From Huw Merriman <[email protected]>
Subject Constituency -18th December 2020
Date December 18, 2020 6:33 PM
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18th December 2020

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

As the year ends, I want to send my thoughts and best wishes to all constituents following a quite extraordinary 2020.

This has been the most challenging of years. Whilst it has not been a year any of us would have envisaged, and even less welcomed, the manner in which communities across East Sussex have rallied around each other has been incredible to witness.

Read more here ([link removed]) .

Constituency Tier Split:
Rother in Tier 3; Wealden in Tier 2

Having heard a convincing case from our local County NHS team that East Sussex would need to move to Tier 3, I was surprised that only Rother and Hastings was moved up.

Hastings and Rother rises to Tier 3 and Wealden, Lewis and Eastbourne remain in Tier 2. I do not feel that this is a practical idea. I explain more in today's Observer column which you can read here ([link removed]) .

Brexit Update

At the time of writing, we still await positive developments. I am keen that we get a good deal with the EU but agree with the Prime Minister that there was no point in us leaving if we are still bound by rules which we cannot influence. If there is a deal, I will be in Parliament over Christmas to support it.

Knife Crime Prevention

Despite welcome reductions in knife crime offences, too many young lives continue to be lost. I pressed the Home Office to start using Knife Crime Prevention Orders to keep known offenders off the streets.

Watch my exchange with the Minister here ([link removed]) .

Building and Development Update

After a campaign to get the Government to think again, I’m delighted that the 1100+ annual numbers for Rother will be revised downwards and the housing algorithm has been scrapped. More homes are needed but we just could not have delivered what was proposed locally. Larger increases will now be delivered in urban areas most in need of development. Great news for our AONB.

Read about the plans on the .gov website ([link removed]) .

Culture Recovery Fund

This year the Fund has awarded the following:
* De La Warr Pavilion (£657,713)
* Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (£160,000)
* Windmill Hill Windmill Trust (£11,700)
* The Great Dixter Charitable Trust (£190,600)
* Pashley Manor Gardens (£150,400)
* English Heritage Trust: Battle Abbey and Battlefield (£32,000)
* English Heritage Trust: Battle Abbey and Battlefield (£24,000)
* De La Warr Pavilion (£23,970)

A further round of funding will be available to support reopening and applications will be open before Christmas, and grants in the New Year.

Kent and Sussex Connect

It was great to chair our local rail user groups, Transport for the South East and Network Rail who,
along with Hastings & Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart, updated us on the latest on the project to deliver faster rail services to London. It’s very heartening to see so much ambition and teamwork. This will stand us in good stead for a bidding process.

East Sussex Needs You!

If you are a Sussex resident, the NHS is on the hunt for new vaccinators and volunteers to help protect millions of people from COVID-19.

Anyone wanting to volunteer to join COVID Vaccine Team can do so via this link ([link removed]) .

Climate Change Assembly

Following the publication of the Climate Assembly's report on meeting the net zero carbon emissions by 2050, I highlighted how the transport sector has further to go and the innovations that can be made.

In the time allowed I did not get a chance to say all that I wanted, so you can read more here ([link removed]) , or watch the full speech here ([link removed]) .

Prime Minister’s Questions

The vaccine is the way out of this terrible pandemic. In the final Prime Minister's Questions of the year, I asked the PM to join me in encouraging people to do their duty and get vaccinated when the programme is rolled out. It’s started in Sussex already; 2,500 vaccinations in the first week.

Watch our exchange here ([link removed]) .

Please Take Care

Whilst Rother residents are in Tier 3, Wealden residents should be aware that rates went up by 70% and are higher than some parts of England which are in Tier 3. The threat is real and we need to keep our guard up. Here, I asked the Health Secretary to remind people to do their bit when on public transport.

Watch here ([link removed]) .

Train Operator Contracts

During Transport Questions I asked the Minister when he will provide the Transport Committee with the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements made with rail operators. We need better transparency for taxpayers.

Watch here ([link removed]) .

Happy Christmas from Organisations in Battle!

Check-out these lovely Christmas Wishes from the Town Council, local groups and businesses (and their MP) here ([link removed]) .

Battery Hybrid Technology

During a Transport Committee meeting, I continued my campaign to replace the diesel trains in East Sussex with new cleaner and greener battery hybrid technology, which is produced in the UK.

Watch here ([link removed]) .

A Tough Decision

I explained my reasoning behind voting against the Government again over the local tier restrictions in the debate here ([link removed]) .

[link removed]

Coronavirus Cases in Our Area

This tracker ([link removed]) on the government website provides information on covid-19 cases. The BBC also provides up to date information on a weekly basis which you can access here ([link removed]) .

For the latest shielding and distancing guidance visit here ([link removed]) .

During the Coronavirus Crisis I will not be holding face to face surgeries but will be holding advice surgeries for urgent cases by phone.

To make an appointment for a telephone surgery please email: [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or call 01424 736861.

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