I was pleased this week to sign our Shadow Secretary of State, Nia Griffith’s letter to the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ask that the payment offered by the Welsh Government to our social care workers on the frontline tackling the coronavirus pandemic is not subject to the usual tax and benefit deductions. This is a small recognition of the value of their work in this incredibly difficult time and they must not be penalised or risk their tax or social security entitlements. I really hope that the Chancellor and the Secretary of State heed our call and recognise the valuable contribution of these workers.
The UK Government has this week updated the guidance for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and HMRC have begun contacting those eligible for the scheme, which will provide applicants with 80% of their average monthly trading profits, to be capped at £7,500, and which will be paid in a single instalment to cover 3 months. For more information visit the UK Government pages here and if you get into any difficulty, please contact my office for support.
This pandemic is difficult for us all, but for children who may not fully understand what is happening or why their world has so suddenly shrunk, it will be even more difficult. The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has created an information hub to help answer tricky questions in an honest and appropriate way. There’s also some great ideas for things to do at home that will help keep kids occupied or make them laugh during these tricky days.
Of course, with schools across the country closed to most children, it's even more important to remember that sadly, some children are exposed to or are even victims of domestic abuse in their own homes. If you are worried about a young person, please do contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com.
Monday of this week was International Firefighters’ Day, when we remember the bravery and sacrifice of all the firefighters that we have lost in the line of duty. Our firefighters think nothing of rushing into serious danger in order to preserve and protect life when they go to work. Our emergency service workers are incredible, and we must continue to remember those who risk and tragically sometimes lose their lives for the good of others.
On Friday we will mark, albeit in an unusual way, the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Although the bank holiday weekend may not look quite how we expected, it's important for us to take some time to mark this occasion. Victory in Europe brought nearly six years of fighting on the continent to an end. We must remember the sacrifice of all those involved, and honour their memory today by continuing to stand up for tolerance and against racism and fascism.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, but my staff and I are working from home, and 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 home, keep well, and remember – keep washing your hands!