I am sure that constituents will have been keeping up to date with developments on the Coronavirus and can appreciate that this a fast-moving situation and I hope that everyone has been following the official guidance and is keeping safe.
To date, I have tabled numerous Parliamentary questions to get answers to the range of concerns I have, you can see these here. They include questions on what the Government is doing to increase the number of ventilators and ICU capacity, when testing for Covid-19 will be made available for NHS frontline staff and members of the general public and whether the Government will increase statutory sick pay to the European average.
I have written to the Business Secretary to ask for guidance on what support businesses will be receiving from the Government and I have also written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure full sick pay and lost earnings protections are extended to all workers (including the self-employed) and that renters are not threatened with debt, insecurity and homelessness. I am also a signatory to a letter to the Chancellor calling for an adequate minimum level of support for people moving onto Universal Credit.
In addition to this I have contacted Lewisham & Bromley Councils to find out what actions they are taking, especially to protect people with underlying health conditions, older people isolating, the homeless, refugees, those with no recourse to public funds, those accessing social care and families in crowded emergency/temporary accommodation.
I have also contacted many of our local organisations and charities to find out about what efforts are being made in the community and to help coordinate the community response.
The Government has announced an economic package to protect households and businesses, you can find out more on the Government website. I believe that the Government should be doing everything it possibly can to assure and secure all individuals and groups within our society.
To this end I believe the Government should introduce measures for rent deferrals, mortgage holidays, measures to keep businesses afloat, an increase in statutory sick pay – commensurate to the amounts paid in other European countries - and lost earnings protection from day one of self-isolation and illness for all workers including insecure workers, low paid workers, and the self-employed.
In addition to this I believe the Government should make the scientific evidence and their modelling publicly available. Publishing this information is very important to maintain public confidence in the Government’s handling of the outbreak and so that we can all come together and get behind the effort to protect our communities.
Going forward if we as a community remain calm, work together to help those who are most vulnerable and follow the up to date health guidance I am confident that we will be able to get through this challenging period.
If any constituents have any concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know and I or a member of my team will do what we can to help. Following the advice on social distancing my office is closed but my team is working as normally as possible from home and we can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and 020 7219 2668.
I hope this helps clarify everything to date and again please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you need to.