I was truly delighted to hear that as of today everyone over the age of 18 everywhere in the United Kingdom is invited to book their Covid-19 vaccination.
It is an astounding achievement to have offered the vaccine to every single British adult just six months after the world's first vaccine injection. I offer my heartiest congratulations and my deepest thanks to the NHS staff, local councils, and the tens of thousands of volunteers across the country who made this happen. Our scientists led the way in developing the vaccine, and we carried on leading the way with our targeted and rapid rollout.
If you are eligible for the vaccine, please do book your appointment here or make use of one of the many walk-in clinics now available in the area. You can find a list of walk-in vaccine clinics in South West London (Including in Harlequins in Twickenham, Kingston University and Queen Mary's in Roehampton) here. Please note that supply is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis, so booking an appointment may be more convenient.
Those who are in their 40s and have already had one vaccination may be called early for their second doses. Please do take up this offer - the second jab confers more protection from the virus than the first.
I urge everyone in the constituency to get vaccinated and do your part to stop new variants from arising and spreading. If you are in your thirties or forties and have not yet had your first jab, I ask you to please prioritise doing so, for your own sake and that of your fellow residents.
SCRUTINISING THE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH AUSTRALIA
During yesterday's debate on the Government's trade deal with Australia, I took the opportunity to ask the Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss how a trade agreement with a country 9000 miles away helps us reach our climate change targets. We should be reducing our food and goods miles if we are to reduce our carbon emissions to the levels needed to stop climate change.
CALLING FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS FIRE SAFETY AND THE CLADDING SCANDAL
Earlier this week I co-signed a letter with my Liberal Democrat colleagues urging the Government to take the steps they should have taken years ago in response to the Grenfell tragedy. With almost a million Britons still living in buidlings we know to be unsafe, another tragedy could happen any day.
Residents in dangerous buildings need their remediation work done immediately. They need the government to step in with the financial support, training and regulation required to get this done before further loss of life - and to get it done without bankrupting homeowners who had no way to know their cladding and buildings were unsafe. You can see our letter with our detailed proposal here.
My colleague Daisy Cooper has also secured a private member's bill on this important subject. I will report back to my constituents after that debate.
AGE UK ADVISES OLDER PEOPLE TO CLAIM PENSION CREDIT
Age UK wants to encourage pension credit take-up by sharing resources explaining who is eligible for pension credit and how they can access it, and encouraging older people to check their eligibility.
Up to £3.5 billion of benefits aimed at older people on low incomes go unclaimed every year. Recent ‘take-up’ figures show that over a million pensioner households are missing out on Pension Credit- which amounts to around 2 in 5 of those who are entitled to receive it. Age UK has written a helpful guide on pension credit, including information on:
How much those who eligible can receive
If those who receive Pension Credit can receive other benefits as well
Who is eligible to claim Pension Credit
How Pension Credit can be claimed
Providing this information to constituents can help encourage credit take-up. Many older people would struggle to pay for basic essentials like heating and food without the benefit and receiving the credit can make other benefits like winter fuel allowance available to them.
Alongside the Pension Credit guide, they also have a benefits calculator which can help my constituents find out what benefits you could be owed. It’s free to use and any details provided are kept anonymous.
They also provide support through our free advice line on 0800 055 6112. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. Please do reach out to them and make sure you are getting all the income you are due.
KINGSTON AND RICHMOND YOUTH VOICE PODCAST
In the latest episode of the Kingston and Richmond Youth Voice Podcast, set up by the Kingston and Richmond Youth Council, local young people discuss how domestic violence affects teenagers. Listen now.
E-SCOOTER TRIAL FEEDBANK LINK
I understand that some of my constituents have concerns about the new e-scooters being trialled in Richmond borough. Residents who have witnessed anti-social or dangerous behaviour on the rental e-scooters can use this form to report what they have seen. This will inform the analysis of the trial.
FERTILITY, PREGNANCY AND THE COVID-19 VACCINE
Last month Richmond Council's Public Health team held a virtual Q & A with the NHS, giving those who are pregnant or planning to have children in the near future an opportunity to get the facts about the coronavirus vaccine. You can see the FAQs that came out of that event here.
ADDITIONAL COVID-19 GRANTS RELEASED
Richmond Councilhas released a further £4.4m in Additional Restrictions Grant to local businesses to help meet the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Businesses which have previously received an ARG award will receive a further £5,000 and previous recipients of Restart Grants will receive a 30% top up.
Businesses do not need to apply to receive this funding.
INCREASED COVID-19 MEASURES WORKING
Cases in Kingston seem to have levelled off thanks to the surge testing, surge vaccinations and everyone's efforts to maintain good hygiene and social distancing. With the Delta variant still circulating in the community, though, we need to keep these efforts up until the vaccine has reached everyone. Please continue this good work!
Kingston's surge testing sites can be found here. If you test positive and need to self-isolate, Kingston Stronger Together is still there to support you. You can see what they can do to help you here.