Richmond Park News: 14 January 2022
Like my constituents, I am absolutely appalled at the further information that has come to light this week about the Prime Minister's breaches of Covid-19 rules: a garden party at Downing Street during the first lockdown, while some of my constituents were saying goodbye to dying loved ones over the phone; a boozy Christmas party during the December 2020 lockdown, when so many vulnerable people had to spend Christmas on their own; a raucous party at Number 10 in April 2021, the night before our grieving Queen sat apart from her family at the funeral of her husband of 73 years.
I have been receiving stories from constituents this week about the sacrifices they have made during lockdown and their anger at the Prime Minister’s disregard for them. They can rest assured that I share their anger and dismay and that I join with my fellow Liberal Democrats in calling for the PM to resign.
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE – BOUNCE-BACK LOAN SCHEME
On Monday I led a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing into the bounce-back loan schemes that were designed to provide smaller businesses access to finance during the pandemic. Independent reports have estimated that between 7% and 11% of loans handed out were done so fraudulently. So I was really
eager to take the opportunity of this debate to question senior civil servants from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) about how this happened. Ultimately, the taxpayer bears the cost, which is why it was so important to question BEIS officials and ensure lessons are learned.
To see a clip of part of my contribution, click here, and to watch the session in full, click here.
OPPOSITION DAY DEBATE ON SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES DURING THE PANDEMIC
On Tuesday I participated in a debate on the continued need for business support in the pandemic. I took this opportunity to highlight the dire situation many business owners now find themselves in as they try to contend not just with the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic but with life outside of the EU.
For our economic recovery from Covid-19 to be as strong and sustainable as possible, we need opportunities - opportunities for those seeking work and opportunities for businesses to grow their enterprise and trade freely. However the Brexit trade deal has made commerce much, much harder for UK firms who trade with the EU and has ultimately limited opportunities.
The government must get a grip on the situation by providing firms with the support and guidance they need, or we will be severely undermining our economic revival.
To see part of my contribution to this debate, click here.