The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. Britain has been forced to implement restrictions and new rules that our country has not experienced since the Second World War. Many people are still working from home. We are unable to see people that we love and care about. Schools remain closed. These on-going measures are necessary to halt the spread of the virus and to protect lives.
During these challenging times, I continue to work as a doctor in our NHS, shoulder to shoulder with my clinical colleagues on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. As your Member of Parliament, I shall continue to regularly update you on the latest health advice, and the other forms of support available to you, your families and local businesses during these unprecedented times.
Detailed COVID-19 advice can be found on the Government website at www.gov.uk/coronavirus This advice is updated regularly and I have also set out some simple advice and links (below) which I hope you may find helpful:
Brief Health Advice:
It remains important for all of us to play our part to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus:
- Social distancing (keeping at least 2 metres apart from people who are not from your own household) helps to protect each other and reduces the spread of the virus;
- Good hand hygiene (for example, thorough washing your hands and wrists for about 20 seconds before eating and when returning home after leaving the house) is particularly important to protect yourself from catching the virus;
- To protect others, it is important NOT to leave home if you or anyone in your household has Coronavirus symptoms (and also to seek further medical advice)
Support for Your Household Finances and Businesses:
Advice on business support, individual/household financial help and wider COVID-19 advice is available here.
Our local councils are administering the Government’s business support scheme and have already provided support to 80% of eligible businesses. Businesses that need help should contact their local council:
Helping Vulnerable People In Our Communities:
There has been an impressive community effort everywhere in Suffolk to look after older and more vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suffolk County Council are also overseeing the “Home But Not Alone” service. If you are in need of help, or know someone who is, please contact the service via 0800 876 6926 and further information can also be found by visiting: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/home-but-not-alone/
Important Local News:
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, my office and I have continued to work hard on behalf of everyone in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, helping people to access personal and business financial support, and also helping a great many people who were stranded overseas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to return home. I continue to ask probing Parliamentary questions of our Government about its response to the Coronavirus pandemic and continue to raise the issues that matter to us here in Suffolk in Parliament and directly with Government ministers.
In particular, I have been raising my concerns about the construction of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station. Having looked at the evidence, I previously accepted that nuclear power was, on balance, necessary in helping to switch UK energy production away from polluting fossil fuels, and in providing a consistent energy base whilst we search for ways to store the energy produced by offshore wind and other clean renewable sources of power. However, I have found the approach taken by EDF to the Sizewell C consultation to be unacceptable. EDF has shown disdain about the impact that the construction of Sizewell C would have on many of Suffolk’s towns and villages. Something of this magnitude needs proper consideration and scrutiny. I have therefore written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to request that the consent order for the next phase of the Sizewell project should not be considered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of residents have been in touch with me to express their concerns that Government emergency planning powers, granted to local councils to support the rapid construction of essential infrastructure such as the Nightingale Hospitals during the COVID-19 response, could be abused by unscrupulous housing developers. I share these concerns. Recent emergency planning powers were not intended to allow large house builders to steam-roll through inappropriate housing developments. So, I have been in contact with leaders at Mid-Suffolk District Council to make clear my objections to unacceptable housing development plans in Bramford, Debenham and Somersham.
Our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has recently announced the Government’s intention to start taking the first careful steps to modify some of the restrictions facing our daily lives. Whilst this will be welcome news to many, it remains vitally important that we all continue to respect and follow the Government advice so that we do not risk a second wave of infection. A second wave would have devastating consequences for our NHS and for our economy. In my view, it is essential that we continue to be led by the scientific evidence, which dictates which restrictions can start to be lifted and when.
As your MP, I shall always work hard for the people of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and my role as your Member of Parliament is as vital now as ever it was. If there is anything with which I can help, please get in touch with me via email
I wish you and your families well. Please continue to stay safe and look after each other.