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Labour MP Steve Reed has congratulated Keir Stamer and Angela Rayner for being elected leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Steve said:

Keir was quite right to say that Labour’s job right now is to give the government the support they need to deal with this crisis, but also to ask the right questions, to get the government to work better where there currently is room for improvement on issues like providing protective equipment for frontline workers and increasing the rate of testing so that we can track and slow down the spread of coronavirus infection.

Congratulations to Keir and Angela

Congratulations to Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner Labour's new leader and deputy leader.Labour must now support the government to deal with the coronavirus crisis but also ask the right questions on issues like personal protective equipment and testing for frontline staff where we believe the government must do better.

Posted by Steve Reed MP on Saturday, 4 April 2020
  • Steve Reed
    Steve Reed Member of Parliment for Croydon North

Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.

Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.

The post Steve Reed congratulates Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner appeared first on Steve Reed MP.

The Prime Minister has this morning written to all leaders of opposition parties in Parliament, inviting them to a briefing with himself, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser next week. All party leaders have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency, and so the Prime Minister will listen to the views of other opposition leaders and update them on the measures his Government has taken so far, including rapidly expanding testing and providing […]

Gwynne welcomes exciting new era for the Labour Party

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has expressed his delight at the election of Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner as the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Starmer was elected with an overall majority of 56.2% of votes on the first round, beating Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.

Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, defeated four other candidates for the deputy leadership, winning on the third round of voting.

Andrew Gwynne nominated and campaigned for both Starmer and Rayner. The Denton and Reddish Constituency Labour Party also backed the two winning candidates.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“I backed Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner as the team that could bring both our party and our country back together and I am absolutely delighted that Labour members, supporters and affiliates have elected them as our new leader and deputy leader.


“With Keir and Angela leading our party, I believe that we are on the road back to becoming a credible opposition, able to speak to the country and to secure the Labour Government that Britain so desperately needs.


“The Coronavirus crisis is obviously the first priority for the country right now and I am glad that Keir has committed to working with the Government to support our country through this period. His talent, authority and expertise will prove indispensable in the weeks and months to come.


“As a neighbouring MP, I am particularly pleased that my good friend Angela Rayner will be a voice from Tameside at the very top of our party.”

The post Gwynne welcomes exciting new era for the Labour Party appeared first on Andrew Gwynne MP.

Thanks everyone for helping us through this pandemic!

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

There’s been a great response from the people of Edinburgh to help the city through the current coronavirus pandemic.

Defeating Coronavirus 13

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

Thank goodness we have the media. It is a lifeline – for everyone. For people like me it tells us what is going on in the world outside our cocooned locked-down world. Each day so many of us learn what is happening in the fight against Coronavirus by television, radio or on-line news outlets.

On 4 April 2020 Sir Keir Starmer was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. 

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During the prolonged wrangles over Brexit we were beset with false claims that supply chains would be disrupted  by moving to a Free Trade or WTO based future arrangement  between the UK and the rest of the EU. Some of us pointed out the long and complex supply chains of industries like the car industry already included substantial supplies from non EU sources which worked fine despite coming from outside the single market.

Today we see supply chains badly disrupted in some cases both within the EU single market and from outside it by the impact of government policies followed around the world to deal with the virus. It is curious we do not hear incessantly and regularly from those who used to  be worried about these things, now there is something to worry about.

There is first of all the interruptions to supply from abroad in to the UK because the supplier has been instructed by their national government to cease production as part of a plan to impede the spread of the virus. There are then the interruptions to supply that come from a foreign government placing an export ban on essential goods in short supply, as the Germans did on certain supplies needed for virus treatment. This is on top of the US moves to impose tariffs and bans on countries that the President regards as a  threat to national security. The USA is seeking to stop allies from buying from some Chinese technology providers, and is imposing strict sanctions on Iran, for example.

Some argue that this means we have now seen peak globalisation. There are  various good reasons to encourage more domestic production. It cuts travel  miles for products and components. It cuts the risks to supply lines from geopolitical events in various countries. It adds more value in your own country. The economic argument against is that based on the theory of free trade and specialisation. If each place or country specialises in a few things that it  becomes very good at and reaps economies of scale in  , total world real income should be maximised. That argument works well when most or all governments believe it and promote it, but comes under pressure when countries cheat. Mr Trump’s argument with the Chinese is over just that. He thinks they cheat on technology, currency level, state aids  and other matters.

The UK is discovering that it cannot rely on China and Germany for some  imports at a time of virus crisis.   The UK private sector is showing considerable flexibility, with Distilleries offering hand gel, engineering businesses offering ventilators and textile companies running up personal protection clothing. The main constraint on our flexibility seems to be occasional delays in the public sector testing and approving what the new producers can deliver. We need to get better at this flexibility when we cannot always rely on abroad to supply the things we really need. We also need to cut the food miles and make sure our fishing and  farming system encourages a higher proportion of home grown and home caught produce.

Tracy Brabin has laid out a bold and creative vision to re-engage voters and build bridges for the future post Covid-19.

Today, Tracy has launched the ‘Culture For All’ paper, putting forward more than 40 policy ideas across five areas where Labour should focus over the next five years:

  1. Changing lives through culture and creativity
  2. Growing our creative industries with workers’ rights at their core
  3. A new vision for Public Service Broadcasting
  4. Regions, towns and local government leading the way
  5. A safe, secure and positive digital world

Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen and Shadow Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “I want Culture for All to be where the Labour movement and our politics can change our nation, one person at a time.

“From childhood to older age, Labour can have a vibrant, positive offering to the people we want to represent. In this pamphlet I have laid out an approach and a number of ideas for how Labour can reclaim this ground, particularly with the communities that we hope will vote Labour in the future.

“Our creative industries are facing an existential crisis in the face of Covid-19. I am determined for fight for their future so that all generations in Yorkshire and across the country can be a part of the joy, belonging and sense of place that comes from investment in culture and creativity in our communities.

“For Labour to become a beacon of hope, we must have an offer to people of Culture for All which says, at a very human level: ‘things can be different; Labour will help you to unlock your potential, give you the chance to express yourself, and to pursue purpose outside of work’.”

To view the full paper, click here: Culture For All White Paper

To read the dossier of the problems Covid-19 has caused people in the creative sector, read the  Creatives and Covid-19 dossier here.

Community pharmacies are receiving a £300 million cash boost to ensure they can continue to carry out essential services during the coronavirus outbreak. The funding injection will support pharmacies across England, including those in North Herefordshire and will help them... Continue Reading →

Local MP, Maria Miller has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement today, government is taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.

Commons Clerk responds to Chi’s request for a digital Parliament

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

My Weekly Round-up

Christina Rees (Neath)

It feels a little like we’re beginning to get used to the ‘new normal’ here in Neath with the measures in place to try to slow the spread of the virus.  However, it’s so important that we don’t slacken our efforts at all.  The Government is still asking that we remain indoors, other than for shopping for essentials, one form of exercise daily, medical or care providing needs or essential work travel. You can find the full guidance here: Full guidance on staying at home and away from others.

While the pandemic continues, the Welsh Government is continuing to update their website with any new information – particularly on businesses, housing, and health – that you may need during this difficult time. You can find the website here.   The Welsh Government have also this week announced a new Economic Resilience Fund, with loans available of between £5,000 and £250,000 to businesses that have been trading for more than two years. More information on the fund and how to apply can be found here.

It’s very important that with Parliament not sitting and the UK Government having to take critical decisions that impact our everyday life, that MPs are still able to scrutinise those decisions. I was pleased to join colleagues this week in calling on the Clerk of the House of Commons to help facilitate Parliamentary scrutiny digitally for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic. So many businesses and industries are having to find creative ways to continue working from home with virtual meetings and conferences, and this week we’ve even seen the Senedd hold its first ever virtual sitting! There’s no reason why Parliament cannot innovate in this way. We are all keen to work to support the UK Government’s actions in fighting the pandemic, but it is right that those actions are properly scrutinised at this unprecedented time.

