The Stroud MP's weekly column.

Praise to all who are working to rid us of the infection as it is good news that infection rates have slowed dramatically. Here in Stroud, we are starting to get back to, at least, a new normal.

I am really proud of people and businesses here taking a ‘yes we can’ attitude in these difficult times. Last week, I visited some in Nailsworth and Miserden and I thank everyone who has played their part in trying to get the economy up and running.

I’m naturally an optimistic and a positive person but I’m also a realist and there will be tough times ahead. The government has given unprecedented support to the economy – it has been among the most generous in the world - but it cannot last. We know the government cannot save every businesses and job despite Herculean efforts with the furlough scheme that has helped an incredible 13,600 in Stroud alone.

Even so, the claimant count, which I would like to say doesn’t always mean a job loss, has risen in Gloucestershire by 4.9% and this will be the next challenge.

But the positive recovery work has started. GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, working with GlosJobs, has seen a 7% increase in jobs advertised and it is encouraging businesses to list their vacancies.

The Chancellor is making a summer statement on Wednesday and I expect to see a big focus on jobs, infrastructure investment and sectors where help is needed.

I certainly welcome the recent £1.5 billion arts sector support, which I have been arguing for.

We all want to see venues like Cotswold Playhouse get through this period. One issue I’m now working on is help for the beauty industry.

It needs urgent information from the scientific experts and the government so business owners can plan to reopen. This is an industry who feel they’re being let down. I will be talking to ministers to get things moving.