Last week marked one year since the first national lockdown was announced and it has been an incredibly challenging 12 months for so many people across Ilford, with many losing loved ones, businesses and jobs.

Sadly I believe the recent Budget didn’t go nearly far enough to give employers and employees the support and reassurance they need to get through this ongoing crisis. I’ve repeatedly pushed the government in Parliament to ensure that far more is done to stave off mass unemployment as our economy continues to struggle.

The end of the latest lockdown cannot come soon enough to help our community get back on its feet. So it’s welcome news that the next stage in the government’s lockdown roadmap began this week, with six people from six different households allowed to meet outside, meaning the "rule of six" returns.

As we emerge from lockdown and have more contact with one another, it’s vital that everyone who is offered the vaccine takes it as it will ensure that we do not leave ourselves vulnerable to another spike and further lockdown measures later in the year.

I’m proud of the work my office has done in helping to organise the pop-up vaccination centres across Ilford as we work towards immunising as many people as possible and helping to drive down the infection rate.

As always, a huge thank you must go to our NHS workers, volunteers and Redbridge Council staff for their efforts in rolling the vaccination programme out so quickly and effectively.

We are all enormously grateful for their hard work.

Finally, if you require support on any issue, please do not hesitate to contact me on