As we enter our second lockdown I should start by encouraging everyone to follow the guidance issued by central Government – we’re going into lockdown to reduce the spread of this horrible virus and protect our National Health Service.

Forget the debate we see and hear about the virus and remember those working hard on the frontline. They wear their personal protective equipment all day, every day, and we owe it to them to stem the flow of cases.

That said, they say a week is a long time in politics and we’ve certainly witnessed that! An MP who should be talking up his constituency actually went on record to tell the world that struggling parents trade free school meal vouchers for drugs and then voting against the continued supply of free school meal vouchers for children in his constituency. While there is always a minority that might abuse the support offered, generalisation is non-productive and in this case was disrespectful to those parents that get free school meal vouchers and use them correctly.

We’ve also seen the Government complete the “planning for the future” White Paper consultation on its proposed reforms to the planning application process. This is a one-size-fits-all approach to planning and it erodes your rights as a property owner and reduces local involvement in the planning process.

It offers nothing to support climate change or our zero carbon targets and opens up development in our green spaces. It is the centralisation of planning permission and offers homeowners a reduced right to object about developments near to their properties. It seems this Government has taken an authoritarian approach to governance and is less focused on the rule of law, the separation of powers and democratic voting.

On the plus side, the £25 million Workington ‘Town Deal’ bid has now been submitted. As a board member it was great to have some input into this and see the plans being developed. I’d just like to thank everyone who worked hard to deliver the plan – it received some fantastic feedback from local residents and delivers some real change to Workington.

Of course the inclusion of a sports village to the town will hopefully help our football and rugby clubs move forward and should guarantee the survival of both clubs while helping them to shape our young sport stars of the future.

I believe there is more collaboration needed between all local sporting clubs and Allerdale Council. We have an army of volunteers working within Allerdale and we need to keep up the focus on that, for the good of our youth and our communities.

I’ll finish by saying stay safe everyone, and look after each other.