I know I say this every week, but I am constantly amazed by the hard work of all our NHS staff, teachers and other key workers who are keeping essential services running.  This week I wanted to particularly thank our shopworkers, who are working amongst the public, despite concerns for their health and in difficult and often fraught circumstances. We must treat them with respect and gratitude and bear in mind that any frustrations we have about the difficulties we are all facing must not be taken out on them.

Self-isolation has brought with it a number of challenges – but it is particularly difficult for those people for whom home is not a safe place.  Victims of domestic abuse may well have been forced to self-isolate with their abusers, with perhaps their only place of safety taken away as they are now working from home, rather than going out to a job.  This week, to play my part in tackling domestic abuse, I joined the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse.  We as employers are in a unique position to offer support to employees who may be affected and with the Employers’ Initiative’s help, we can put in place guidance that will offer a lifeline to so many. I know that businesses and employers are facing unprecedented change and difficulties, but I would encourage all employers in our Neath constituency and across Wales to join free to see what they can do to support their employees.

As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on christina.rees.mp@parliament.uk or call us on 01639 630152.  My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain available should you need to get in contact with us.

I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend and, remember – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has criticised a troubled rail franchise operator after abandoning a train service for county key workers. read more »

Portsmouth City Council grant funding now available

Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North)

Portsmouth City Council have announced that funding and guidance has now been received from the Government, so they will now start preparations to make payments to businesses eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Fund.
Businesses are encouraged to check if they are eligible on the website and then complete the online form so payments can be processed.
PCC will be making payments as quickly as possible but ask businesses to be patient as their IT systems need to be changed and there will be a lot of applications to process.
Application for grants can be made here.
Small Business Grant Fund
Under the Small Business Grant Fund all businesses in England receiving small business rates relief with a rateable value of less than £15,000 will be eligible for a grant of £10,000. PCC have now received funding from the Government and will begin processing payments.
Please complete the online form here as soon as possible: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businessfunding
If you do not currently receive small business rates relief and think you may be eligible, please check the criteria on the PCC website.
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Fund
Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Fund businesses in England receiving the expanded retail discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property:
Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.
Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.
PCC have now received funding from the Government and will begin processing payments as soon as the system changes have been made and application forms have been received.
Please check the criteria to see if you are eligible and complete the online form here as soon as possible: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businessfunding
PCC will start making payments as quickly as possible but please be patient as we have a lot of payments to process.
If your business is affected by coronavirus and you would like some help and support on how to proceed in the current climate, you can now access a dedicated helpline for Portsmouth based businesses - Please call 023 9284 1641 Monday to Friday between 7am - 7pm to speak to the economic growth team. They can help businesses navigate the wide range of support that is available.

COVID-19 Update

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with some further updates about the current situation.

First of all, the full list of government guidelines and advice is here


And for businesses in need of help, here


Please bear in mind this weekend that if we all start to ignore the rules on social distancing, that there will be a direct knock-on effect on the staff at Epsom Hospital. The Epsom team has taken on responsibility for much of the most serious Coronavirus care in our area, and has been established as a major intensive care centre with a large number of new intensive care beds. This is happening here, rather than at St Helier, and so we have a particular responsibility to try to ease pressure on that great local team. I am really grateful to them for what they are doing amidst intense challenges.

All the latest guidance about what you can and cannot do is here.


As you will probably know, those suffering from particularly serious health conditions are being asked to shield themselves from outside contact for 12 weeks.

Details of those who are being asked to do so are here….


If you believe you should be on that list, but have not received notification from the NHS, you can self-register here.


A message for local sports clubs from Sport England. They have set up an emergency fund for clubs that are in financial difficulty. The fund is now open for applications. You can find details at


A reminder that the Surrey County Council helpline for those who are in need of support at this difficult time is 0300 200 1002. The three local Borough and District Councils are also stepping up their work to support local residents who are in difficulty and they will be providing more information to people in the coming days. And the local branches of Age Concern can help with shopping if you are of pensionable age and self-isolating:

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell – 01372 732456

Age Concern Mole Valley – 01306 899104

Age Concern Banstead – 01737 352156


There is a list of what the local supermarkets are doing now to set aside time for NHS workers and the elderly on my website, https://www.chrisgrayling.net/supermarket-opening-times


Thank you to those of you who are supporting our local restaurants to keep their businesses going doing takeaways. There is a list of those who have told me that they are doing this on my website, https://www.chrisgrayling.net/local-take-away-restaurants/. Please let me know if you are aware of others. Do use them if you can. We need them to be there when this is over.


Finally, the County Council has just put out the following warning.

Watch out for coronavirus scams

Trading standards is reporting that there are numerous different coronavirus scams circulating at the moment. These include offering miracle cures for the virus and home testing kits which don’t exist. There have also been reports of fraudulent text messages or emails which might be fining residents for going out, or offering refunds on taxes or business rates.

Residents should remember to never invite people they don’t know into their homes, pay upfront for services or offers of shopping, or give out bank details. Trading standards is advising to not be rushed into making a decision, be sceptical, don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door. For more advice visit the ‘stay connected’ page at surreycc.gov.uk/coronavirus.


Take care.

Best wishes


The post Coronavirus (COVID-19) appeared first on Chris Grayling.

Anne-Marie's latest coronavirus animation

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Loganair converts plane to carry Covid-19 patients

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Isles MP encouraged by efforts to transport Covid-19 patients from Isles

Angus B MacNeil MP has been encouraged by the joint efforts of the Scottish Government, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), Loganair and the military to ensure that transport is available to take Islanders with Covid -19 to the Intensive Care facilities not available within the Scottish Islands.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said

“Many in the Islands were concerned that transport of seriously ill patients from the Islands would be difficult during this pandemic crisis. I wrote to Scottish Ambulance Service and was heartened by their response telling me of the efforts they were making in conjunction with the Scottish Government to ensure the most seriously affected would be transported from the Islands to receive Intensive Care.

“The pictures of the Loganair Twin Otter equipped for this work is testimony to their efforts and the vital part that Loganair has within the Islands. Many will have memories of Loganair Air Ambulance planes from the past and it is good to see this company again putting their efforts into providing a much-needed service for the Islands at what is a very uncertain time for them. A number of military aircraft have also been placed on standby for transport of patients throughout Scotland.

“At this time it is good to remember the amount of co-operation taking place among many statutory bodies, SAS, the NHS nationally and here in the Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar  and their employees from carers to refuse collectors, office staff,  teachers  and many others and I applaud all of them for their efforts. Worth remembering too all the volunteers who have registered to help their communities and all who help friends, neighbours and families during this difficult time.

“Importantly, we must all do our part and stay in, wash our hands and when out for our exercise or shopping maintain social distancing”.

Helpline for Vulnerable Residents – Please Share

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Could everyone please share the details of a new local helpline that has gone live today for elderly, frail and vulnerable people who do not have relatives, friends or members of the community to help take care of them.

HantsHelp4Vulnerable can be contacted on 0333 370 4000 and will provide advice and information, as well as co-ordinate requests for practical help, passing them through to the appropriate Local Response Centre – there is one based in each of Hampshire’s 11 districts. Please share this both on Facebook and in person with anyone who you feel may be vulnerable at this time.

John Penrose, Member of Parliament for Weston, Worle and the surrounding villages, is looking to recruit a full or half time caseworker as medium-term sick-leave cover. 

The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic, highly organised, with keen political awareness and views sympathetic to the Conservative Party. Helping local people to find answers to policy related questions will be a key part of this role and experience using case management software would be advantageous. 

