On Monday 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England. The plan has 4 stages and certain criteria must be met before progressing to the next stage. The official guidance can be viewed here.
After a year of restrictions and sacrifices, proposals to gradually start lifting restrictions when it is safe to do so will come as a relief to many, in particular thousands of local parents juggling home schooling with work. However, we cannot forget those the Government has left behind in the pandemic. Businesses and people in my constituency who have been excluded from Government financial support have been shut out for 11 months now. It is vital businesses receive support whilst restrictions are still in place.
Read my response to the plans here.
I regularly attend national, regional and local briefings with officials regarding the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The local rollout is progressing well, with good uptake in our area. However, vaccine supply has been slow in February. Ministers have told me they expect this to improve significantly next month.
Latest Covid Numbers
At the time of writing, from 14 February to 20 February, there were 129 cases of coronavirus in Richmond upon Thames. This represents a decrease from the previous week. The incidence rate is 65.1/100,000, compared to a London-wide incidence of 79.7/100,000 and England-wide rate of 115.5/100,000.
Data source: https://www.datarich.info/covid-19/
Do you know of someone who might benefit from a video Carephone?
Vulnerable residents can apply for easy-to-use video communication tablets to keep in touch with their loved ones and carers.
Read more here.
Richmond Council’s Climate Emergency Strategy update
Richmond Council has announced its first Climate Emergency Strategy update. It includes plans to tackle food waste, switch to greener energy, and to plant more trees.
Find out more here.
Book a lateral flow test
All residents in the borough who are essential workers, volunteering or providing vital support for a vulnerable resident can now book a rapid COVID-19 test in Twickenham, Hampton & East Sheen.
The test is for people NOT experiencing symptoms.
Book now: www.richmond.gov.uk/book_lateral_flow_test
Healthwatch Richmond COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar
Healthwatch Richmond held a live webinar with a panel of health experts answering your questions on everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can watch the full event via this link.
Local meetings and events
Over the last couple of weeks I have:
- Met with local primary and secondary heads to discuss the return to schools and Government’s proposals on “catch-up” plans
- Participated in a roundtable on the importance and value of apprenticeships with Twickenham-based Hawk Training
- Met with Lis Chapple, Met Police Borough Commander for South West London. Staff absence levels have improved in recent weeks and there has been good adherence to lockdown rules locally.
Standing up for you
Urging the PM to tackle children’s looming mental health crisis
Too often, children and young people have been an afterthought in this pandemic. Many are feeling anxious, stressed and isolated.
That’s why I’ve urged the Prime Minister to provide a ringfenced fund to schools for mental health support so that every young person gets the support they deserve. Read more here.
I co-authored this article for the Times Red Box on this issue.
Attacking Government for levelling down London through cuts to higher education funding
The Government says it’s levelling up the UK, yet its proposals to cut funding to London universities only levels London down, with St Mary’s in Twickenham at risk of losing in excess of £800,000 per year. These cuts will be felt deeply by the poorest students and will widen disadvantage. The Government must rethink this decision.
Read more here and in and Evening Standard article here.
Demanding more funding for local schools to cover the costs of Covid
Many primary schools in Twickenham are struggling with the double-whammy of the costs of making their sites Covid-secure and the lost income from lettings and fundraising. Education Ministers are trying to pass the buck to hard-pressed local councils so I challenged local government ministers on money and guidance they were offering to local councils.
Read more here.
“Where is the plan for social care?”
Matt Hancock has announced another reorganisation of how the NHS is managed.
However, he has failed to lay out a substantial plan for social care, despite constant promises to reform and fund social care properly. In Parliament, I asked when the government would fulfil the Prime Minister’s promise. Read more here.
Join my campaign for better air quality
In 2005 the World Health Organization (WHO) put air quality guidelines in place. Over 15 years later, they are still not UK law, causing serious health problems. I’m campaigning for the Government to put stricter rules in place for the sake of our community.
I invite you to sign my petition.