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COVID-19 Richmond and Kingston Update: March 30

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

ISOLATION TIPS FROM BRITAIN'S FIRST ASTRONAUT

I was thrilled to meet Helen Sharman recently, at the opening of The Kingston Academy.  Helen was the first British person in space and has been one of my heroes since I was at school.  She is a local resident and got in touch today to share the insights she gained on life in isolation while working in space. You can see her excellent tips and advice on the blog post I published about it today here: https://www.saraholneymp.org.uk/post/tips-on-surviving-isolation-from-britain-s-first-astronaut


FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Having heard from many constituents that they are concerned about falling through the cracks in the support packages announced by the Chancellor, I have written to him to urge him to address the gaps.These include:

  • Workers who previously worked under short term PAYE contracts

  • Self-employed people who were paid via dividends from their Ltd companies

  • Zero-hours workers whose employers have not been given guidance on how to calculate their wages under the job retention scheme

  • Self-employed people who had profits over the £50,0000 cliff edge

  • All self-employed people who cannot keep themselves going until June

  • Foreign workers who have lost their jobs and whose immigration status does not give them access to benefits, many of whom are unable to return home

Although some of these workers will be able to apply for Universal Credit, there are serious capacity issues in that department, and it is unclear when that help may arrive.


As a party, the Liberal Democrats are continuing to push for government to implement a Citizen’s Income to ensure that all citizens have a basic income. We are also calling on government to turn day-one Universal Credit loans into grants immediately.


In the meantime, I am pressuring government to close the gaps I mentioned above.


If you are a non-UK national, you may want to look at this page of resources:

https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/eu-londoners-hub/information-covid-19-non-uk-nationals



HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE

I have been contacted today by TfL about the situation on Hammersmith Bridge. On social distancing they have said: "We are implementing the new arrangements on the bridge with a two way system using the available footway and carriageway with cyclists having to push their bikes across. We have four more marshals on the bridge to help push the message on social distancing and two metres which has also has been marked out on the bridge just as it has been done on the Riverwalk."

On the subject of the ongoing bridge repairs they have said: "We are working on the bridge so the South Pedestals will see us start removing the paint today. That will last most of the week. So for Hammersmith Bridge advance work it is business as usual. We have approval from the government and are working under strict conditions. We intend to keep to our programme."



RICHMOND PARK

A lot of constituents are unhappy about Richmond Park being closed to cyclists. This step was taken because of crowding at the entrances and some cyclists not observing the social distancing rules. I wrote to Royal Parks about this, and they have assured me that they are continuously reviewing their policies