Simon Jupp MP: The only topic on everbody's mind is the Coronavirus - Devon Live

The only topic on everbody's mind is the Coronavirus. This is an extraordinarily challenging time for us all - residents, businesses and communities across East Devon are already seeing their daily life change immeasurably. We must all act to protect the health of those around us.

I recently visited the coronavirus assessment centre at the RD&E. It’s the frontline NHS tool to conduct coronavirus tests and it’s a real testament to our wonderful health service staff. The Chancellor made it exceptionally clear that our NHS will get what it needs to cope in these unprecedented circumstances and I will convey messages from local NHS leaders straight to Government.

While we must look after our own health and that of loved ones, among our community there will be those vulnerable and in real need of material and psychological support, particularly during isolation at home. There has been a remarkable community response to help one another. I have setup a page on my website (www.simonjupp.org.uk) dedicated to providing contact details for community groups across East Devon. Please take a look to see what help is out there and where you might be able to support others in need. If you are part of a group offering support and you’d like to be included on this growing list, please drop me a line by emailing simon.jupp.mp@parliament.uk.

With a stunning coastline and beautiful countryside, it is no wonder that East Devon attracts a lot of visitors. As the coronavirus situation continues to develop, I have been listening to the concerns of local businesses. The retail, leisure and hospitality sector plays a significant part in the local economy. It was good to see the Chancellor go beyond his budget commitments to back business with an initial package of £330bn of support, including the scrapping of business rates for this vitally important sector. The government is also offering up to £25,000 grants to provide further support. The first port of call for any business owner who’d like free advice and is the South West Growth Hub (https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/).

You may have read in my last column that I am a keen advocate for the development of the region’s infrastructure and transport network. Two weeks ago, I gave my maiden speech in Parliament. In my speech, I asked the government to ensure they invest in the South West and specifically highlighted the need to finally sort out the A303. I am pleased that the Chancellor announced in the budget that this vitally important project will go ahead.

The demise of Flybe was extremely upsetting and disappointing; I worked with everybody involved and it was a real pity to see Flybe’s shareholders walk away from the deal offered by government. However, having spoken with the airport and other airlines, I was really pleased to see Blue Island stepping in to take on the flights from Exeter to the Channel Islands and Manchester. LoganAir also stepped in to save flights to Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, I expect these services will be significantly disrupted in the coming months and I’ve asked for a package of measures to protect and support Exeter Airport. This has been a tough time for regional air travel, especially in light of the coronavirus situation. I will keep striving to keep our region connected with the wider UK and Europe.

Finally, I am extremely keen to be transparent about my work, after all I am your MP and I work for you. I now have a team of staff supporting me and my office in the constituency will be up and running in Exmouth in the next few months. Whilst you can follow me on Facebook (/simonjuppmp) and Twitter (@simonjamesjupp) for snippets on what I am doing, I will be writing regularly to keep you up to date with my work across the constituency and in Westminster. If you’d like to attend a surgery please get in touch by emailing simon.jupp.mp@parliament.uk.