A Christmas Message from Ed Argar our MP & Minister of Health:
"As 2020 draws to a close, I think everyone would be forgiven for a sigh of ‘At last’, because this has certainly been a year that I think most people would wish to move on from as swiftly as they can.
I write this one year on from our fantastic result locally, here in Charnwood, and nationally, in the 2019 General Election. As we look back just one year to that moment no one could have predicted what an extraordinary, and challenging, twelve months would follow for all of us.
The Covid-19 pandemic which struck our country, and the world, back in the Spring, has had a huge impact on all of our daily lives, on individuals, on businesses, and on our NHS. That impact has entailed huge sacrifices, and significant cost, both economic and human, as we have put in place measures to suppress and control this dangerous disease. Already this year this disease has claimed around six times more lives than, for example, flu does in an average year, hence these measures have been necessary to avoid the NHS’ bed capacity being overwhelmed, and to help save lives as this country’s scientists, and scientists around the world, worked day and night to develop the vaccine that provides our exit strategy as a country from the restrictions the disease has forced upon us.
No one, certainly no Conservative, and certainly neither I nor the Prime Minister would have wished to have to put the restrictions on all of our daily lives in place. I would not wish to see them in place a day longer than they are absolutely necessary, but at this time they do, sadly, remain necessary, and in our own area, the decision to place us in ‘tier 3’ on 2nd December, while disappointing was, I believe, the right one given where our infection rates were.
Alongside the health challenges of the pandemic, we know that, as we look forwards, our country will face some tough economic choices. As such, it is vital that, as we take the steps to restore our national finances, we do so in a way that supports business recovery, stimulates growth, rather than risking choking off that resurgent growth.
Alongside this, as I write, having delivered on our pledge to leave the EU shortly after the election result, the UK continues to negotiate with the EU on our future relationship after the Transition Period ends. Those negotiations are proving tough, but I know that our team, led by Lord Frost, and our PM, will continue to work hard to get the best possible outcome for the UK – an outcome which is fair, which works for us economically, and which reflects the spirit of the referendum decision.
When, in September 2019, the PM appointed me as Minister of State for Health, he told me that the job was challenging but always interesting. I’m not sure either of us foresaw just how challenging and just how interesting it would prove in 2020! But it has been a huge privilege to hold the office this year, not least to see first-hand the amazing work of our NHS and care workers who deserve all of our gratitude. The greatest privilege, and my first priority, however, always remains to be your local MP, and I am incredibly grateful to all of you for your support and friendship this year.
As we look towards 2021 with the optimism that comes with the roll-out of the vaccine that provides a route back to normality, I conclude by wishing all of you & your families and friends a peaceful and happy Christmas, and all the very best for a wonderful new year in 2021."