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Update on Coronavirus Test Availability in Bristol and the South West.

Constituents, including those providing front-line services, have reported being unable to book appointments to receive a Coronavirus test, this week.

While the South West’s NHS Test and Trace network is actively processing a large number of tests, throughout the country laboratory capacity is being outstripped by demand. Darren has been working with MPs to raise these issues with the Government to urgently address this problem and remove bottlenecks. Public Health England advice is to immediately self-isolate if you have Coronavirus symptoms and you are waiting for a test.

Speaking about the unavailability of test appointments seen throughout the country Darren said:
To those that have contacted me about the unavailability of test appointments in Bristol, please continue to follow the rules that keep our community safe from this virus. If you are waiting for a test and have symptoms, it is vital that you self-isolate immediately. I have spoken with Public Health England and received this update (below) about Test and Trace in the South West.
Fixing the bottleneck currently experienced in our NHS Test and Trace system must be THE priority of Government. I join with MPs across the country in demanding this.
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Darren Calls For Net-Zero To Be Put At The Heart Of Our Economy Recovery

Writing in Public Sector Executive, Darren argued that regional and local leaders should be unlocked by Whitehall to implement bespoke economic recovery plans that are net-zero ready. Pitching economic stimulus and environmental policy against each other is a false choice; net-zero policymaking is the best way to recover, grow and future-proof the UK’s economy. We have diverse talent-pool of regional and local leaders that are able to tailor energy policy, green initiatives and recovery packages that work for their geopolitical environment. As demonstrated in this pandemic, one-size-fits-all approaches aren’t effective in the long-term. Instead, we need experts contributing net-zero solutions at all levels of government.

You can read Darren’s full article below:

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Darren Argues for a Green Recovery

We need a fiscal stimulus in people, as well as infrastructure, as we transition to a more sustainable, inclusive and productive economy.

Read Darren’s article for The Times Redbox published on July 6th in advance of the Chancellor’s summer statement. In it, Darren makes the argument for a green recovery that prioritises investment in skills and jobs.

Read the full article here on Medium here. Or at The Times here.

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Darren launches bid to be BEIS Chair

On April 14th, Darren launched his bid to become the new Chairperson of the Business Environment and Industrial Strategy select committee. Darren would be replacing the outgoing chair Rachel Reeves, who is now Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Darren has been a member of the BEIS Committee since 2018 and in that time has highlighted the key economic concerns of Bristol North West and stood up for environmental and worker standards nationally. As chair, Darren says he would continue to bolster the collaborative spirit of the select committee.

Writing about his bid in Politics Home, Darren said:

Looking ahead to this Parliament, the Committee has a full agenda: scrutinising government support for business through the pandemic; holding businesses to account for their treatment of workers; ensuring our net-zero policies effectively tackle climate change; making a success of Britain’s leadership of COP26; effectively scrutinising Government policy on energy infrastructure; and properly understanding the impact of technological change on work, training and skills.

But this isn’t just about me and what I think. It’s about the type of rigorous, professional and genuinely collaborative committee we can be together. The committee provides a service to the whole House, and to the country it serves. I am a team player and I will never use the chair for my own political purposes. If elected, I’ll ensure that every Committee member, regardless of party, is empowered to lead.

 

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Darren takes on lead MP role for the Bristol Economic Recovery Board

Darren met leaders of Bristol businesses, communities, third sector and academics to chart a course for the city’s economic recovery from the Coronavirus. Darren was asked to be the lead MP for the board by Mayor Marvin Reese and to advocate for Bristol in Westminster. The board was chaired by Deputy Mayor Cheney Craig and met for the first time on Tuesday, April 28th.

Speaking about their first meeting, Darren said:

I’ve had the privilege to listen to so many businesses, academic, third sector and community groups across Bristol already and pay thanks to Bristol Business Wes for their leadership. We’ve still got to get through this, but let’s be confident as we face the future together.