This has been a week where I have been focused on equalities issues, with a debate on Monday on the ethnicity pay gap and Women and Equalities Questions on Wednesday where I raised the issue of maternal deaths for black women, which are 5 times higher than for their white counterparts. We had recently debated that in Westminster Hall and the then Minister, Nadine Dorries, had rejected the idea of setting targets to reduce the disparity. Her replacement in the Department of Health, Gillian Keegan seemed a great deal more sympathetic to the prospect of targets, which gives me some cause for optimism.
We also had a debate this week about the economic contribution the cruise industry makes to the UK economy. I am very conscious that Carnival (in particular) employs a significant number of my constituents, and the supply chain here contributes in the region of £11 million annually to the local economy. There is much to celebrate with the re-start of international cruising, and I know many have enjoyed cruises this year off the British Isles.
This coming weekend I am looking forward to walking the Test Way, which is organised annually by the Rotary Club of Romsey Test. As I type this there is brilliant sunshine and I shall keep my fingers crossed the weather holds, not just for the walkers, but for all those volunteers who give up their entire day to steward the event. The only question for me at the moment is whether to take the dogs as well, Alfie would love it, but Luna isn’t quite a year old yet and it might be a bit far.