Support for Long Covid patients in Wales, another bank closure and flooding - weekly update 23/01/21
2020 was an exceptionally difficult year and I think we’ve all run out of suitable adjectives to describe just how unprecedented, challenging, and disruptive it has been. I know we had all hoped for a different start to 2021, but at least there is the hope from the vaccine on the horizon. Until sufficient numbers have been vaccinated, however, this new, more virulent strain of the virus is putting all the work we’ve done to protect those most vulnerable at risk.
We must all now stay at home to try to slow the spread of the virus; that means, working from home where possible and only go out for essential reasons: to shop for basic necessities, to exercise, to seek or provide medical assistance, and to attend education for those eligible. Most children will now learn remotely until at least the 18th January, with the Welsh Government to review that as the time draws near.
University students who are able to study from home should do so and continue with their courses online until their universities indicate otherwise. For those studying practical courses, such as medicine and dentistry and social work, your universities will in touch with you regarding measures you will need to take.
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are permitted to form one). In public settings, such as supermarkets, it is vital that you maintain a 2-metre distance, wear a face covering, and continue to wash your hands regularly.
Fighting for Public Sector workers and highlighting that Cancer is still here - a busy week before Christmas! - Weekly Update 19/12/2020
It may be the last full week before Christmas but it’s still been a busy one! In Parliament, I presented an e-petition debate on behalf of all those who signed it on the vital issue of pay and conditions of key workers and public sector employees. This built on my previous work campaigning for decent pay for those who have given us so much throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. But what is so important about these Westminster Hall debates is the chance make these points straight to the minister responsible and call for action now, not later.
This has been a tough year for many of us; there is no escaping that. As 2020 comes to a close we have the chance to reflect on the year, but most importantly it gives us an opportunity to think about how we can make the next year better. For too long the UK Government has squeezed the wages of those in the public sector. When given the chance to give a real term pay increase, they have decided to take little to no action. This has been disastrous for communities like ours and has helped towards the horrific site of in work poverty soaring under this Conservative UK Government.
When we consider everything that is amazing about our country, we would be hard pressed not to mention our teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers and care workers. They are the lifeblood of our nation. Keeping things going in some of the most challenging situations and I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one of the hardest in memory. That is why the Welsh Labour Government wanted to give thanks to our care home workers with a £500 bonus earlier on in the year. But the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer taxed them on it, with those on Universal Credit suffering a double whammy.
But not to be outdone by his own uncompassionate response to our care workers, the Chancellor has announced a pay freeze for public sector workers. I made it very clear in my speech in Parliament that this is completely wrong, and I will continue to do so until this is put right.
This week I also wanted to remind constituents across Gower what they can do to keep an eye out for the signs of cancer. Sadly, cancer hasn’t gone away during this pandemic - and it’s not going away over Christmas. It now affects one in two of us in our lifetimes and that is why it is so crucial to break down stigma and talk about how we can keep ourselves healthy.
It’s really important that if you noticed any unexplained changes to your body, like blood in your pee or poo, changes in your bowel habits, a new lump or persistent bloating or pain that doesn’t go away you should seek support from your GP. People sometimes think a change in their body is not worth bothering their GP about, or you may be a bit embarrassed to talk about it. But no, that’s wrong. It’s crucial that you get all your lumps and bumps checked. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, if you are experiencing any changes do contact your GP as soon as you can. You can find out more by visiting the NHS’s website.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Stay safe, keep well, and have a good Christmas. Here’s to a brighter 2021.
MPs and peers embark on 12 days of action to tackle loneliness as Covid-19 leaves people feeling cut off and alone as Christmas approaches
Tonia Antoniazzi MP has joined a national campaign to help tackle loneliness this winter.
Tonia is undertaking 12 days of action to counter loneliness this Christmas as part of a push by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Loneliness and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The MPs and peers are helping to spread the message that it’s OK to feel lonely and it’s OK to talk about it.
Tonia is backing the campaign at a time when British Red Cross research shows 39% of adults haven’t had a meaningful conversation in a fortnight and around a third (32%) worry something will happen to them and no one will notice.
Tonia is taking part in the campaign alongside members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Loneliness to show the sorts of simple things people can do to help those who are feeling lonely and cut off from others as Christmas approaches.
Starting on Sunday, December 13, MPs and peers will make a small but crucial contribution each day – including promoting the Government’s #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign online, talking about the issue with colleagues over a cup of tea, finding out more about local services, activities and groups and sharing their own experiences of loneliness or isolation with others.
The British Red Cross is the co-secretariat, along with the Co-op, of the APPG on Loneliness.
Head of health and resilience policy for the charity Olivia Field said: “As the holiday season approaches, it’s crucial that we all stay in touch and remind others that we are there for them and thinking about them at a time when Covid-19 is keeping us apart.
“MPs and peers are uniquely placed in their community to reach out to those who may need a little extra support – they know is most vulnerable in their communities and what can be done locally to help them.
“Everyone can make a contribution in their community, family and workplace this winter by being there to talk, listen and help where we can.”
The APPG on Loneliness is asking people to support the Government’s #LetsTalkLoneliness by sharing information about ways in which people can access support during the winter months.
The Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign aims to reduce the stigma associated with loneliness and to remind people that there’s no shame in asking for help.
Throughout December, the Let's Talk Loneliness advent calendar is sharing practical advice, inspiring stories, and support routes to encourage people to take the first steps to alleviate loneliness in themselves and others. The website has lots of useful advice on how to help yourself and others safely.
Anyone can contact the British Red Cross coronavirus support line on 0808 196 3651 (10am-6pm seven days a week) or access a great toolkit of resources for adults and young people, including online group sessions and digital classrooms, as well as thought-provoking podcasts where others share their experiences of tackling loneliness.
If you are feeling lonely and would like to reach out call the British Red Cross coronavirus support line on 0808 196 3651 or access the charity’s online loneliness resources at www.redcross.org.uk/loneliness-resources