Richmond Park News: 6 July 2021
Yesterday the government announced that the roadmap out of lockdown would proceed to Step 4 on July 19th. This means the lifting of all remaining restrictions, such as numbers that can attend live events, people who can visit care homes and limitations on numbers meeting indoors. While the numbers show that case rates continue to climb at a rapid rate, we can also see that the vaccination programme has been successful in breaking the link between case rates and hospitalisations and deaths.
I am concerned that too many people are still unvaccinated - especially in the younger age groups where spread is more prevalent - and that increasing case rates represent a risk. The government have asked that people carry out their own assessment of risk and I would urge constituents to continue mask wearing and social distancing when out in public, especially on public transport and in shops. Consider, particularly, if you are using services with a younger-aged workforce, that they are not as well-protected as older age groups and, even though younger people are less likely to be hospitalised, they can still suffer severe symptoms or contract long Covid which will be very unpleasant for them. I know that we're all tired of wearing masks, but I would encourage you to continue for the time being, until we see high levels of vaccination across all age groups.
I would also urge all constituents over the age of 18 who have not yet had a vaccine, to get one as soon as possible. If you have only had the first jab, you may be able to arrange to bring forward your second jab appointment, which will give you a greater level of immunity. Anyone over 18 can book a vaccination here. A new walk-in clinic has also just been added in Richmond town centre this weekend, at Richmond Adult Community College from 10-6 on Saturday. Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca will be available.
QUESTIONING THE GOVERNMENT ON SCAMS
Today, in oral questions for the Deparment for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I asked Undersecretary of State Amanda Solloway what guidance the Department gives to retailers and consumers to protect themselves from scams. I explained that I am particularly concerned about small and medium-sized businesses who may be vulnerable to banking fraud because the closure of high street banks has driven them to use online banks.
The Undersecretary did not address my question about banking fraud directly, but instead relayed some resources that businesses and consumes can use to combat scams, including Business Companion's guide to business scams and the Citizens Advice pages on identifying scams and for reporting consumer scams.
I can also recommend the Met Police's Little Book of Big Scams for those looking to protect themselves. I will continue asking the Government to put more energy into tackling fraud. You can read the text of our exchange here or see a clip here.
SUPPORTING MILITARY VETERANS
Yesterday, during Oral Questions for the Department of Defence, I took the opportunity to ask Secretary of State Ben Wallace what the department is doing to assist veterans at risk of homelessness now that the eviction moratorium is ending. With military service a risk factor for homelessness I am keen to ensure that the department does all it can to support veterans.
You can see the full text of the session here, or a clip of my question and the Secretary's answer