AS many of you will know, the borough of Wigan, which includes my constituency of Leigh, has been removed from the Greater Manchester wide COVID-19 restrictions, meaning that families will be able to meet again, further businesses can reopen, and we can now continue to return to a degree of normality.

I know that this will be welcome news for many. However, despite being removed from these measures, we of course must all remain vigilant, and ensure that we continue to follow the measures in place across the rest of England, such as wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing rules, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank local people for all their efforts in helping keep our local infection rates below both the national and regional averages. As I discussed in my previous column, although the restrictions in place across Greater Manchester meant that I had to cancel many of the public meetings that I had planned during Parliament’s summer recess, my team and I have continued to take part in numerous meetings via telephone or video call, to ensure that my constituents’ concerns and views were addressed, ahead of my return to Parliament this week.

Last week, I held a digital Zoom Q&A for the beauty sector, to give them an opportunity to tell me what support their businesses need to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic and to answer any questions they have about the Coronavirus measures that remain in place.

I also organised and took part in a meeting with the community group LaGTAC, with councillors, GMP, Wigan Council and TFGM, who’s members are working hard to fight for road safety improvements within the area, following the tragic rise in the number of road traffic accidents on our local roads.

Of course, not all meetings have taken place digitally, some have in fact taken place outdoors.

I also recently attended GMP’s day of action at Leigh Cenotaph, dedicated to curbing local anti-social behaviour problems, something that I had raised directly with them following a rise in complaints about crime in the area. The day included the confiscating of any alcohol that was on display, a clean up of the area and the cenotaph itself, a community resilience team to reassure local people that action is being taken to curb ASB in the area, and members of the council’s drugs, alcohol and health team attending to conduct outreach work with those who have been misusing the site. I would like to thank all those involved in the day for their fantastic work, sending a clear message that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in our community.

It is safe to say that despite many public meetings being able to go ahead, summer recess has still been a very busy period indeed.

As this column is published, I will be back in Parliament for the first week of the new Parliamentary year. The issues mentioned above, such as local law & order and the support for local businesses and the wider local community after COVID-19, will be high on the agenda, as well as continuing to fight for the improvements and changes that my constituents want to see. Should you require my help with any matter get in touch.