This week we heard reports of increases in wholesale global gas prices and these have naturally provoked concern. An uptick in global gas demand and a cold winter last year have increased demand, raising prices for energy companies. The government has provided assurances that supply emergencies are not expected over the winter as the nation benefits from a variety of international sources. Millions of pounds are also being invested in projects to increase our renewable energy capacity and reduce our reliance upon fossil fuels.
A number of measures are also available to protect millions of customers from sudden increases in energy prices. The Warm Home Discount will provide a £140 discount to eligible households alongside Winter Fuel Payments and cold weather payments which will ensure that the most vulnerable are able to heat their homes throughout the winter months. I am therefore assured that steps are being taken to guarantee an even supply throughout the winter.
The challenges of the past year have only deepened our appreciation of those who place their own lives at risk for our safety. I was reminded of this while meeting members of the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service at Bourne Fire station, one of thirty-eight across the county. I was given a tour of the state-of-the-art fire engine and was even given the chance to see the equipment in action while I cut off a car door. The highlight was hearing the experiences of the firefighters and how they combined their day jobs with on-call duties which require them to drop whatever they’re doing and head to the station at a moment’s notice.
Local churches are another such institution throughout our towns and villages. While visiting the parish churches of St James, Skillington and St John the Baptist, Colsterworth I heard about the importance of the churches as communal centres, places of worship, and pieces of living history - it's not every day you’re shown Isaac Newton’s baptismal font!
I was shocked to see the damage done in Skillington, where thieves stole the lead from the church roof in 2019. £25,000 of funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has enabled the community to make initial repairs, yet more work is required to restore the north aisle for which the community is currently fundraising. I would encourage anybody to visit these beautiful sites for themselves and help to ensure their survival for centuries to come.
Regular readers will know how much I enjoy promoting innovative businesses across our local area. While visiting Boss Cabins in Bourne I learnt more about their new Deep Green cabins, made from specialised steel and powered primarily through solar panels, they are a statement of intent as we all work towards a carbon net-zero future. It was great to hear how the company has grown in the past year, having provided seven hundred cabins to the NHS as part of the mobile Covid-19 testing programme.
Grantham and Stamford has certainly played its part throughout the pandemic thanks to companies like Boss and the work done by the Royal Logistic Corps, headquartered near Grantham who administered the roll-out of the testing programme throughout the UK.
Work continues apace in Westminster, I was pleased this week to be appointed to the Treasury Select Committee. With a Budget and Spending Review forthcoming this Autumn, it will be an interesting couple of months ahead.