THE LEADER of Solihull Council has praised the efforts of both residents and Jaguar Land Rover in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Ian Courts highlighted JLR’s fast turnaround for 3D printed protective visors, as well as the manufacturer’s donation of Land Rovers to the British Red Cross.
In a regular weekly statement to Solihull residents, Coun Courts said: “I just want to draw attention to the wonderful support Jaguar Land Rover has given to the fight against Covid-19.
“Not only have they started delivering 3D-printed visors, developed with the NHS for their frontline staff – with the ambition to produce 5,000 a week in the UK. They have also supplied an additional 150 vehicles globally to their humanitarian partners, of which 105 have been supplied to the British Red Cross, taking the total number of vehicles deployed to just over 300.
“Also, 14 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles are currently being used by West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust to test staff isolating with coronavirus symptoms. The testing allows the service to support staff with the virus, enabling those who are fit and healthy to return to frontline duties.
“This is just one example of local help being given in this crisis.
“Whilst JLR remains our biggest employer in the borough, the Council has also focused on other businesses that make up our economy. We have been actively contacting over 1,900 of our small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to make sure they are accessing whatever relevant support is available.
“So far we have received over 1,400 applications for the various grants available to eligible Solihull businesses, as part of the government’s support package. The money is now flowing out to businesses and we are working hard to process all of these payments as quickly as we can. We have also automatically applied Expanded Retail Relief to give eligible businesses 100% relief from their business rates in 2020/21, as a quick and effective way of supporting our local businesses through this pandemic.”
Coun Courts also writes: “Thank you everyone who followed the advice and stayed home this long bank holiday weekend.
“I understand it was quiet in terms of the number of people going outside to public spaces; from news reports, most people seemed to have followed the social distancing advice.
“As we move into our fourth week, the talk in the media all seems to be about how long the lockdown needs to continue. Well, I’m as keen as anyone to get out and about again…but the experts say that we have not reached the peak yet, so it really is premature, and possibly even unhelpful, to speculate about returning to ‘normal’.
“We need to continue, as we have done over the past weeks, in the knowledge that our efforts are demonstrably saving lives.
“Can I just update on a few pieces of news.
“Following discussions at a regional level and reviewing in particular the security situation, I am pleased to say that our bereavement services will now be allowing up to ten mourners, instead of six. This decision was not straightforward, but it was important to build in extra flexibility to recognise the heart-felt wish to attend a loved one’s funeral ceremony.
“Those attending are welcome to film and make the funeral service available to those not able to attend (e.g. through Facebook Live and other media platforms), provided permission has been given by the person arranging the funeral and the officiant.”