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.
We are living through extraordinary times and I’m fully aware of how difficult things are for many of my constituents at the moment. Particularly many of the elderly and more vulnerable members of our community and those being advised to self-isolate.
For many of those who live alone and have been asked to self-isolate, loneliness may well become a key issue for many within our community. It’s for this reason that I am working with AGE UK in setting up “Talking with Tom” system so that anyone who wants to talk to me on the phone can register to do so and secure a time slot. In short I’m happy to discuss any issue under the sun and to provide company to anyone in my constituency during this difficult time. Whether you want to discuss the weather, your family, concerns about the virus or my first few months representing you as your MP and what I’m up to at the moment, please do get in touch with my office to set up a time to talk to me. If you know anyone who might be interested in this, please do pass them my details.
If people would like to book a slot to talk to me, they should call 01473 599155 or email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org, where one of my team will get them booked in to receive a call from me at a time that suits them.