Key responsibilities include but not exclusively:

  • Drafting and mailing letters to residents on a range of issues
  • Dealing with enquiries from constituents
  • Liaising with Government departments, local councils and other organisations
  • Helping to communicate aspects of John’s work to relevant audiences 
  • Research local, regional or national issues to support the MP’s work
  • Secretarial and administrative office support, file management, mail handling

The successful candidate will have:

  • Keen political awareness and be sympathetic to Conservative Party values
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Experience of working with members of the public
  • An ability to take the initiative and work proactively to manage competing deadlines, to prioritise tasks and work independently
  • Excellent attention to detail, especially in written communications
  • The ability to work in a sensitive and confidential manner at all times
  • Excellent IT skills including Microsoft Office packages
  • Experience with customer / case management software would be helpful

    Application Details

    The interview and training process will comply with social distancing rules. Please send your CV and covering letter to Marc.Aplin@Parliament.uk. The closing date for applications is 5th April 2020


Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Coronavirus advice & guidance

With a growing number of Covid-19 cases, I have been contacted by many constituents concerned by how this pandemic impacts them and what they should do. I have set out advice and online resources below from the NHS, the Government, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and more to assist you. If you have a specific query please contact me by email or phone.

Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister on 23rd March, the United Kingdom, including Oldham East and Saddleworth, is in lockdown. This means that everyone should stay at home for the next three weeks. You should only leave your house to buy essential supplies including foods or medicines, or to go to work, if you are a key worker, and for daily exercise. You may also leave your house if you are helping to care for a vulnerable person. When you go out, please make sure you maintain 2 meters between yourself and other people. More information here.

The good news is that the majority of people who become infected with Covid-19 will experience mild or moderate symptoms, and will be able to cope at home without needing to contact the NHS. Some people may have the virus and not even know it!

What are the symptoms of Covid-19 infection?

The NHS has identified the following symptoms of Covid-19:

  • A dry cough
  • A high temperature (over 37 degrees Celsius)
  • Shortness of breath

It’s possible to have these symptoms but not have Covid-19. You might have a cold, the flu or another common illness instead.

If you have these symptoms, you need to isolate yourself at home for 7 days. If you live with someone with Covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home for 14 days. Please do not visit GPs, pharmacies or other NHS facilities.

If need advice or become more unwell, please use their online services (instead of phoning) where possible.

What can I do to prevent the spread of Covid-19?

The best way to help and to stay healthy is to follow the advice of the NHS. This can change as we understand more how the virus affects us and is transmitted between people, so please check the latest advice every other day.

Right now, this means everyone must make every effort to stay at home and practise social distancing.


  1. Stay at home.
  2. Only leave the house to purchase food/supplies/medicine (as infrequently as possible), to go to work if you are a key worker, to care for a vulnerable person and to exercise (once a day). Please keep 2 metres away from people not in your household, even if you are outside, including on your commute. This includes greetings, handshakes and goodbyes
  3. Wash your hands with soap/sanitiser frequently and making sure you catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and throw that in the bin

If you can, please work from home.

It is essential that if you, or someone in your household, has CV-19 symptoms you stay at home in self isolation for 14 days. CV-19 is very infectious; it can be transmitted to others even when an individual has no symptoms.  You can find self isolation guidance here.

If your family, friends, or colleagues are displaying symptoms, please advise them to stay at home too.

Should you seek a doctor if you think you have the Covid-19?

The NHS are seeking to increase testing for those with CV-19 symptoms, including a new ‘bedside’ or home test. However, even without confirmation through testing, if you have symptoms please self-isolate. This includes self-isolating from others in your household.

Please do NOT go to your local GP or A&E if you believe you may have the CV-19.

If your condition gets worse, your symptoms do not improve within 7 days or you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, please use the NHS 111 online service.

There are no current medicines or vaccines for the Coronavirus. As this is a virus and not a bacterial infection, antibiotics will not help. Please stay in isolation until you have recovered.

What support is available for British citizens stranded overseas?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued an advisory notice asking British people to return to the UK now or as soon as possible if you are abroad. Travel advice published by the Government can be found here.

If you are abroad, you should:

  1. contact your airline or travel company now
  2. keep up-to-date with travel advice pages. FCO are updating information on returning from the country you’re in as quickly as they can
  3. for real-time updates, follow the relevant embassy or high commission’s social media for the country you’re in

Where commercial routes do not exist, the government is to charter special charter flights to fly to priority countries to bring back UK citizens. When special return flights become available, these will be advertised by the embassy and British nationals on travel advice pages and embassy social media and those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email.

I understand the logistical nightmare this situation throws up for the Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth staff, who are based in countries across the world, but more, not less, information is essential in times like these. I’ve written to Secretary of State Dominic Raab asking for an urgent response about the Government’s plans to repatriate UK citizens. You can read my letter in full here.

If you or family members are stranded abroad and need assistance, please contact my office by email abrahamsd@parliament.uk

Where are safe places to get information about the Covid-19?

Spreading misinformation won’t help us protect against the Coronavirus, but unfortunately, it is very easily done.

These are the best places to get safe and reliable information about the Coronavirus. If you see information online that looks sensational or incorrect, please report it (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

I sympathise profoundly with the families of those who have lost loved ones, as well as all other individuals who have tested positive for Coronavirus. I would also like to pay tribute to all our public servants, including in the NHS, social care and more widely. The next few weeks are going to be difficult but by working together, supporting each other, we can come through this.

Advice for faith groups:

The Government’s advice to avoid large gatherings extends to faith groups.

The Church of England and the Muslim Council of Britain have called for the suspension of all congregational activities until further notice.

If you have just returned from abroad:

NHS advice is now to stay at home for 14 days if you have a persistent and new cough, or a temperature over 37c. Please do this, even if you have not been abroad in the last 2 weeks.

Useful agencies:

Citizen’s Advice Bureau – Information on employment and social security can be found here, including information about statutory sick pay.

To contact my office with your query:

  • in the first instance, please email abrahamsd@parliament.uk including details about your case
  • to call on Mon & Tues between 9am to 1pm: 07494553005
  • to call on Weds & Fri between 9am to 1pm: 07495995509

Please note, until further notice, my fortnightly MP advice surgeries will be carried out over the phone.

Who is at risk of Covid-19 infection?

Covid-19 (CV-19) is a new coronavirus which affects the lungs and airways. As such it affects our breathing.

Those at risk from this virus are older people, particularly those over 70 years old, and people with existing conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and compromised immune systems. You can find a detailed list here.

Evidence from other parts of the world suggests that these groups are most at risk of more severe disease symptoms from CV-19 infection which may need hospitalisation.

In order to protect those who are at high risk of getting seriously ill with Coronavirus, this week (from 23rd March) the NHS will be contacting 1.5 million people to ask they stay at home for at least 12 weeks. Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted as you will be given specific advice about what to do.

Should I keep going to work or sending my children to school?

Nurseries, schools, colleges and Universities closed on Friday 20th March until further notice. Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

If you are a parent whose job has been defined as critical to the COVID-19 response or you work in one of the critical sectors listed here, then your children will be prioritised for education provision or child care.

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

There are special arrangements for Children on Free School Meals or with a social worker.

The Government is advising all those that can work-from-home to do so. It is best to check with your business or employer for advice on this.

I am receiving large numbers of queries from constituents being asked to go to work in non-essential occupations such as distribution warehouses, many of which supply sports equipment, fashion and other non-essential products. I have asked the Business Secretary to take immediate action to lockdown these non-essential workplaces. You can read my letter in full here. I am also raising my concerns with employers and trade unions to ensure appropriate actions are taken to keep employees of essential occupations safe.

For details on my office’s working arrangements, please click here.

What financial support is available to my family and me?

