Richmond Park News: 26 February 2021
The Covid-19 news continues to be positive this week, with London's case rates down 25% from last week. Both Richmond and Kingston now have rolling case rates under 100 cases per 100,000 people. The vaccine is clearly having a positive effect; case rates among Londoners over 60 are now lower than the average rates here. Two million Londoners have now been vaccinated at least once.
However, it is important to remember that we remain in lockdown. We still have high rates of asymptomatic infection in the community, and case rates are not going down as quickly as they were a few weeks ago. Step 1 of the Government's plan to reduce restrictions does not take effect until March 8, and even then the relaxations are very specific and limited.
Schools and colleges will reopen to all pupils, small funerals and weddings will be allowed, and you will be able to meet one person from another household outside. Local public health authorities have asked me to stress to constituents that everything else remains the same for now. You can see the full explanation of their plan here.
NHS London has also asked me to remind constituents not to wait if they think they might need medical attention for something other than Covid-19.
Please do not ignore concerning symptoms or decide to wait until after the pandemic to consult your doctor, have a test, or have recommended treatment.
UBER DRIVERS EMPLOYMENT RULING
The Supreme Court ruled this week that Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed people. The ruling offers hope to gig workers, who have been hit hard by the pandemic. Gig workers have been left out of crucial financial support during the pandemic, including Statutory Sick Pay and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
I was very happy with the ruling, but I have questions about exactly what his means for Uber drivers and similar workers. I queried this in the House this week, asking how the Government would ensure that workers in companies like Uber would be transferred to legal contracts and compensated for their past treatment. You can see my question and the answer from Paul Scully, Minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, here.
FIRE SAFETY AND THE CLADDING SCANDAL
Earlier this week Parliament rejected an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill which would prohibit the owner of a