Thank you to my constituents who have gotten in touch with me this week to raise concerns about the serious gaps in Covid support, or the inconsistencies in the new lockdown restrictions. I have been working hard to share these concerns and hold the government to account over their Covid response. Here are some of the things I’ve been up to:
💉 In response to changes in guidance regarding the coronavirus vaccination programme, I have organised a joint letter from 40 MPs to the government, and spoke to the BBC about my concerns. We all want the vaccination to succeed, that’s why it’s so important to get clarity on changes to the vaccination programme and guidance.
🏫 Myself and Lilian Greenwood, as Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on SEND and Deafness have written to the Education Secretary about the huge impact of Covid on deaf children and young people in school. We urgently need new guidance on clear face coverings and access for specialist staff.
✉️ Despite the government’s U-turn on closing schools to help lower transmission, they have failed to extend this to nurseries. So early years workers are still being put in harm’s way. I wrote to the Education Secretary to ask for the rationale behind exempting nurseries from lockdown 3 measures, and I spoke to ITV Calendar and BBC Look North about this issue. I will continue to campaign until the guidance is changed.
💻 The last month has shown us how important access to the internet is, if young people are going to be able to continue their education. This week the Public Accounts Committee, of which I am a member, published a report calling the government out on the litany of failures, which have meant business and homes in rural areas could be locked out of gigabit broadband for years to come. I spoke about this on BBC and Sky radio. I have also signed Sarah Owen MP’s letter, calling on internet providers to help make sure no young person is left without internet access.
🏥I wrote to the Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care to ask her to suspend the new targets for NHS dentist practices, which I fear will be impossible to meet during Lockdown 3 and will only threaten the sustainability of NHS dental services and result in urgent care being de-prioritised.
I know the new lockdown isn’t going to be easy for many of my constituents. My office & I are doing everything we can to support Hallam residents through the next few months. I’ve compiled a list of groups in our constituency and nationally working to support people. But as always, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and my team and I will do everything we can to support you!