I am delighted that we are at last beginning to open up again. Sadly, not yet back to normal, but making progress certainly.
Of course, the virus is still with us, so I do urge people to continue to take all sensible and reasonable precautions – we all know by now what is safe and what is not safe for us to do. We really want to get this right so we can prevent a second wave and not have to reinstate restrictions. Enjoy the summer, but don’t risk another lockdown.
I am pleased to be back in Parliament although, again, it is not yet the same.
As our businesses open up, I would urge people to support local and British businesses every time you buy. We can help each other by buying local.
I am pleased that the Government is also looking at what we need to do to protect British companies as we come out of lock-down. Many British companies have done tremendous work in the fight against the virus. Not just those keeping the country moving, but many have repurposed their manufacturing and research capabilities to make PPE, manufacture tests and research vaccines, etc. I am very proud that local companies have done their bit.
However, as we come out of lockdown many of our companies may struggle and could be vulnerable to hostile overseas takeovers.
Many residents have contacted me about this so I am pleased that we will be legislating for the Government to have new powers to intervene to protect our critical businesses. The Government already has powers to intervene in the areas of media ownership, financial stability and national security. We will now add powers to protect businesses critical to food supply and public health.
I welcome the Government’s plans to go further with this and also protect new businesses in important high-tech fields such as artificial intelligence, advanced materials and cryptographic authentication technology. As a country, we invest a lot in product research and development in these areas. It is about time that we protect our national interest.
I welcome overseas investment, but we will not accept investors targeting companies critical to our public health or economic recovery.