JAMES GRUNDY MP: Delight at vaccine programme progress

James Grundy is the Conservative MP for Leigh...
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Over the last few weeks, my inbox has been inundated with emails and the biggest question on many local residents’ mind is “when will our loved ones receive the COVID-19 vaccine?”

Since my last column, I met with Wigan Borough CCG along with the other MPs representing the borough, to discuss how the local vaccine programme was moving forward.

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During this meeting, I was delighted to hear that the programme was moving full steam ahead, with additional sites being set up across the borough.

James Grundy MPJames Grundy MP
James Grundy MP

Additionally, I was also pleased to hear that there had been no issues with the supply of vaccines locally, and that local health officials were optimistic that the approval of the Oxford and Moderna vaccines would only help speed up the roll out of the vaccine in our local area.

As of January 17, 11,500 vaccines had been administered to those aged 80 and over across Wigan Borough and also to frontline NHS and social care staff, and it is expected that an additional 14,000 residents will have been vaccinated by the end of this month.

This is a fantastic achievement, which is why I took the opportunity to visit both vaccination centres within the Leigh constituency and share my thanks on my social media page to the staff and volunteers involved in the vaccine rollout locally for their hard work.

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Just like many of my recent columns, COVID-19 is still the dominating issue, however, there have also been a number of other local developments and challenges in recent weeks.

Unfortunately, the Leigh constituency was heavily affected by the recent Storm Christoph, with some residents being evacuated from their homes, animals in stables requiring rescue and local businesses also experiencing flooding.

In light of this troubling news, I urgently met with Wigan Council, to discuss what support was being provided to local people who had been affected.

I was reassured to hear from the council that through working with the local emergency services, the response to the flooding was swift and effective.

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When I visited one of the worst affected areas, the Higher Folds Estate, the day after the floods, I spoke with local residents who praised our local services for responding so efficiently, and I was pleased to see that all of the flood water had receded.

As well as meeting with the council, I also requested an urgent update from Electricity North West, who reported that very little damage had been done to the local network.

In the coming weeks, I will also be meeting with the Environment Agency and will be writing to Wigan Council, to raise local residents’ concerns about the dredging of local brooks, maintenance of grids and roads, as well as the concerns held that the over-development of our local area may have contributed to the severity of the flooding we saw.

There have however, been some positive developments in the local area recently, not least the news that proposals for the reopening of Golborne railway station are progressing.

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As many of you may know, Leigh is one of the largest towns in the UK without a railway station, and this has sadly had a detrimental impact on local congestion, air pollution and our economy.

One of my election pledges was to help get Leigh reconnected to the national rail network and last year I used my platform in Parliament to raise the profile of the reopening of both Golborne and Kenyon Junction railway stations.

I also met with the Mayor of Greater Manchester to discuss this matter, and just last week I met with Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP to discuss how these proposals could be progressed further.

Finally, after decades of talk, we are beginning to make concrete progress in addressing the lack of infrastructure that has for so long held back local communities, and I hope the Greater Manchester Combined Authority backs these proposals.

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Since my last column, there have certainly been many local developments, however I also wanted to take the time to reassure you that my team and I continue to remain on hand with any issues or concerns you have.

So as always, please do not hesitate to reach out and get in touch should you require our assistance by emailing [email protected] or telephoning 01942 857326.

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