I appreciate that this is a very difficult time for everyone. People are very concerned about the impact of a further lockdown and many are struggling with these long periods of isolation. If anyone has any concerns then please contact me by emailing Rachael.email@example.com or calling 01904 623713. I will ensure that we respond to your concerns.
At last, the Prime Minister has responded to the dangerous increase in Covid19 infections. He was warned that his plans for social mixing over Christmas would lead to a significant rise in infection, however he did not take the necessary action to protect the public. Now that the NHS is overwhelmed he has been forced to act. Once again, this crisis could have been avoided.
I have been calling for all schools to close and for a full lockdown in the light of the troubling data on infection and have been frustrated by the slow response nationally and locally. City of York Council were asked to close all schools locally, but determined not to, despite the undisputable evidence presented on transmissibility of secondary and primary age pupils. Teachers and support staff are not working in safe environments, and I am glad that they will now be protected and thank the National Education Union for their persistence in this matter. It is now essential that every young person is able to access remote learning.
Further, I have been calling out for the cancellation of summer exams and to put alternative moderated assessments in place for some time, and while repeatedly told by the Government that they will not cancel exams, welcome today’s u-turn.
Now is the time we need to hear from the Chancellor. Yet again businesses need greater support and the 3m people who have been ‘excluded’ from any support package, urgently the Government to step in. The UK still has one of the lowest levels of Statutory Sick Pay in Europe and this must be addressed to help people to stay at home if they have been exposed to the infection, in addition, access to the isolation payment must be more readily available. We now need to see additional funding for those claiming Universal Credit too, starting with the cancellation of removing the additional £20 per week.
During this lockdown, we need a credible plan for a safe re-opening of the economy, to provide support for jobs and ensure that people are not put at risk again. We have the hope of the vaccine, but until this is rolled out we need everyone to play their full part. Keep safe, and please do contact me if you have any concerns.