Last week, the Government announced some financial security measures for individuals eligible for Statutory Sick Pay who have either contracted the virus and become ill or have been forced to self-isolate. These are outlined here.

The Chancellor subsequently announced a wider package of measures for employees in work including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the details of which are outlined here. There are still significant gaps for micro and small businesses, self-employed people and freelancers and for those dependent on social security.  I have pressed the Chancellor to provide more support for these groups and will continue to push for this.  You can read my letter here.

What financial support is available for my business?

The Government has also announced financial support for businesses. I have argued for the loans to be converted to grants, for greater support for those sectors who have been particularly affected by social distancing measures, for example, the retail, hospitality, leisure and creative industries, and for speedy and practical delivery systems. My letter to the Chancellor can be found here.

Should I continue to use public transport, attend mass gatherings or visit crowded areas?

The UK is now in lockdown. This means that you should stay at home for the next three weeks. Outside of a few exceptions, you should only leave your house to buy food/supplies/medicines, go to work if you are defined as a key worker, care for a vulnerable person or for daily exercise.

Please avoid public transport where you cannot maintain 2 meters between passengers. Try to make alternative arrangements. Public transport services are also being impacted so please keep checking updates for services around Greater Manchester here.

How can I help?

We all need to pull together and think of each other. Volunteers are needed now more than ever to help community projects like foodbanks who are desperately needing staff. I have written to the Home Secretary to ask that in this unprecedented time, fees for DBS checks are waived.

If you can do support those volunteering programmes through recognised organisations like Action Together.

To find out more and look at available opportunities please go to the Action Together website:

Another way we can help is to donate at extra item to Oldham Foodbank when doing your weekly shop.

You can find out what items are most needed and where you can drop off goods on the Oldham Foodbank website:

The post COVID – 19 FAQs appeared first on Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman MSP has provided the following update to MPs and MSPs on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Scotland’s Health & Social Care Services. Read the letter in full (published 1st April 2020) … Continue reading

The post UPDATE FROM SCOTLAND’S HEALTH SECRETARY (1 APRIL 2020) appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

The government’s Job Retention Scheme - or plan to furlough workers - is very welcome, but the cut-off date risks leaving many seasonal workers, particularly here in rural Scotland, facing extreme hardship.

PM urged to ‘Protect our care homes’

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell has called on the Prime Minister to urgently deliver Personal Protection Equipment to care homes in Newcastle. Ms McKinnell has also called for care workers to be included in the UK’s testing regime. Last Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson promised that all care workers would have their PPE … Continue reading PM urged to ‘Protect our care homes’
Calling all sports clubs and community groups - there's funding available to help with costs whilst things are closed down, particularly if you can help people to stay active at home.
Read more about Sport England's £195 million package here.

The Government has announced a new £75 million package with major airlines including easyJet, Jet2 and Virgin, to help people across the country – including residents in Beverley and Holderness – return home.

The funding will enable special charter flights to priority countries where commercial routes do not exist due to lockdowns implemented by countries around the world. They will be prioritised according to the number of stranded British travellers, as well as their vulnerability. This will include an assessment of health provision in each country.

Graham Stuart, the MP for Beverley and Holderness, has welcomed the plans after being contacted by a number of worried families who have relatives stranded abroad.

Graham commented, “I’ve been in frequent contact with officials in the Foreign Office to try and bring stranded constituents home. Everywhere from Morocco to Peru, the global lockdown happened at such short notice in some places that people didn’t have enough time to get out.

“This package comes as a relief, as it makes it more likely that we’ll be able to bring people home to see their loved ones again.

“The best thing to do for those abroad is to sign up to regular updates for their location from the Government’s travel advice pages, and to also follow updates from the British embassy’s social media pages. If anyone has any worries or concerns, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact me via the details on my website.”

Charter flights are already running to Ghana and Tunisia, with more countries due to be added this week with the aim of bringing people back from countries where commercial routes are completely suspended.

The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, added: “The arrangements agreed today will provide a clearer basis to organise special charter flights where Britons find themselves stranded. Our priority will always be the most vulnerable.”

March newsletter

Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

Click here to read my March newsletter


In my newsletter, you will find information about the work I’ve been doing this month as Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kiburn and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Early Years.

My primary focus this month has been the coronavirus crisis, and I am doing everything I can to represent constituents who are facing unprecedented challenges in every aspect of their lives. You can keep updated about the coronavirus-related issues I’m raising with Government Ministers on the news section of my dedicated coronavirus website.

I understand and share concerns about the implications of online retailers remaining open at this time. I have personally raised my concerns directly with the Chief Executives of local businesses, Barnsley Council, Government Ministers and Trade Unions and I will continue to push for Government guidelines on social distancing and workers’ safety to be fully implemented and enforced.

COVID-19: Government help and fighting disinformation

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

Over the last week the Government has been focused on restricting the spread of the coronavirus by introducing new social distancing measures and urging people to stay at home as far as possible. The early indications are that this may be starting to slow the rate of new infections of the virus, so whilst this […]

Anne Marie's Weekly Column - Covid-19 Update

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Support for the Self-Employed

It was good to visit the East Elmbridge Foodbank at Esher Green Baptist Church today. I was impressed with how – given the social distancing measures and guidelines that are now in place – the local council and voluntary groups are gearing up to support the most needy in our community. I talked through local plans to meet the Coronavirus challenge with Jenny French from East Elmbridge Foodbank, Pastor Ryan Ahern, Surrey County Council Leader Tim Oliver, and Annie Emmins from the Besom charity.

We discussed the delivery of food to the elderly, the vulnerable and other at risk groups – as well as how to ensure a steady supply from wholesalers and robust distribution networks.

As your local MP, I will be supporting them over the coming weeks to reach vulnerable people who are isolated at this difficult time.

Stewart Hosie has expressed his disappointment that planned BT works to install fibre optic broadband in Monifeith have been delayed.
The Dundee East MP received assurances from BT late last year that planned work would be finished by the end of March 2020 however this has been pushed back to May, with the possibility of future delays due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Commenting Stewart Hosie said:
"I am disappointed this work has been delayed, particularly as so many people are expected to work from home and are now being forced to rely on the poor internet service that currently exists in the area."
"When I received assurances in October last year that fibre optic broadband would be available in Monifeith by the end of March it was great news for my constituents who have had to make do with slow speeds for some time."
"I hope that the work will now be carried out by May, however with the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the restrictions on movement and working it is only right that BT's priority is focused on repairing and maintenance for the foreseeable future."

Dr Ruth Bonnington – a GP who works in Bensham and Saltwell, has helpfully provided the below advice around COVID-19, the transmission, symptoms and how to best protect ourselves. I hope you find this useful.


Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined new restrictions on people leaving their homes to help slow the spread of coronavirus as he gave an address to the nation from No10 on Monday evening.

Here is his statement in full:

Good Evening,

The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.

All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.

And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.

Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.

So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.

Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.

And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.

And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.

Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

– shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

– one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;

– any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and

– travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

– close all shops selling non-essential goods,? including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;

– we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;

– and we’ll stop all social events?, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.

And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.

Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7,500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.

With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment.

We are accelerating our search for treatments.

We are pioneering work on a vaccine.

And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.

I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.

Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.

But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted.

Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together, to halt the spread of this disease, to protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.

And I know that as they have in the past so many times, the people of this country will rise to that challenge.

And we will come through it stronger than ever.

We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.

And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

Thank you.

The post BORIS JOHNSON’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION IN FULL appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Covid-19 Helplines and Advice

Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

Covid-19 Helplines and Websites

Please find below a list of helpline numbers and websites where you can find information and support in relation to the outbreak of Covid-19.

As the situation is moving so rapidly, we will try to keep these updated as and when new information is available.

Please be aware, however, that when the Government makes an announcement, it can takes a few days for this to be actioned within the relevant departments and organisations.



• Scottish Government helpline: 0800 028 2816. Open daily from 8am – 10pm


For those being asked to shield more health reasons, support and advice can be found:
North Ayrshire Residents
Tel: 01294 310 000
Email: contactus@north-ayrshire.gov.uk
South Ayrshire Residents
Helpline: 01292 616 101
Email: c19.CommunitySupport@south-ayrshire.gov.uk


• Online advice on managing the impact of Covid-19 on their child’s learning and family life: www.parentclub.scot
• North Ayrshire Council – www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/Education-learning-Coronavirus-COVID-19-updates.aspx
• South Ayrshire Council – https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/article/19485/Schools-and-early-years-centres


• South Ayrshire Lifeline Support – For help with food pack deliveries, prescriptions, hearing aid batteries, befriending
Tel: 0800 432 0510

North Ayrshire Community Hubs – information on services, Foodbank distribution and prescription delivery


HMRC helpline: 0800 0159 559. Open Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 8am – 4pm

Scottish Enterprise helpline: 0300 303 0660. Open Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm
Business Gateway North Ayrshire: 01294 507 509
Business Gateway South Ayrshire: 01292 427 551

• RATES RELIEF AND GRANTS for non-domestic properties, including businesses
• Guidance for employees, employers and businesses


The Institute of Chartered Accountants also have a lot of very useful information for business: https://www.icaew.com/insights/coronavirus/uk-practical-business-advice-covid-19

ACAS also has useful information from employers and employees:


Travellers stranded abroad:


Home Office helpline: 0800 678 1767. Open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm


DWP GUIDANCE (as of 23rd March 2020)

From Thursday 19th March, people receiving benefits do not have to attend job centre appointments for three months;
Fit notes will not be required for people who need to claim ESA Universal Credit because of coronavirus;
Jobcentres remain open and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.

ESA / Universal Credit
New ESA claimants who are diagnosed with or are staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus will have money for the first 7 days of your claim included in their first payment;
People diagnosed with or staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit, and can receive up to one month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre;
People diagnosed with or staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus, will not be sanction, but must inform the DWP in good time;
If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to having symptoms of coronavirus an Isolation Note can be obtained from NHS 111 online. If you live with someone that has symptoms, an Isolation Note can be obtained from the NHS website

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
Statutory Sick Pay will be payable if you are staying at home on Government advice, not just if you are infected by coronavirus. This will apply from 13th March 2020.
People diagnosed with or staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus, will have the work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness




For practical advice and information for issues surrounding Coronavirus, including information on Consumer Advice, Employment Advice, Housing Advice, Money & Personal Finance Advice, and Job Retention Scheme:
Tel: 0808 800 9060 – there is also a Live Chat facility on the website






Age Scotland: 0800 12 44 222
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm


Scotland’s 24hr Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
Tel: 0800 027 1234

Rape Crisis Scotland
Tel: 08088 01 03 02. Calls to this number are free.
Email: support@rapecrisisscotland.org.uk
Text: 07537 410027.

Tel: 0808 8010327


Shelter Scotland:0808 800 4444
Opening hours are Monday-Friday 8am-8pm; weekends 8am-5pm


Which UK hub has the latest news, advice and community discussions related to Covid-19
Please note that some of this information will only apply to England.


Parentline Scotland: 0800 028 2233. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm; weekends, 9am to 12pm.

Lone Parent Helpline: 0808 801 0323. Open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm

Contact: 0808 808 3555. Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5pm

Literacy resources for ages birth to 12: https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/


Breathing Space Scotland: 0800 83 85 87. Open Monday – Thursday 6pm to 2am; Friday, Saturday and Sunday 6pm – 6am


SSPCA: 03000 999 999. Open 7am-10pm every day


For customers over 70 and in self-isolation. Open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week:

NatWest – 0800 051 4176
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 051 4177
Ulster NI – 0800 092 4238

For customers who are NHS workers. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

NatWest – 0800 046 2418
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 0466734
Ulster NI – 0800 0466778

For Business customers:
NatWest Business hub – https://www.business.natwest.com/business/support-centre/service-status/coronavirus.html
Royal Bank of Scotland Business hub – https://www.business.rbs.co.uk/business/support-centre/service-status/coronavirus.html
Ulster Bank Business Hub – https://digital.ulsterbank.co.uk/business/support/service-status/coronavirus.html


Vulnerable customers can register for their Priority Services Register online https://www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/pages/priority_services_registration_form.aspx

General information on energy supply can be found at


Association of British Insurers – Consumer Q&A

The post Covid-19 Helplines and Advice appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford.

The spread of coronavirus presents an unprecedented challenge and is leading to people across this country making huge sacrifices to protect one another.

As the Prime Minister has said, while we need to create physical distance between ourselves, we must at the same time have closer social support for each other.

That means looking after the most vulnerable people in our society, and alleviating worry as much as possible, at what is of course an anxious time.

All of us in Government are working hard to do just that, and make sure that practical support is forthcoming during this national emergency. We are mobilising every part of Government to protect both our people and our country.

As Housing Secretary, I know that renters and landlords will have been particularly worried about paying their rent and mortgages. As a result, I have moved swiftly to ensure that nobody needs to worry about losing their home at this difficult time, when the security of a home has never been more important.

I have taken decisive action and will bring forward emergency legislation to ensure that no renter will be forced out of their home through this period, and that landlords will be protected too.

For renters in both the private and social sector, there will be a moratorium on all new evictions and clear guidance has been issued stating that existing eviction processes should be dealt with appropriately, prioritising the safety and health of citizens across the country.

Let there be no doubt: renters do not need to be worried about the threat of eviction.

This Government is also clear that no one should be concerned about not being able to afford their mortgage if they fall into financial difficulty due to this challenging time.

We recognise that landlords may also face additional pressures, with concerns about meeting mortgage payments. We have therefore confirmed that all Buy to Let landlords can benefit from a three-month mortgage payment holiday where they are experiencing difficulties due to corona virus.

This is designed to alleviate the pressure on landlords, who I know will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves while also ensuring that no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

This mirrors the mortgage payment holiday that other mortgage holders will also be able to access. These measures will protect renters and landlords, ensuring everyone gets the support they need.

The way that landlords have engaged with us on this issue has been hugely positive. I congratulate them for stepping up to the plate and working collaboratively with us to ensure that tenants are protected at this difficult time.

Part of my Ministerial portfolio is also to tackle homelessness. This is always a priority for me and requires even more of my attention during this crisis.

To address the specific danger posed to rough sleepers by coronavirus, I have announced an initial £3.2 million of emergency funding to support them if they need to self-isolate. It will ensure that councils are able to put emergency measures in place to avoid urgent assistance.

Local Government is at forefront of our national effort, and I have spoken to over 300 council leaders and sector bodies to ensure they are well placed to respond to coronavirus and protect vital services for communities.

The weeks ahead will not be easy, but ruthless and determined collective action will allow us to succeed, turn the tide and return to normality.

We have an enormous challenge ahead of us and but my message is clear – this Government will do whatever it takes to help people across this country at this difficult time.

Originally published by The Daily Telegraph 20/03/20

Coronavirus – guidance and advice

Karin Smyth (Bristol South)

I’ve been contacted by constituents who are, understandably, concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on them and their families.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for our public health and our economy at an individual, local, national, and international level.

Below, I’ve compiled some key information which may be helpful during this period of uncertainty.

NHS guidelines

The NHS has a plan to cope with the spread of the virus and has some essential advice for people on its website, here.

If you believe you may have contracted Coronavirus, you can check your symptoms via NHS 111’s online symptom checker, here.

Everyone is encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water.

Government guidelines

The UK Government has a helpful online Coronavirus hub, here.

