So I am now done with Parliament this side of Easter, Wednesday was the last day Parliament was sitting. Normally an Easter recess would involve me meeting with hundreds of constituents and being busy across the town, this Easter recess will clearly be very different. So my job will be responding to constituents that are struggling and have got difficulties relating to the Coronavirus.
I know this is a really difficult time for all of us, especially for those from vulnerable groups that are self isolating and will be feeling lonely, but also for those businesses and those that are self-employed, it is very difficult for you and your families at this time. I will do everything I can to support you, whether that is chasing ministers for responses or getting answer to questions. If you have a specific enquiry or case you would like me and my team to look into, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full address and I will respond as soon as I can.
I put together a video in support of Age UK Suffolk’s latest fundraising drive “Good day calls”. The role Age UK plays has never been more important in supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community however as a result of the Coronavirus they haven’t been able to raise funds to support their activities by conventional means (charity shops, community events etc). Age UK Suffolk are looking to raise £30,000 per month to help ensure that there teams are able to make a ‘welfare call’ to all elderly residents who may be facing an extended period of isolation and loneliness. If you are able to make a donation, however small, please do, it could make the difference to the number of vulnerable people they are able to reach out to in Suffolk
Today, rather unexpectedly I got the opportunity to raise my first question to the Prime Minister. Following the Prime Minister’s announcements this week on social distancing and the passage of the Coronavirus Bill its clear that more pressure will be placed on Police resources as they are asked to enforce the social distancing guidelines. My concern is that certain criminal elements might look to exploit this national emergency to look promote their own insidious agendas. I asked the Prime Minister to confirm that if this does happen he will come down like tonne of bricks on individuals in question. I was glad that the Prime Minister confirmed that if necessary he would indeed come down like a tonne of brinks on such criminals. I really hope it doesn’t come to this but its best to be vigilant during times like these.
This morning I was on the BBC Radio Suffolk Mark Murphy show where I was quizzed about the announcements the Government made yesterday in relation to the Coronavirus. It could not be more important for us all to follow the advice that was set out by the Prime Minister yesterday, to not follow the advice is to put the lives of some of the most vulnerable within our society at risk. We covered quite a few issues during the interview, please have a listen if you get a moment.
A significant number of you have written in to outline your concerns about the lack of support provided for the self-employed and freelancers. So far the economic measures announced by the Government haven’t really touched these groups and this is something I am very aware of. The Government has dramatically improved access to the benefits system for the self-employed, but clearly a lot more needs to be done. I understand that Treasury Ministers are currently working on a package of support for the self-employed and this support should be announced within the coming days. As the Member of Parliament for Ipswich I have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer making clear my views and that more support for the self-employed should be forthcoming.
I am well aware of the huge contribution that the self-employed make to Ipswich’s economy and I will do whatever I can to support you during this difficult time.