Nus Ghani MP writes: ... Following the PMs statement, I am sure you are pleased to hear we are now starting to release the lockdown slowly, and I am very grateful for all you have done so far in helping us to reach this stage whether it be self-isolating, social distancing, volunteering to help the vulnerable in the community or key working. It has been a community effort to get to this stage.
With remote surgeries underway weekly and handling hundreds of locals' casework, I know how unsettling this period has been, but support is available and further information is available on my website https://www.nusghani.org.uk/coronavirus-advice-stayalert.
There is also useful local advice on the Wealden District Council website https://www.wealden.gov.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-covid-19-latest/, with specific advice on business grants https://www.wealden.gov.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-covid-19-latest/grants-and-support-for-businesses/.
With a sharp rise in domestic and sexual violence across East Sussex, I continue to work with the Police who have now set up a one stop website for those dealing with domestic abuse https://www.safespacesussex.org.uk/. This also provides a safe internet guide for those concerned that abusers might check their web history, and they would like to remind everyone who may be concerned when calling 999 that an abuser might overhear their call, that if they press 55 on their keypad they do not need to speak as the operator will understand and send the emergency services immediately.
As well as working with the Police, I have had virtual meetings with East Sussex Fire Service regarding its consultation, East Sussex Healthcare Trust to ensure that they have adequate arrangements in place to support local residents, Royal Mail over deliveries across Wealden, County Council and Local Resilience Forum for Wealden's needs during the pandemic, and local headteachers over the food voucher system to supporting at risk children and troubled families. I have also been in touch with many of the care homes across Wealden over testing and have now secured deliveries of PPE to those who have contacted me.
With Parliament now sitting, albeit virtually, I have become an active backbencher and in particular I have been across the National Farmers Union and the Countryside Alliance in preparation for the Agriculture Bill and spoken to many famers across Wealden on how we can promote our exports and ethical animal husbandry. I was also working with victims to be ready to oppose the Government's motion on the early prison release programme, but it hasn’t come to pass. News on Gatwick and airlines is troubling for many residents and will hit us hard in our county and I am working with colleagues on how we can support the sector as well as our constituents.
With my postbag full of asks, a couple of items that I campaigned on for locals have been successful: early announcement of extra support for the self employed; providing councils with some discretion on grant allocation; opening of recycling centres and garden centres and not forgetting the sensitive but needed work on access to the deceased and burial rights for families.
Updated employer guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-guidance-launched-to-help-get-brits-safely-back-to-work
The extension to the Job Retention Scheme: https://www.nusghani.org.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-extension-may-2020.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: https://www.nusghani.org.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme