When the UK and Welsh governments announced a nationwide lockdown in March, support for the measures was relatively high. Governments always predicted a second spike could come in the autumn and they are now facing the need to make further decisions on strict new curbs. To judge from my inbox, support is less overwhelming. Some think these measures do not go far enough and want the UK and Welsh governments to shut down everything, while others think we need to consider the economy and learn to live with coronavirus. Our governments are trying to navigate through these difficult waters and find an approach that can slow the spread of Covid-19, but which commands enough support to be effective and doesn’t lead to widespread job losses. I fully understand the concerns of those arguing for more or less restrictions. Although decisions in Wales are entirely a matter for the Welsh Government, I am listening carefully to everyone. But for now, I believe the path being taken by Labour and Conservative governments represents a sensible approach.
Despite Covid-19, there are still other local campaigns going on. Last year I met villagers from Bryn-y-Gwenin, near Abergavenny, who were facing the loss of their cherished telephone box. It is located near the walk route for the Skirrid in an area with poor mobile reception, so in the event of there being the need to call an ambulance it could be a lifesaver. Villagers have offered to maintain the box and use it to keep a defibrillator. Unfortunately, it seems plans are once again afoot to decommission and possibly remove the kiosk. This iconic red telephone box bears the Tudor Crown of King George VI and has been a landmark in Bryn-y-Gwenin since the Second World War when it was used to warn of air raids. I am sure BT have more important things to worry about and I have been in touch to ask them to save the box.
Prior to March I held regular advice surgeries either in the Use office or in various locations across the constituency. We have changed our working practises and ‘virtual’ surgeries are now happening online. If you have a problem which you need to discuss, please do not hesitate to get in touch either by telephone on 01291 672817 or email email@example.com. My staff and I continue to work as normal and will be happy to try and help.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 30 September 2020 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 1 October 2020*