Parliament has been sitting virtually this week, and so far everything has been working well. MPs have been discouraged from attending in order to follow stay at home guidelines, so I have been joining in from home. At the moment MPs must apply to take part in discussions, but we are hoping that will be opened up soon.
SUMMER SCHOOL TERM BEGINS
Pupils went back to virtual work this week, too. Whether this was greeted with joy or dismay in your house, I just want to remind everyone of how hard schools have been working since the lockdown began. They have been looking after key workers' children on site while also providing a curriculum to their pupils at home. We know that many teachers are doing this difficult work from home while looking after their own children at the same time. On behalf of everyone in Richmond and Kingston, I would like to thank our teachers and schools for taking on these extra responsibilities and quietly going about doing this hugely important work. Your dedication and resourcefulness have been inspirational.
SUPPORT FOR TRAVEL INDUSTRY TO BE LINKED TO CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVES
As Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson I wrote a letter to the Chancellor yesterday urging him to offer support to airlines, but to tie this government support to the industry's action on reducing and offsetting emissions. My letter had cross party support and was co-signed by twenty other MPs.
I was motivated to write to the Chancellor about this because I was concerned about the loss of tens of thousands of jobs if airlines collapse, many of them in my constituency. My view, though, is that if public money is used to save them, they must be required by law to do more to tackle climate change.
I received a lot of emails in response to my request for ideas about how we can all do our part to improve air quality. Most of them were calls for government action, rather than personal action, and I have accordingly written to various local and city officers about them today. I will summarise your ideas and the responses to them tomorrow when I have more feedback. If anyone would like to email me with fresh ideas about what steps individuals can take themselves, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org .
NEW COVID-19 BUSINESS SUPPORT FINDER TOOL
The Government launched a new online tool to help businesses and self-employed people quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them. The questionnaire takes under a minute to complete and will signpost you to relevant loans, grants or other schemes they could be eligible for. Use the business support finder on the Government website https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
YOURNEIGHBOUR.ORG -New national resource for anyone who needs assistance
If you are worried about a friend or relative who lives outside Kingston and Richmond, please refer them to this new service, which will connect them with a local church that can provide practical or emotional support.
Richmond and Kingston residents should still contact our local hubs at
Richmond: phone 0208 871 6555 or email email@example.com.
Kingston: phone phone 020 8547 5000 or fill out online form here: online form
URGENT DENTAL CARE
Munira Wilson, the Lib Dem spokesperson for health and MP for Twickenham, has posted the following advice for people with dental problems:
If you need dental care urgently, please do not visit A&E, but instead, follow these steps.
If you have a regular dentist: Please call them - don’t visit the practice. The dentist will do everything they can over the phone, including giving advice and, if needed, prescriptions, which can then be collected from or delivered by a local pharmacy.
If you don't have a regular dentist: Find your local practice and call them. If dental practices are not available to you, then call NHS 111. Find your local practice here.
The dentist or NHS 111 will, if they think that urgent face-to-face treatment is needed, refer on to an Urgent Dental Care site, such as the new one at Kingston Hospital.
Richmond Carers Centre
Richmond Carers Centre is a local charity supporting unpaid adult and young carers living in or caring for someone living in Richmond borough. The support teams at Richmond Carers Centre are working remotely to continue to provide the following services to unpaid carers:
Telephone and email support