We are all willing the Government’s strategy to work and to save lives, after all, there has never been so much at stake. But there is an uneasy disconnect between the Government’s promises and what they are delivering. As Keir made clear in his PMQs debut on Wednesday, the Government has been too slow on testing, too slow on supporting social care, too slow on procurement and too slow on PPE.
There is a clear mismatch between statements being put out by Downing Street and the realities facing health and care staff on the ground. I receive emails daily from concerned constituents working on the front-line who tell me that they do not feel safe at work because they lack basic PPE.
Shockingly, over 70% of respondents to my PPE survey have expressed this sentiment and told me they do not feel safe at work. These are local nurses, care workers, consultants, pharmacists and ICU doctors – people at the sharp end of this crisis who are telling me that they are missing masks, gowns, gloves, eye protection and scrubs – all essential equipment to carry out their lifesaving work, safely. Sadly, their experiences are not unique, and it is something we are hearing from health and care staff in every part of the country. If you are working on the front-line, I want to hear from you about your experiences. You can let me know by filling in my PPE survey here.
This week I have been heartened by the number of local businesses who have been in touch to offer PPE donations to those who need it most. Please continue to email me at email@example.com if you can donate or provide any essential items to local health and care teams, and I will pass your kind offers on.
Free accommodation for NHS heroes
A wonderful initiative from Love Your Postcode and MECS Sales and Lettings in Harborne who are helping to connect landlords who own vacant apartments, rooms and homes with NHS heroes and other key workers who may need to self-isolate from loved ones or be closer to their place of work, all free of charge.
If you are a landlord who can help, or a key worker looking for a place to stay, please visit the following sites or use the contact details below to find out more:
Love Your Postcode
0800 862 0870
MECS Sales and Lettings
07742 051 451
More support needed for low-income families
This crisis is putting a financial strain on many of us, but none more so than low-income families whose living situations have been made all the more precarious in recent months. This week, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, called for major changes to Universal Credit for low-income families to help them through this crisis.
Scrapping the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment and abolishing the two-child limit on benefit payments would be welcomed by the hundreds of individuals and families in my constituency who fear slipping further into hardship as a result of this crisis. Rest assured, Labour will keep the pressure on the Goverment to make these necessary changes on behalf of all the families who desperately need greater support.
International Development news
It’s an obvious fact, but one worth reminding ourselves of, that the coronavirus does not respect borders. This is a global pandemic and so we need a global response. This week brought news of a rapid rise in coronavirus cases and deaths across Africa. As I said in my statement this week, the UK needs to act now and lead the way at an international level to develop a robust plan to support countries in Africa, before the virus spreads further and death rates skyrocket.
Each month, coronavirus responses around the world require at least 100 million masks and gloves, 25 million respirators, and 2.5 million diagnostic tests. No one country can take on this crisis alone, and we must unite across borders to overcome it.
Just today, countries from around the world joined the UK in pledging to give everyone equal access to any new coronavirus vaccines and treatments that are developed – a rare glimmer of hope and a reminder that we can only come through this, together.
As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything I can help with, you can find my contact details below. Stay safe and look after one another.
Preet Kaur Gill