Medical cannabis campaigners wont be ignored, supporting our freelance workers, and #TheForgottenC - Weekly update 24/07/2020
It was a very busy start to the week as I was lucky to be called to speak on a number of topics. I tackled the Secretary of State for Health on his Department’s appalling lack of correspondence with MPs during the Coronavirus crisis. On 26th June, the co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Cannabis wrote to the Secretary of State regarding the desperate plight of those children with epilepsy who rely on medical cannabis to manage their condition. We had no reply. On 9th June, we wrote an urgent email to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health following a meeting, at the suggestion of the Secretary of State on the 2nd. We had no reply. On 22nd May, a joint letter was sent to the Secretary of State from 8 cross-party chairs of various All-Party Parliamentary Groups focusing on cancers about the urgent need for a national cancer recovery plan following the pandemic to deal with the backlog of patients awaiting life-saving treatment. We had no reply. I understand that this has been an unprecedented and incredibly difficult situation for those in Government to deal with, however, lines of communication between Government and MPs and the Government and the country must remain open. We are representing our constituents, some with incredibly difficult personal circumstances and we have to know that their concerns are being considered and recognised and the Government is taking action to support everyone through this crisis.
I was pleased to join Macmillan campaigners this week on a virtual meeting (how else these days?!) to hear about their campaign efforts and to let them know what I am doing to ensure that #TheForgottenC is not forgotten and the UK Government listens to the experiences of those with cancer. For those facing diagnosis and treatment, or the diagnosis and treatment of a loved one during ‘normal times’ it’s a scary and sometimes lonely experience. For those facing cancer during a pandemic, I cannot imagine how they must feel. We have to have plans in place for how to manage their treatment safely and give them the best chances for recovery. I will keep fighting for the rights of cancer patients to swift and safe treatment because cancer doesn’t stop because there’s a global pandemic. The UK Government needs to recognise this and take action.
I also tackled the Government Ministers for the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy on Swansea Bay’s Tidal Lagoon project. Charles Hendry said that the evidence is clear that tidal lagoons can play a cost-effective role in the UK’s energy mix – with new green jobs and inward invesmtment for Swansea, Wales and the rest of the UK. This is an oven-ready plan, something the UK Government is so fond of, and yet they are failing to back investment in schemes which could support local economies in the Covid recovery. We need green investment and we need skilled jobs to build up a green economy that will support both families and our environment.
I’ve signed up this week to be a member of the new ExcludedUK All-Party Parliamentary Group. This group, with the support of third sector organisation #ExcludedUK, aims to represent the three million people in the UK who have fallen through the gaps in the Chancellor’s support packages and who have been left without any support. This has been an unprecedented situation, but it cannot be right that hard-working people, the newly self-employed, freelancers, those denied furlough and many others, have been left to fight for their businesses alone. We need these people to be active in our communities and economies – they contribute to the supply chain, they pay taxes, and they provide services in the local communities. They deserve the UK Government’s support just as much as the furloughed workers and supported self-employed. We need our local businesses and freelancers for our recovery and we need to ensure that they will remain part of the fabric of our communities for many years to come.
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.
Keep well and remember – keep washing your hands!