WHILST the gentle easing of the lockdown continues, we have seen what can happen if we are not vigilant.

The outbreak of Covid-19 in Leicester has resulted in an immediate shutdown and we must be mindful that we are still in the early days of the pandemic.

We are far from back to normal and scenes from Bournemouth last week, where a major incident was declared due to 500,000 people flocking to the beaches, illustrates that some think we are through the worse.

Irrespective of coronavirus, we also need to be looking to the future and it is encouraging to see the announcement this week of the government’s commitment to invest.

Tuesday’s speech announced a raft of measures totalling around £5billion of investment.

There are some important elements. £1.5billion for hospital repairs, £100 million for new road projects, £1 billion for 50 new schools. These are all good areas for spend, but a stood out.

In 2010, Wyre Forest just missed out on the previous government’s building schools for the future programme.

This was a project that would have delivered new schools, but with many PFI strings attached.

Since then, many of our schools have been patching up their buildings and some need significant attention.

It is incredibly important that we get our fair share here in Wyre Forest and I am already speaking to heads about how to secure funding.

Also of note is the £900million for town centre development. We have a bid in already to redesign Kidderminster’s centre, opening it up to create new ways of getting around the town.

Crucially, this will incentivise more investment into the town. The government is keen to get started on this and it is a priority that we push forward Kidderminster’s case to make sure we get early support.

Whilst the economy will be badly affected by Covid-19, there are parts of our society that will be hit harder.

That is why I am also keen to learn more about the proposed Opportunity Guarantee, that seeks to ensure every young person has access to work or training.

School children, school leavers and graduate will all be hitting a job market that is seeing an as yet unquantifiable leap in unemployment.

It is vital that this group gets its proper chance to get the start in life it needs.