It includes the latest “stay at home” (self-isolating) guidance here.

If you must go out, please follow the government guidelines on social distancing here.

It is important that we all play our part in helping to prevent the spread of this virus. The measures that the UK Government has put in place are there to protect us all – and particularly older and vulnerable people whom we may unknowingly pass the virus onto.

Strong adherence to the latest public health advice will also help to ensure that our NHS can cope with the likely increased demand over the coming days, weeks, and potentially months.

Support for employees

Many people are, understandably, concerned about their job situation as a result of the uncertainty around Coronavirus – particularly people on zero hours contracts and those unable to work due to self-isolation, social distancing and caring for members of their family. Others are facing losing their jobs as a result of this.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – the government has cover the cost of 80% of employees earnings if they are furloughed due to their workplace closing as part of the Coronavirus response. It is hoped that this will result in fewer job losses. More info, here.

The rules regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) have been updated in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. The latest changes are available here.

The Self Employment Income Support Scheme – to support self-employed people, the government is allowing you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. Tax and VAT payments have also been deferred. More info, here.

If you’ve recently been made unemployed, you can find out more about the support available here. The Government is reviewing this and taking extra measures in response to the impact of Coronavirus.

School closures

With the announced school and nursery closures across the UK, I know that many parents are concerned about the amount of leave they may be able to take to look after their children.

You can find information about your rights to time off for dependants here. Please also check with your employer as some have more generous allowances than others.

The government has said that school provision will be made available for children of key workers (such as NHS workers, police and those charity workers involved in the Coronavirus response) and vulnerable children. See who qualifies as a key worker here. You will need to inform your child’s school or nursery if you are in this category and want to use this provision.

Panic buying

There have been reports of panic buying from supermarkets and lengthy waits for home delivery. The UK’s leading supermarkets have all clearly stated that there is enough food and household essential supplies to go around if everybody sticks to buying what they need. Many have put measures in place to try and manage this, including reserved time slots for older people and other groups and a 3 item limit on certain things.

Supermarket responses to Coronavirus

  • Aldi’s response here
  • Asda’s response here
  • Iceland’s response here
  • Lidl’s response here
  • Morrisons’ response here
  • Sainsbury’s response here
  • Tesco’s response here

Please also remember there are smaller shops across Bristol South many of which do have the supplies you need.

Food Banks

Local food bank demand has increased in recent weeks and some have been affected by panic buying. Citizens Advice has a guide on how to get help from a food bank, here. It usually requires a referral from a health or social care professional or relevant support organisation.

Bristol South has a number of independent food banks (see below)

  • Carpenter’s Food and Support based in the Withywood Centre. Contact: wasps@hotmail.com
  • Refresh Bedminster café and food bank on East St. Contact: refreshbs3@gmail.com
  • Victoria Park Baptist Church food bank. Contact: vpbc.foodbank@gmail.com

Please note that food banks have been affected by volunteers needing to self-isolate, shortages related to panic buying and may need support in the form of donations of money, food items and time (volunteering).

Community support

It’s been great to see so many people and organisations coming together to support the response to Coronavirus.

The NHS is looking for volunteers to help up people who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. It includes delivering medicines from pharmacies and driving patients to appointments as well as calling people on the phone. You can sign up to become NHS Volunteer Responders, here.

Bristol City Council is co-ordinating the local and has a registration page for anyone interested in volunteering to help with this. To register your interest as a volunteer, please see here.

If you can afford to donate to the local Coronavirus Response Fund, you can do so here. It will help charities and community organisations who are supporting people through this pandemic.

Travel advice

The Government has advised against non-essential travel on public transport. People should be staying at home unless absolutely necessary to go out.

Local public transport services (buses and trains) are running reduced services with extra measures in place to help tackle the spread of Coronavirus. Please see here for the latest travel updates.

The government has announced a temporary 6 month MOT exemption to enable vital services to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine. All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.More info, here.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all non-essential international travel. If you are currently overseas on holiday or seeking to return from a period abroad, you are advised to contact your airline or travel company. You are also able to contact the FCO by calling (0)207 008 1500.

Support for businesses

Bristol City Council is publishing regular updates on its website, including information about changes to council services while social distancing measures are in place. For the latest updates, please see here.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an extensive package of measures to help businesses cope during the Coronavirus pandemic, including reduced business rates. More info on this, here.

Find out more about the government support planned here. And the support locally, here.

Please note that the UK Government has indicated that the package of support available will be reviewed as the outbreak continues.

Constituency surgeries

In line with the current public health advice, I have postponed by upcoming advice surgeries and face-to-face community engagements. My team and I are still working hard to respond to constituents’ concerns as quickly as possible, although we will be prioritising cases relating to the Coronavirus outbreak.

If you live in Bristol South and need further advice or support, please get in touch by emailing karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk

I hope that you and your family stay safe during this difficult time – please do reach out for help if you need it. The community response to this situation has been heartening. Together, we can ensure that we support those who need help.

COVID-19: School Closures

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

This afternoon schools across Aldridge-Brownhills will close to help with the containment of the coronavirus.

The Government has issued the following Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). This will be updated as we have further information available.


Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

I am following Government guidance about Covid-19 and limiting all non-essential social contact. I have, therefore, cancelled all constituency surgeries with immediate effect until further notice. If you require my assistance with any urgent matters I would ask that you contact me via email at jonathan.djanogly.mp@parliament.uk with your full name, address, telephone number and details of your enquiry and I will respond to you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience in these difficult and unprecedented times.


Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Alec is advising all constituents to follow Public Health England advice for their own safety and the safety of others.

Do not leave your home except to:

1. Shop for basic necessities;
2. Exercise once a day;
3. Meet medical needs/provide care;
4. Travel to work (if a necessity, if you can’t work remotely).

Find out how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help on the NHS website.

Please read, share and regularly check the Government guidance as the situation and the response to it is changing daily.

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

* washing your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
* avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
* avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
* cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
* clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Finally, Alec is working with local Leeds City Councillors to best co-ordinate volunteer efforts in our community. If you’re able to offer help please go to www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk

The post COVID-19: GOVERNMENT ADVICE appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke.


David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

the National Lottery’s Community Fund

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

I met with the National Lottery’s Community Fund, which has provided over £2.4 million worth of grants to local projects here in St Helens North alone. These include Park Farm ACYP in Moss Bank, Invest for the Future at the Deafness Resource Centre, as well as the FIT scheme at St Aidan’s in Billinge. Thousands of projects benefit from the Community Fund every year. To find out more, click the […]

Hull MP reacts to the Budget

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North)

Diana Johnson spoke in the Commons debate on the Chancellor's Budget Statement.
The Hull North MP's remarks ranged across several key issues for Hull North, including support for workers over the Coronavirus, the NHS and public health, flood resilience and devolution for the Humber.

Supporting Constituents

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

I want to ensure that I am able to continue to support you with any issues you have while we are all working together to contain coronavirus.

Along with colleagues, I am continually monitoring the situation in relation to the Covid–19 outbreak in order to ensure the wellbeing of my constituents and employees and to minimise the spread of the virus.

As part of these efforts, my team and I aim to reduce non-essential face-to-face meetings, and where a face-to-face meeting does take place we are introducing some sensible measures to better protect you and others.

What does this mean?

➡ We will try to accommodate alternatives to face-to-face meetings i.e. telephone or conference calls, Skype or Video Conferencing meetings.

➡ If a face-to-face meeting is essential, we will ask you to confirm that you have not been to or are not in contact with individuals returning from Category 1 or 2 areas. Up to date information on what areas are Category 1 or 2 can be found here

➡ For your protection where such a face to face meeting is essential for you, we will dispense with handshakes, operate a ‘safe space’ distance for seating and we will ask you to make use of hand sanitisers.

