Yesterday I wrote a letter to the the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for regulatory changes to support small and medium-sized businesses. Many of these businesses supply goods or services to larger businesses that are receiving government support but refusing to pay their debts. As this time of great difficulty, we need the government to ensure that larger businesses are not taking advantage of their size to the detriment of smaller businesses. My letter was signed by sixteen MPs from five different parties, making it a truly cross party initiative. You can see it here: https://www.saraholneymp.org.uk/post/my-letter-to-the-chancellor-calling-for-prompt-payment-for-small-and-medium-businesses
I have also joined my Liberal Democrat colleagues in calling for the government to put more resources into sourcing and distributing PPE and testing supplies. Every health and care worker must have access to lifesaving personal protective equipment, and we need to be doing hundreds of thousands of tests every day, not tens of thousands. The ongoing shortages are scandalous and should be the Government's first priority.
Parliament will return next week in its new "virtual" form. We will once again be able to properly scrutinise Government activities and hold them to account for failures like the PPE and testing shortages, while supporting their successful initiatives, including the lockdown.
PUBLIC SERVICES NEWS
Fire Safety in the Home
Now that we are at home more of the time, and our emergency services are stretched to the limit, it is especially important that we ensure we are keeping our homes safe. This is a great time to do your own fire safety audit. London Fire Brigade has a great Lockdown To-Do List at https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/coronavirus/. If you are working from home, please watch this short video from them, which Kingston Council tweeted today:
Police Warning about Phone Scams
The Met Police has published an informative guide to phone scams, which are increasing in prevalence during the lockdown. Please read it to make sure you know what to look out for
Transport for London Bus Entry Change
TfL has announced that bus passengers will only be able to enter via the centre doors of most buses from Monday. Buses that do not have a centre door (Routemasters) will board from the rear door. Single door buses will continue to load from the front door. Since the Oyster payment point is at the front door of each bus, most bus travel is now free!
Other changes TfL has made include asking passengers not to sit in the seats near the driver’s cab, making improvements to the protective screens that shield drivers and making regular announcements to reinforce the need to keep a safe distance from others.
TfL has also introduced a rigorous cleaning regime for its buses, stations and depots.
Kingston primary school places offered
The Royal Borough of Kingston has sent out primary school place offers to the parents/carers of all 1916 children who applied for a place in the borough.
97% of children in the borough have been offered one of their preferred primary schools.
94% of these got one of the top three preferences in their application.
81% got their first preference.
Closure of Kingston Community School
Kingston Council has said that it is very disappointed by the Department for Education’s decision to close Kingston Community School at the end of this school year. Applications will be sought for a new free school on the site in a few years. Parents who requested Reception year places there for next year have been offered another school.
Cllr Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children's Services, including Education, said: “I feel very sad for the children, staff and governors of the school who have worked so hard to make the school a success. They have been let down by the ESFA’s inability to provide permanent accommodation for the school within a reasonable period of time."
Urgent call for food donations
Kingston is still desperately seeking donations of food to help the most vulnerable members of the community. Their food supply chains are not enough to meet the local demand and they are calling on local residents, restaurants and businesses to help. Please visit www.kingston.gov.uk/coronavirus and click ‘How can I help?’ to find out how to donate.
Richmond primary school places offered
LBRuT has also sent out primary school place offers to parents/carers of all 2232 children who applied for a place in Richmond borough.
98% have received a place at one of their preferred schools
97% have been offered a place at one of their first three preferred primary schools.
84% have been offered a place at their first preference school
Penny Frost, Richmond's Cabinet Member for education, posted a heartfelt video today thanking teachers and social workers. Please take a look at it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipGYc5pt_Ks&feature=youtu.be
Richmond Food Bank - Dpnations needed!
Council Leader Gareth Roberts has posted a video on the Council website saying that Richmond Food Bank urgently needs both food and monetary donations. The video is here:
If you are in a position to donate to the Richmond Food Bank, all of their information can be found here: https://richmond.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/
Items they especially need for making up food parcels (in order of need):
UHT milk (1 Litre)
Long life fruit juice
Mashed potato (packet)
Tinned fruit/pudding (400gms)
I have heard from a number of people that these emails are being forwarded to them by a friend. If you would like to forward my emails please feel free to do so, and please let your friends know they can subscribe themselves at https://www.saraholneymp.org.uk/subscribe
I wish you all a pleasant and relaxing weekend.