Dominic Raab MP's September 2020 e-bulletin View this email in your browser ([link removed])
Dom Raab MP's September 2020 E-Bulletin
Locally this month, it was a pleasure to open Cobham Free School’s permanent site at Munro House – a big moment for the school, and great news for children in Cobham and across Elmbridge. I also caught up with the impressive work of Walton Charity, and visited small businesses in Hersham Village to hear about the challenges they have faced during Coronavirus.
In my role as Foreign Secretary, I set out how the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be delivering on the government’s vision of a truly Global Britain. I also held discussions with key UK partners in Washington D.C, and hosted my French and German counterparts for talks on foreign policy issues in common, from Hong Kong to Iran.
As residents will be aware, earlier this week the Prime Minister set out new measures to suppress Coronavirus. The new measures include asking those who can work from home to do so, and a 10pm limit on bars and restaurants. Full details can be found at GOV.UK/Coronavirus ([link removed]) . Following these measures, the Chancellor also set out the next phase of our planned economic response to Coronavirus.
Dom opening Cobham Free School's permanent site at Munro House.
This month, I was proud and delighted to open the permanent site for Cobham Free School (secondary) at Munro House, with Michaela Khatib (the Headteacher) and Howard Morris (the Chair of Governors). The site has been seven years in the making, so the ceremony on 14 September was an important moment for the school. It’s a fantastic boost for children and parents in Cobham and will also help ease wider pressure on school places across the borough. You can read more on my blog here ([link removed]) .
It was also great to visit Walton Charity earlier this month, a brilliant local organisation which provides grants to vulnerable people and organisations across Elmbridge. There has been an increase in demand for Walton Charity’s services during Coronavirus – so if you can, I would encourage residents to consider donating to their COVID-19 Response Appeal here ([link removed]) .
I know that many local businesses are still facing a tough time, so last week I went out in Hersham Village to talk to small businesses about the challenges they have faced during the pandemic. It was clear that the owners and staff I met – including in Ashton House gift shop, the AlleyCatz school uniform shop and the Bricklayers Arms – had worked really hard to get up and running safely over the last few months. It was also good to hear how many businesses had benefitted from government support. You can read more about my visit here ([link removed]) .
Finally, a real highlight of the last few weeks was the Facebook Live Q&A with residents I held on 4 September. You can watch the Q&A on my Facebook page here ([link removed]) , where you can also keep an eye out for the date of the next session.
It’s been another busy month up at Westminster, with the creation of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on 2 September. This was a key moment for the government’s vision of a truly Global Britain. As I set out to MPs on the day it was launched, the new department reflects the government’s drive towards a more effective and more joined-up foreign policy, putting our world-class aid programme at the beating heart of our wider foreign policy decision-making. You can read my update to the House of Commons here ([link removed]) .
Later in the month, it was a pleasure to host Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves Le Drian – my German and French counterparts – to discuss foreign policy issues, including the situation in Hong Kong, Belarus and Iran. We agreed that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon, and must comply with its nuclear commitments under the nuclear deal (known as the JCPOA). We are committed to holding Iran to account, and we - as the E3 - later wrote to the Iranian government about its human rights record, including with respect to UK dual nationals held in Iran.
Finally, it was great to visit Washington D.C., where I held meetings with US Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, congressional leaders from both parties and officials from USAID – the US international development agency. The UK and US are doing a huge amount of work together, and I had discussions on Coronavirus, aid, and security issues from Libya through to the Novichok attack on Alexey Navalny (the leading Russian opposition figure).
As residents will be aware, earlier this week the Prime Minister announced new measures to suppress Coronavirus. We've made huge strides in tackling the virus since the March/ April peak. As in many countries, we've seen an uptick in cases as we've transitioned out of lockdown. We need to nip that in the bud, and stop COVID cases rising back to previous levels.
So, the government is once again asking those who can work from home to do so. In addition, all pubs, bars and restaurants must now operate table-service only (except takeaways), and all hospitality venues are required to close at 10pm each day. The requirement to wear face coverings has also been extended and strengthened, with staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and both staff and customers in all indoor hospitality (except when seated at a table to eat or drink) required to wear face coverings.
It is really important that everybody continues to observe the following key guidelines:
* Hands – Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
* Face – Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
* Space – Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.
The full, updated rules and guidance can be found on GOV.UK/Coronavirus ([link removed]) .
Following on from these measures, yesterday the Chancellor set out the Winter Economy Plan. This next phase of our planned economic response to Coronavirus included a new Job Support Scheme, which will directly fund businesses to protect viable jobs and employees’ wages, and an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
The Chancellor also extended the VAT cut on hospitality and tourism, and the application deadlines for four of the government’s temporary loan schemes. In addition, there are new flexibilities to help one million businesses pay back their loans. Full details are available here ([link removed]) .
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