MY RESPONSE TO NEW COVID-19 MEASURES
It's been a busy week in Parliament scrutinising the latest initiatives from the Government and their handling of the Covid-19 crisis. The Chancellor's new support package for businesses once again excludes millions of self-employed people and small businesses, including many in Richmond Park. I met with the grassroots NGO Excluded UK about this and have written to the Chancellor following that discussion. You can see my letter here:
I also wrote to to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about support for arts and sport venues and companies. Many of my constituents work in this sectors and are deeply worried about the future of public events. These businesses need to be able to reopen safely in order to survive, and the Government needs to do more to enable this. You can see my letter to the Secretary of State for DCMS here:
Thirdly, I co-signed a letter from my colleague Daisy Cooper to Business Secretary Alok Sharma yesterday regarding the new 10pm closure time for pubs. I am concerned about the impact this will have on our hospitality sector in Richmond Park, which has been struggling to survive since March. If we are going to take risks with so many local jobs and businesses, it is vital that we first be sure the science supports what we are doing.
CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY ANNOUNCED AT LIBERAL DEMOCRAT CONFERENCE
We held our virtual autumn conference last weekend, at which we reaffirmed our 2019 manifesto pledges, including a 75% cut in emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2045. As the Lib Dem spokesperson on climate change I am calling on the government to:
Set out comprehensive plans for a green COVID recovery
Work to reskill those who have lost their jobs to work on environmentally friendly infrastructure projects
Ensure support packages for business include, where possible, legally binding commitments to reduce emissions
Work with the EU and other international partners to tackle climate emergency
Ensure the delayed COP26 climate conference sees countries adopting much more ambitious emission targets than in their initial national plans
VISIT TO ANSTEE BRIDGE EDUCATION CHARITY
Last Friday I visited Anstee Bridge, a thirteen-year-old educational charity commissioned by Achieving for Children to help secondary school children with anxiety and emotional issues reconnect with education. Their goal is to help the pupils stay in school and gain their qualifications. It was inspiring to see the amazing work they do to keep Richmond and Kingston pupils succeeding in their education.
PROSTATE CANCER UK ONLINE RISK CHECKER AVAILABLE
Prostate Cancer UK has contacted me to ask me to help ensure men at risk of prostate cancer don’t miss out on early diagnosis as a result of COVID-19. They are trying to encourage men at increased risk to speak to their GP about getting a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. They have developed a thirty-second prostate cancer risk-checker, a simple online tool that asks the user questions to assess their risk level and then makes a recommendation based on their responses. The risk checker will equip men with the information they need to speak to their GP about a blood test. To find out if you or your loved ones should talk to a doctor about prostate cancer, please go to: https://prostatecanceruk.org/risk-checker.html?utm_source=politicians&utm_medium=affiliate-referral&utm_campaign=risk-checker&utm_content=organic-link
OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS ON CRIME AND SAFETY
Residents of Richmond Borough are invited to join the Council and police in a Community Conversation in their own area. Community Conversations are local online events where residents can share ideas on local priorities. The next series of discussions will be dedicated to Community Safety. Those who wish to attend their local event and have their say on crime and safety can see the schedule and pre-register here: www.richmond.gov.uk/community_conversation
TACKLING ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AROUND RICHMOND GREEN
The recently formed Richmond Green Working Group brings together various stakeholders to develop a plan of action to improve the safety situation for local residents. RGWG is composed of members from the South Richmond Police Liaison Group, the Safer Neighbourhood Team, Met Police, Council officers and councillors, the Licensed Trade and various resident groups. You can read about their extensive action plan to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Richmond Green and Riverside Newsletter here:
SELF-ISOLATION SUPPORT SCHEME PAYMENTS
Kingston Council's revenue and benefits team will soon begin to disburse £500 Self Isolation Support payments to people on low incomes who are isolating. Further information on the payment is now available on their website. They are aiming to have the application form live early next week and payments made to qualifying residents within 24 hours of submitting a request.
KINGSTON COUNTY HALL COVID-19 TESTING CENTRE OPENING THIS WEEK
A new walk-in Local Test Site at County Hall should be opening this week, to supplement the drive-in site in Chessington. County hall will be a pre-booked appointment-only site and there will be no vehicular access. Having this new walk-in site in the Borough will make it easier for Kingston residents with symptoms who don't drive to get tested and keep the transmission rate down. Book your test through the normal government testing website at: https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name