Alicia Kearns MP for Rutland discusses Covid-19 vaccinations in latest column
I am so delighted that this week I get to start my column by sharing that a quarter of adults in the United Kingdom are now fully vaccinated having received their second dose of the vaccine, writes Alicia Kearns MP for Rutland.
In Rutland and Melton, that means nearly 22,000 people have now received both doses, and over 61,000 have received at least one dose. It was a real privilege to visit our wonderful vaccination centre in Oakham a couple weeks ago, to see the incredible work being done by our heroic clinicians and volunteers. There’s such a buzz of relief and joy about the place, and I’m enormously grateful to everyone who has contributed to the vaccine programme being such a success locally.
Residents have been wonderful in supporting businesses across Rutland as they’ve reopened. That sort of community spirit is just what we need to jumpstart our local enterprises. For my part I’ve been working with our council to ensure that business grants can be paid out quickly to provide that extra help to really kickstart our recovery. I recognise too that farmers and food businesses have found this year particularly difficult, as one of their main markets - hospitality, has been significantly damaged. This week I launched a consultation on the UK’s Geographical Indication (GI) scheme. GIs are ways to recognise important, high quality foods that contribute to our local communities and support good local jobs. We are lucky in Rutland and Melton to have three such products: Rutland Bitter, Stilton Cheese and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies. By hearing from producers, retailers and you, the Government will be able to give the Government better ideas on how to promote our great British foods – and I’m sure there are more great Rutland foods waiting to secure recognition, perhaps the Rutland Pippin or another great product. You can have your say at gpfoods.inparliament.uk.
I also know many residents have written to me about Greetham Quarry. The potential disruption is of great concern to me. That’s why I am working with the council to find a solution, including the option of a potential relief road, in the coming months. Alongside this I’m also working with the deputy leader Lucy Stephenson (Con) to mitigate the impacts of the Manton bridge diversion especially on school safety and businesses.
I also want to update you on my campaign to ban LGBTQ+ so-called conversion therapy. I had the privilege of speaking alongside Stephen Fry and Dr Rowan Williams last week. As many of you will know, this is an abusive practice by which people are forced to change their sexual orientation and I hope to be successful and see a ban announced in the Queen’s Speech. The meeting was an important reminder, particularly in this week of elections, of how there is a great deal that unites us.
Let’s take that spirit of unity and common commitment forward as we recover from Covid-19. Rutlanders have already shown in their thousands the community spirit for which we are known. As we enter the summer, let’s take that feeling and make our re-opening as strong as possible after a very difficult year.