Half a mile from the office of MP Steve Barclay - who urged people to start working again from their offices - the ‘stay home, save lives’ signs remain in place

PUBLISHED: 17:29 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:44 30 August 2020

MP Steve Barclay believes that people should start working again from their offices; less than half a mile from his constituency office and on the road into March signs remain: “Is your journey essential? Stay at home. Save Lives!” Picture; JOHN ELWORTHY/STEVE BARCLAY

MP Steve Barclay believes that people should start working again from their offices; less than half a mile from his constituency office and on the road into March signs remain: “Is your journey essential? Stay at home. Save Lives!” Picture; JOHN ELWORTHY/STEVE BARCLAY

Archant

MP Steve Barclay believes that people should start working again from their offices which is “best for the economy” as the country recovers from the coronavirus lockdown

In an interview with Times Radio he said the Government was keen to get people “back into their office; we think that’s best for the economy, to get back to normal as part of our recovery”.

But less than half a mile from his constituency office in March, Cambridgeshire, the town has an altogether different message for those considering a return to normal.

On the Wisbech Road out of town – and before the roundabout to the A141 – signs either side offer a more compelling choice.

The yellow official looking signs with black print ask drivers coming into or leaving the town: “Is your journey essential? Stay at home. Save Lives!”

Signs heading into and out of March urge drivers to 'stay home, save lives' and ask if their journey is necessary. Signs remain up even though the town's MP Steve Barclay has urged people to return to working in their offices. Picture; JOHN ELWORTHYSigns heading into and out of March urge drivers to 'stay home, save lives' and ask if their journey is necessary. Signs remain up even though the town's MP Steve Barclay has urged people to return to working in their offices. Picture; JOHN ELWORTHY

Local councillor Jan French, whose home is nearby, says she has no idea why the signs are still up. She believes they were put up by the county council at the height of the pandemic.

Town clerk Clive Lemmon was not aware of them at all: he has hardly been out since lockdown began in March.

And although he stays busy, there is no sign on the town council website of life returning to normal. It still says Cllr Rob Skoulding is mayor for 2019/2020 even though the new mayor, Cllr Kim French, took over in May at a virtual meeting of the council conducted over Zoom.

At Fenland Hall, March, and home to the district council, many staff are still working from home and councillors have been told the Government expects virtual meetings to continue until May. On their website the council also points out that “our customer service centres are currently operating on an appointment only basis”.

In August MP Steve Barclay visited Fenmarc in Elm, who have been providing their bags and boxes of veg to local villagers alongside their usual supplies to supermarkets. He chatted tomHayley Wilson Finance Director and Matt Walton Commercial Director. Picture; STEVE BARCLAY .In August MP Steve Barclay visited Fenmarc in Elm, who have been providing their bags and boxes of veg to local villagers alongside their usual supplies to supermarkets. He chatted tomHayley Wilson Finance Director and Matt Walton Commercial Director. Picture; STEVE BARCLAY .

Mr Barclay’s return to work comes plea against concerns by trade union and commerce bosses that people need to feel safe and comfortable before doing so.

The NE Cambs MP, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Times Radio that he had been impressed by the number of businesses making their workplaces safe.

He accepted that for flexible work patterns would be likely to continue, a consequence he said of the pandemic now finding new ways to work.

“Technology and how we use that to drive productivity is a good thing,” he said. “So, there will be changes in the way business operate.

MP Steve Barclay on a visit to the Sportsman in Elm in August. Picture; STEVE BARCLAYMP Steve Barclay on a visit to the Sportsman in Elm in August. Picture; STEVE BARCLAY

“But at the same time there are some staff who want to get back into the office.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ely Standard. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ely Standard