You will find up to date advice at https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus

My office can be contacted on 01463 611024. If no one is available to answer your call, please leave a short message along with your name and number and we will get back to you. Alternatively, email me direct on drew.hendry.mp@parliament.uk and I will do my best to help.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.


The post Supporting Constituents appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.

Philip Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what provisions are included in the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill 2019-20 to protect national parks and AONBs from aircraft noise.

Cllr Webster Speech on Budget at Full Council

Alex Norris (Nottingham North)

Lord Mayor, 

The Labour Group and the Leader of the Council gave me political responsibility for the council’s finances less than 10 months ago. 

I feel fortunate to have reached this milestone, delivering my first council budget today, a milestone that Sajid Javid didn’t manage to make. Just 10 short months, but already onto my 3rd Chancelllor of the Exchequer. It has indeed been a time of considerable political change and flux. 

Our residents went to the polls in May last year and returned 50 Labour Councillors. They again went to the polls in December and all Nottingham City constituencies returned Labour Members of Parliament.

I know that I speak for my colleagues when I say that representing our residents interests is always our top priority. 

For Nottingham this is a time of great challenges. I’m going to set out those challenges and explain what the council is doing to meet them. 

After a decade of Government austerity, 10 years of Government funding cuts those challenges have become increasingly difficult to navigate, balancing a number of competing priorities. 

Chronic underfunding of local services by the Government over such a prolonged period of time has consequences. It’s caused social and economic issues that in my view were and are unnecessary. Social and economic issues that in the medium to long term will cost the public purse more. The recent updated Marmot Review highlighted for instance that, and I quote  ‘the amount of time people spend in poor health has increased across England since 2010. inequalities in poor health harm individuals, families, communities and are expensive to the public purse. They are also unnecessary and can be reduced with the right policies.’

Austerity has impacted the poorest people, hardest and that’s wrong. 

Let’s just remember what’s happened over the lost decade of austerity, the decade of low growth, the decade of stagnant wages, the decade of underinvestment, the decade of increasing child poverty, the decade of school cuts. 

Let’s remember that Nottingham has been in the Conservative Government’s firing line throughout and let’s also remember that this is not a new Government, it’s Michael Gove, it’s Liz Truss, it’s Grant Schapps, it’s Boris Johnson. These people have been in Government for years and years. They are austerity. 

Since 2010 Government has consistently cut the funding for Nottingham’s public services. Nottingham now receives over £100million less in Government funding per year than it did.  £100million less every year to fund libraries, parks, public toilets, the local road network, public transport, youth centres, street cleaning, trading standards, environmental health, drug and alcohol services. We’re a hundred million pounds a year down on the resources we can put in to tackling anti social behaviour, supporting the homeless and looking after our most vulnerable residents. 

Over £100million less each and every year.

£529 per Nottingham household cut. 

Since 2012 this council has had to make savings of over £270 million pounds. 

It’s this Government’s attack on Nottingham’s households that’s led to a gap in the council’s budget yet again for the next financial year to the tune of £15.6million. 

After a huge amount of work by my colleague Portfolio Holders and Council Officers I’m able to set out budget proposals today to close this gap and deliver a balanced budget for the next financial year.

We have significant additional demands in our children’s services department. Like many councils up and down the country, but especially in big cities, urban areas and areas with higher than average levels of deprivation we have growing demand in children’s services. More vulnerable children have been brought into the care of the council and other additional costs associated with protecting children means that we’re putting more money into those services next year. 

Almost all councils are currently spending more on children’s services than they had budgeted for and therefore are having to allocate additional resources.

We’re also putting more money into care services for elderly people in recognition of a growing number of people requiring council funded care.

These two areas of spending – looking after the care needs of older residents and protecting vulnerable children are now by far the biggest areas of spend for the council. 

It’s now urgent that Government brings forward proposals to deal with the growing funding gap that councils face. As demand for care services continues to rise the Local Government Association has warned of a funding gap of £6.4 billion by 2024. After many years of promises from Government to bring forward new policy proposals to fund care services for elderly and vulnerable people it seems that realistically we are nowhere near a solution. Successive governments have failed to deal with this fundamental issue. 

It is the growing demand for children’s and adults services, the government’s failure to lead and the chronic underfunding of these services that is driving instability in the finances of councils across the country. 

Remember that these are literally life or death services for many of our residents, they are vitally important, but trying to fund them from council tax and the half of business rates that Government allows us to retain locally is unsustainable and unfair.

We have no choice therefore, but to apply the Government’s adult social care precept to council tax bills yet again. The Government expects us to apply this additional 2% on to council tax bills. 

The Governments adult social care precept has now added £160 to an average council tax bill in Nottingham. 

And it’s just about the worst way to fund these key services. Council tax isn’t based on ability to pay, its regressive so that poorer households pay proportionally more than wealthy households and it embeds inequality and unfairness regionally and nationally with councils in the poorest parts of the country able to raise the least new income. 

When you consider that 1% added to council tax bills in Richmond will translate to over £6 per person in new income for their council, yet here in Nottingham a 1% increase in council tax raises around half that level of new income to fund local services. 

Which area do you think has greater demand on its children’s and adult care services? 

Not only is this a government stealth tax, it’s an unfair tax that does nothing to level up, in fact it does the opposite. 

Let me be clear – The council tax rises proposed in this budget are a result of Government funding cuts. I will continue to inform the Government of my belief that council tax is no way to fund care services for older people. 

I need to point out further unfairness of the Government’s approach and I highlighted these points to the new Chancellor in a letter I recently sent to him. In anticipation of his first budget on Wednesday I urged him to change course and end the unfairness, because while Nottingham has faced relentless funding cuts some of the wealthiest parts of the country have received additional funding. 

The attack on Nottingham to the tune of a £529 cut per household can be shockingly compared to a £19 increase in funding per household in Surrey for example. This must end. The Government’s funding formula, if unchanged, is expected to slash another £14 million from Nottingham, yet Surrey, one of the wealthiest parts of the country is set to receive an additional £26million. 

And not just Nottingham – residents in Nottingham would be rightly angry. As angry as residents in Durham – set to lose over £10 million, Dewsbury, set to lose another £6million and Doncaster set to lose another £5 million. Some of the poorest parts of the country set to be targeted yet again. 

My message to the Government is clear – stop your attack on Nottingham, stop your attack on Nottingham households and stop your unfair funding regime.

I sincerely hope the new Chancellor changes course on Wednesday. The people of Nottingham will be watching.

So our challenges are significant, but we’ve done a lot to meet these challenges. In many ways I’m proud of the way the council,our partner organisations and our communities have responded. There has been damage done by Government policy, but also great resilience in our city.

Whatever Conservative Governments throw at Nottingham, we will succeed, but we won’t forget.

In our budget proposals today we’ve worked hard to protect vital, front line services, to protect those services upon which our most vulnerable residents rely, with our dedicated council officers we’ve been innovative to bring in grant funding, to grow commercial income, to further embrace new technology and be as efficient as possible whilst demanding high standards of our services.

Despite the challenges we’re doing so much. We have an ambitious agenda, we’re still investing in Nottingham’s future, we’re confident in Nottingham and in Nottingham people, we’re helping to create new jobs, delivering the biggest regeneration programme for decades and growing the city. 

Each of my colleagues on the Executive and our assistant portfolio holders could point to excellent work happening in the council and I know that all of my colleague Councillors could demonstrate the positive work happening in their communities. 

When I see thousands of Nottingham children receiving a free book direct to their home every month, when I see that we’re a child friendly city, when I see that we’re working towards being the first city in the country to be carbon neutral, to improve health with the cleanest city air, to build the best children’s library in the country, those things give me great hope for our future. 

