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Friday 4 February

I had a busy start to the week on Monday which began with a meeting with the Council's Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall and Managing Director, Julie Danks at which Julie gave a useful briefing on the Council's budget position before the Medium-Term Financial Plan makes its way through to Cabinet later this month. We then stayed on a Teams call to review the other items that will be on the Cabinet meeting agenda, including a report on the Council Plan 2022-25 as well as a scrutiny review of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs).

I spent Tuesday morning catching up on some work before joining a digital workshop hosted by the Local Government Association (LGA) which saw members from local authorities across the UK come together to discuss the impact on congestion, carbon emissions and air quality generated by the increase in online shopping.

On Wednesday I met with the Council's Director for Finance Development and Business Services, Garry Cummings and Assistant Director for Inclusive Growth and Development, Chris Renahan. Our monthly meetings are a good opportunity to stay up to date on business and regeneration work across the Borough.

Later in the week I had a virtual meeting with trade union representatives. I then met with Margaret Waggott, the Council's Assistant Director for Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, to go through some Council business that will be considered by Corporate Management Team (CMT) and Cabinet.

This afternoon I'll chair the Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG) meeting, where again we'll be discussing the latest COVID-19 infection rate figures in Stockton-on-Tees.

The Government's Plan B rules were lifted on 28 January but there are still things we can do to protect each other and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the Borough. You can find out about the current rules as well as some advice about what we can all do to stay safe on our COVID advice webpages.

Tonight I am looking forward to tuning in to watch Middlesbrough take on Manchester United in the FA Cup. With the form Boro are in, there's no reason they can't take the game to United and give them a real test. I'm excited to see how they get on.