MP: It is essential we give kids a fighting chance

Greg Smith column

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 6:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 6:38 pm

We are nearly there. We are nearly through the nightmare that has been the Covid-19 pandemic.

The vast majority of us, according to the Office of National Statistics at least, have Covid antibodies.

Data out last week shows that either via jabs – or actually having had Covid – eight in 10 Brits have protection.

Greg Smith MP
Greg Smith MP

As I write this column,

32.5 million people in the UK have had both jabs and more than 75% of the population has had at least one dose.

And we know these vaccines are working, as while case rates have slowly risen the number of people being admitted into hospital or sadly losing their life to this virus remains very – in fact extremely – low.

The link between having the virus and becoming seriously ill, all variants included, is broken.

It is with this wonderful news in the centre of my mind, that I am arguing for the quickest return to normality possible.

I was delighted, for example, when the government gave the green light to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone being part of the Events Research Programme, enabling a full 140,000 attendance at this year’s race weekend. Now I get some may say that is prioritising the Formula 1 global circus over other things, but I could not disagree more.

The grand prix going ahead is worth over £100 million to our local Buckinghamshire economy – much needed economic stimulus to help and support our businesses who have been suffering for too long.

However, as we tread the path to ‘normal’ I equally accept, in fact argue myself, that it cannot just be about big sporting events or festivals.

Real day-to-day life has been disrupted by this pandemic and I am also making the case to ministers that we must enable other important events to go ahead too. I give the example of school sports days. Many local parents have written to me upset at seeing 60,000 heading off to Wembley, but they are unable to watch their son or daughter compete at school – at an event entirely outdoors and with plenty of space for social distancing.

I am hoping we can get measures in place to enable parents to enjoy these precious times.

Likewise – and I declare an interest with my eldest son starting school in September – it cannot be right that settling-in sessions for children starting school are unable to take place. Children have been among the worst affected by lockdown and it is essential we give them a fighting chance as we step out of restrictions.

>As ever, I welcome all views from constituents, so please let me know what you think by emailing [email protected]