THE ECONOMIC recovery from the coronavirus will rely in part on people getting back to the shops, pubs and restaurants.
Sir John Redwood has set out some ideas in a letter to his Wokingham constituents.
The veteran MP used the missive, published on his website, to remind people that the furlough scheme and other financial support packages from the Government have come from borrowed money.
“We need both to avoid a major upsurge in the disease and to open up much more of our economy to save jobs,” he wrote. “The financial support put in was necessary and has helped, but it is not an affordable answer for the future. It can only be a temporary measure, as it is all being borrowed.
“The future must rest on good co-operation over testing and tracing to keep the virus down, allied to safe rebuilding of as much of our former goods and services trade as possible so people can earn a living again.”
He also said: “Much now rests on the consumer. The majority have kept their jobs and have often spent less over the lock down, saving money on travel, leisure and a variety of services they were not allowed to use.
“We now need the Town Centres to be attractive and easy to reach to give the shops, cafes, restaurants and service providers every chance to rebuild their businesses and to tempt customers.”
And, writing ahead of a proposed relaxation of the 2 metre social distancing rule which is thought to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson tomorrow, Sir John looked forward to the anticipated reopening of bars and restaurants.
“We are but part of the way through relaxations to allow more people to work and earn money for their businesses,” he wrote.
“It is good news that shops can now reopen, and many factories have returned to manufacture. We are now in the run-up to two crucial dates. The first is July 4, when it is likely hotels, restaurants and other leisure and hospitality venues will be able to re-open, subject to social distancing rules.
“The second is the new school year starting in September, when we hope the schools will return for all pupils.”
Sir John also took time to thank NHS staff and teachers for their efforts over the past three months, and pointed out that there have been no new coronavirus cases reported in Wokingham borough over the past week and that pressures on the Royal Berkshire Hospital have abated.
“I had no more complaints about the supplies of protective clothing or the availability of tests. NHS supplies are working well and testing capacity is greatly increased,” he wrote.
And Sir John also took time to thank his office staff “for helping cope with an unprecedented volume of emails and cases brought on by these extraordinary times and by the enforced temporary extension of government into so much of our lives.”