And all of those things that we can do as a council when combined with the resilience in our communities, the positive work of our partner organisations, our voluntary sector, the diversity of the city and our history of innovation and creativity I know that despite being held back by this Government, Nottingham will continue to progress. 

And because we are a progressive city, we are an inclusive city we will meet these challenges together. 

Lord Mayor I move the report. 
Councillor Sam Webster
Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and City Centre
Nottingham City Council 

The post Cllr Webster Speech on Budget at Full Council appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

Raise the Rate debate

Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the Environmental Agency on reducing levels of raw sewage discharged into (a) main and (b) non-main rivers by water companies.

Jesse’s Hereford Times Column

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

The floods this week have been so horrendous that it is impossible to think of anything else.

They are said to be the worst in living memory, and I can readily believe it.  For once the word "biblical" does not seem inappropriate. They testify to a world in which nature is becoming unbalanced, with supposedly once-in-a-lifetime freak events now occurring almost annually.

A&E at The Royal Glam

Chris Bryant (Rhondda)

A&E @ the Glam – Strength in Unity

I have said from the very beginning that if we are to ensure a 24 hour A&E Service at RGH then we need to forget about Party Politics, and come together to work cross-party.

We need you to play your part too, by signing the below letter. If you wish to do so then please let me know by filling in the form at the bottom of this page:


The configuration of Emergency NHS services across Cwm Taf Morgannwg has changed over the years – and will continue to change along with medical advances and changes in the local population. We welcome, for instance, the development of the new Major Trauma Centre at UHW, which will almost certainly save lives and we recognise that for some specialist forms of care it will be necessary to travel to a regional centre of excellence such as the Burns Unit at Morriston. We also understand that there is a UK-wide shortage of Emergency Consultants. and that Cwm Taf Morgannwg is not in a unique position with the recruitment challenges it faces,but would note that 5 of the 7 LHBs in Wales have substantially increased emergency consultant numbers over the last 6 years whereas Cwm Taf Morgannwg has not. We would argue that the uncertainty created over the future of the hospital due to the South Wales Programme has itself created a self-fulfilling prophecy about recruitment problems.

Our starting point, however, is that all NHS services should be safe, efficient and delivered as close to people’s homes as is medically and logistically feasible. Time-critical medical interventions can make the difference between life and death in many emergency situations and we are concerned that if the A&E were permanently to close at any one of the three hospitals, significant numbers of patients in some of the most deprived communities would not be able to get to an Emergency Department in time. A&E cannot be seen in isolation from other services such as GP surgeries, local minor injuries units and out-of-hours support. Additional capacity in these services would almost certainly lighten the load in the Emergency Departments, but this must be put in place before any changes to the configuration of Emergency Care is considered, let alone implemented, with evidence that they have substantially reduced the load on Emergency departments required before any changes. Changes to A&E provision at any one of the hospitals would have serious implications for other services within the hospital, including ITU and theatre and might harm the recruitment of other specialists.

There would be significant knock-on effects if the A&E at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital were to be downgraded to a Minor Injuries Unit, as the hospital would almost certainly lose its Intensive Care Unit and operating theatre. This could jeopardise the long-term future of the hospital. The RGH’s Emergency Department is the most used in the area, with roughly 65,000 attendances a year, and ranked the best in terms of viable outcomes.  We fear the two other Emergency Departments would find it impossible to cope with the additional workload and that many patients will travel instead to UHW, which is also already over-stretched. We are also concerned that extra A&E admissions to PCH and POW would put additional pressure on not just their respective A&E depts but onwards and throughout the hospital system. We are determined to work with people of all political parties and trades unions (and none) to get the best possible outcome for the communities we represent. We believe the eventual decision should be informed by clinical best practice and local experience on the ground – and not by any partisan consideration.

We are calling on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to do the following:
1) Rule out the closure of A&E at the RGH or changing it to a 24-hour Minor Injuries Unit.
2) Reinstate the option of maintaining a full consultant-led A&E at all three hospitals. This would require a serious new attempt at recruiting Emergency Consultants who would have secure full-time permanent posts working across all three hospitals. It would also require at least a ten-year commitment to RGH so that potential staff can apply with confidence.
3) Bring forward proposals to extend the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon and make these units more readily accessible for walk-in patients.
4) Bring forward other proposals for community health services, including improvements in the out-of-hours GP service, that might alleviate the pressure on all three A&E departments
and bring services closer to local communities.

In addition, we are calling on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to publish the following:
1) A socioeconomic and equality impact assessment of any proposed changes.
2) Detailed analyses of travel-to-hospital times, average ambulance response times and levels of car ownership, for all electoral wards in the area. that analyses such times during periods of poor weather.
3) Detailed statistics for levels of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, stroke and infant and adult mortality for all electoral wards in the area. and how they compare with the Welsh averages/wealthier wards in Wales.
4) An assessment of how many patients from each electoral ward would be affected by a proposal to move to an 8 to 8, and 8 to 10 and an 8 to midnight Emergency Department.
5) An assessment of capacity in the Emergency Departments at POW, PCH, and UHW and how they would cope with additional patients.
6) Statistics for the number of patients who are admitted on towards at each hospital from A&E.
7) An assessment of the impact to the Welsh Ambulance Service, Ambulance response times, handover response times, in terms of waiting times at hospitals, blue light trauma travel times
and non-emergency transport between hospitals.

Please wait...

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Welwyn Hatfield businesses continue to innovate and impress, with WMS Underfloor Heating being no exception as they plan to revolutionise the cooling sector.

Ashley Cooper, Managing Director of WMS, invited Grant to their offices in Woodside Lane in order to discuss how one of the UK’s leading suppliers and installers of underfloor heating plans to break into the cooling market with the launch of the Radiana cooling system.

During the visit, Ashley explained how WMS has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in a garage in 2003. It now plans to launch Radiana as a more environmentally friendly, energy efficient, and cheaper alternative to traditional air conditioning systems; with precise, location-based temperature control as just one of its unique features.

Following a demonstration of the system in action, Grant commented “I want to thank the employees and owners at WMS for inviting me. The innovation on display today is not only going to help WMS continue to flourish, but it also shows how forward-thinking, inventive businesses can address both consumer demands and environmental concerns.”

Ashley said ““It was a real pleasure to have Grant Shapps visit and experience our Radiana climate control system and hear his genuine interest in the innovative technology.

We demonstrated the product and explained the benefits it would bring to our environment and why we firmly believe that our system can have a significant effect in reducing the contribution to climate change.

We appreciated Grants enthusiasm for the product, and advice in taking it to market – he clearly saw the benefits it could bring to the UK and globally.”

Christmas Greetings

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

2019 Election Victory

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I would like to thank my constituents for re-electing me to serve as the Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen My campaign was simple. Get Brexit done and move onto the other important issues which, in my opinion, have not received the attention they deserve. The general election returned 109 new Conservative MP’s from all [...]

The post 2019 Election Victory appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Compensation package for Waspi women

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne)

Labour has pledged compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories.

Pay-outs of up to £31,000 will be made, with an average payment of £15,000.

The scheme will be delivered within Labour's first full five year term of government.

Payments will go to women born in the 1950s who had their state pension age hiked.

David Cameron's coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women's state pension age to 65 in November 2018 - followed by 66 in October 2020.

Labour will introduce a compensation scheme as rapidly as possible for the 3.7million women hit by the changes, which Cameron's Tory-Lib Dem government imposed in 2011.

It comes after Boris Johnson u-turned on his pledge to help those affected.

He dismissed the concerns of a woman who has lost out on her pension, telling her it’s “not possible” to right the huge wrong she and so many others have suffered.

The next Labour government will compensate women who were unfairly hit by the rise in the state pension age and give them the respect they deserve.

They were not able to prepare and have had to suffer serious financial consequences as a result.

We have a historic debt of honour to them.