I welcome the contents of this year’s Spring Statement – announced by the chancellor on 23rd March 2022.
We have been facing an unavoidable increase in the cost of living in the UK. The Covid pandemic and other global factors have seen energy and fuel prices going up- and Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has only added to these pressures and has continued to push inflation upwards.
The Government has taken steps over the last few months to help mitigate the impacts of rising prices, and I strongly welcome the Spring Statement’s announcement of further measures to help households
The chancellor announced the following measures:
- A 5p cut in fuel duty, effective immediately for the next 12 months until March 2023.
- Doubling household support fund to £1billion- to help the most vulnerable with rising costs.
- Increasing the National Insurance Threshold to from £9,500 to £12,570 per year – a tax cut for employees worth over £330 per year.
- 50% discount on business rates bill for small businesses.
- Increasing the employment allowance for small businesses to £5,000- a tax cut worth up to £1,000 for half a million small businesses.
- From 2024- basic rate of income tax will be cut from 20% to 19%.
For more information about the Chancellor’s announcement, click here.
It has been 6 weeks since Putin started his unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine. I am pleased that our Government has been at the forefront of the international response.
The Prime Minister met with NATO and G7 leaders in Brussels to discuss military, diplomatic and humanitarian support for Ukraine, and strengthening measures against Russia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab also met with ministers from across the world at the Hague to offer the UK’s support to the International Criminal Court and reinforce the ICC’s investigation into potential war crimes in Ukraine.
The UK’s sanctions on Russia have gone further, with over 1000 sanctions introduced since Putin’s invasion started. I am pleased that the Foreign Secretary announced new sanctions on Russian propagandists and state media- in order to target Putin’s deceitful propaganda and misinformation campaign.
We must do everything we can to continue to support Ukraine- and keep putting pressure on Putin through sanctions. I will continue to push the Government to ensure they do all they can, alongside our international allies to ensure Putin fails, and sovereignty and peace in Ukraine is restored.
Refugees in Essex
It is fantastic news that almost 400 people have become sponsors in the Essex County Council Area- and have matched with 597 Ukrainians. I admire the generosity of the people of Essex- for opening their homes to Ukrainians who are being forced to flee theirs.
I am pleased that Essex County Council will be supporting Ukrainian families and their sponsors to help them settle into their new communities. For example, they are working closely with schools to ensure that all children are placed into schools within a reasonable distance of their homes.
The Ukraine Family Scheme allows Ukrainian citizens with family in the UK to come over and stay in the country for 3 years. As of last week, 20 thousand visas have been granted- and the Home Office is continuing to work quickly to grant as many as possible.
To apply for the Ukrainian Family Scheme, applicants must visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-ukraine-family-scheme-visa
Homes for Ukraine
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is for Ukrainian citizens who do not have family in the UK, finding a home for them in the UK via a sponsor.
I have felt heartened by the messages I have received from constituents in the last few weeks, offering to accommodate displaced Ukrainian families in their homes in Maldon.
If you have a named person who you wish to sponsor you should get in contact with them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all their details and yours. For more information, please visit:
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
This week I represented UK Parliament at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Bureau meeting in Copenhagen. The meeting of parliamentary delegates from over the world saw united condemnation of Russian war crimes, and strong support for Ukraine.
I was able to talk to Artur Gerasymov – the MP leading the Ukrainian delegation, and I assured him that the UK was in the forefront of supplying weapons, providing humanitarian aid and imposing sanctions on Russia.
Annual Session in Birmingham
It is excellent news that the UK will be hosting the Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly this summer.
As Leader of UK Delegation, I am looking forward to hosting Parliamentarians from the 57 member states of the PA in Birmingham in July.
Remaining travel restrictions lifted
I am pleased that the remaining international travel restrictions were lifted on the 18th March- seeing the end of:
- Passenger locator forms for arrivals into the UK
- Pre-departure tests and day 2 post-arrival tests for unvaccinated passengers
- Any remaining hotel quarantine capacity
It is great news that we can remove these final restrictions, due to the incredible success of our vaccination programme.
Covid-19 is more serious in older people, and those with a weakened immune system. Protection from the vaccine may be lower and may decline more quickly in these groups. It is because of this that I am pleased the NHS is now offering over 75s and the most vulnerable, a spring booster dose to top up their protection against the virus.
If you are eligible, the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn. Please take up the offer as soon as you can.
My office responded to over 550 emails in March- and helped with over 100 cases for my constituents.
I am continuing to hold advice surgeries and encourage constituents to come along should they wish to raise an issue with me.
For more information and to book your place, please call 01621 855663 or email email@example.com