In the last four weeks, sadly the number of COVID patients admitted to intensive care across the country has quadrupled and increased sevenfold in some places. Therefore, the Government has been forced to take action and to introduce a three-tiered system of local COVID Levels in England; medium, high and very high.
As of Monday 12th October, Rutland had 538.5 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, whilst this is higher than we want, the restrictions we must abide by here in Rutland remain unchanged and we are in the Medium tier.
I recognise that the restrictions are frustrating, and the coming Winter months seem daunting, but we can beat this virus if we all recognise the personal responsibility we have to follow the rules, protect one another and keep the incidence of COVID—19 as low as possible locally. It will require a concerted collective effort, sacrifices and patience, but we will defeat it.
I continue to work hard to improve local services in Rutland. No decisions have been made, but I’m supporting an application for a feasibility study by the Department of Transport into whether a station at Luffenham, or nearby, could be rebuilt to better connect Rutlanders to Stamford and Peterborough, Kettering and Corby. I’m co-sponsoring this with three of our neighbouring MPs. It would better connect 400,000 people and enormously improve our connectivity and public transport options locally. Whilst most of the infrastructure for this line is already in place, it is likely 3.5 miles of new track would need to be laid between Seaton and Luffenham, as well as new train station with parking, so we need to look carefully at whether this is the right option for our community in Rutland.
The key time to hear your views is once the feasibility study is complete, but I would welcome your thoughts at this early stage and have set up a survey on my website for you to have your say. The feasibility study may show this isn’t viable, but it’s absolutely right that I investigate this option for our communities.
I’ve also written to the NHS and asked them to ensure that there is a comprehensive and long-term healthcare strategy for Rutland. From sufficient GP services to ensuring Rutland Memorial is sustainable, and I hope to see this progressed as a matter of urgency.
I’ve also been working hard on the Culture Recovery Fund as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. In the last week, the Stamford Shakespeare Company, Pinders Circus, Nevill Holt Opera and Rutland County Council were awarded £507,100 to support local Arts and theatre organisations and Rutland County Council and Change agents UK were awarded £205,700 to safeguard Rutland’s heritage, including Rutland Museum and Oakham Castle. This is fantastic news for our community.