With the news of a new variant of COVID-19 we announced that all adults will be offered a booster jab by the end of January as we ramp up vaccination capacity across the whole United Kingdom to best protect against the virus. We are assessing the new Omicron variant and strengthening our defences this winter – we know that getting as many jabs in arms as possible is our best weapon to fight the virus. That is why we are speeding up our booster programme with a target to offer booster jabs to all adults in England by the end of January – with the help of 400 military personnel and over 1,500 community pharmacy sites, additional hospital hubs, and pop-up sites opening to offer jabs. More than 18 million life-saving top-up jabs have now been given across the UK – we all have a role to play in this national mission to get protected when our time comes – protecting ourselves and our families this winter.
From this week, local families on low incomes in North Cornwall will benefit from an income boost thanks to our reduction in the universal credit taper rate – helping to put on average an extra £1,000 a year in the pockets of working people. In the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor set out further plans to ensure that work pays and that those on the lowest-incomes are protected – cutting the Universal Credit taper rate by 8 pence and increasing the Work Allowance by £500 per year. We have brought in this change a week earlier than planned, meaning 500,000 more families can benefit before Christmas and almost 2 million families on low incomes will keep, on average, an additional £1,000 a year of what they earn. These changes will act as an effective tax cut for 2 million families on low incomes, helping them to keep more of what they earn and ensure that hard work always pays.
Many of you have contacted me to let me know that you support the 20mph programme for speed limits in parishes and towns across North Cornwall. The Transport portfolio holder on Cornwall Council has written to me to confirm Camelford Community Network Area has been selected. With 20mph already being designed for both St Teath and Delabole the council were keen to build on this looking at the remaining 30mph limits. I am also pleased that the commission to review all 30mph limits within Camelford CNA will be sent out shortly and we will be working towards delivery by June 2022, allowing time for monitoring the impact. Where possible, they will be changing all 30mph limits to 20mph, with the caveat that there may be some areas that through an exceptions process remain as 30mph or a more focused 20mph section where the transition to a driver is clear. The stakeholders have been in discussion with Devon and Cornwall Police on this aspect. A report of the outcomes is due to come back in October 2022, with a view that they recommend a countywide rollout.