by Julian Sturdy, MP for Outer York
The past few months have been the sternest peacetime test our community has ever faced, with an unprecedented suspension of normal life. I want to express my sympathy and support for those who have contracted coronavirus locally, and profoundest condolences to households who have tragically lost loved ones.
Frightening as the virus is, everyone has been empowered to do their bit to fight covid through selflessly following social distancing rules, even at the cost of hardship and emotional pain. Fundamentally, this period has been a huge act of collective solidarity with our more medically vulnerable and older citizens. Many residents have gone beyond even the tough duties imposed on us all, devoting an impressive 23,000 hours of voluntary help to our city. In particular, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our NHS and care workers, and to all other key workers who have grafted to provide the essentials of life during the pandemic – this debt must not be forgotten in the period of rebuilding ahead.
The courage and determination York residents have together shown gives me hope that our community has the strength and energy to recover rapidly from the blow of coronavirus. Although we must remain vigilant against covid, and be prepared to stamp hard on any ‘second wave’, as restrictions are gradually lifted in line with information on the state of the virus, I believe our focus now has to be spread between retaining a strong medical effort, and reviving local business and trading activity, to avoid the scar of prolonged depression and job losses. The prosperity and high employment rates enjoyed by our part of North Yorkshire depend on the success of local businesses, and we will only be able to fund the ongoing battle against coronavirus by getting the economy moving again.
This is why I have been taking action to support local enterprise since the beginning of the outbreak, writing to the Chancellor last month to press for the furlough scheme to be adjusted to reflect the needs of different sectors, so that the hardest hit enterprises such as York’s hospitality and tourism industry can be supported the longest.
I am continuing to deal with a large number of enquiries from residents. I am here to help in any way I can, and please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com