

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