The Welsh lockdown review, passing the Domestic Abuse Bill, & financial support from the UK government - Weekly update 10/07/2020
The big news from Parliament this week was the Chancellor’s financial statement. There have been a number of good policies from this Chancellor and the Job Retention Scheme, while failing to protect all workers during this crisis, has undoubtedly saved jobs. However, withdrawing it from all sectors at the same time is nonsensical. There are many people already returning to work, who no longer need as much support, but at the same time, for those in the hospitality and theatre industries, there is no such security. We have no idea when it will be safe for theatres to return so why are we arbitrarily being given a date for their support to be withdrawn? There are so many people who are struggling as a result of the crisis and 50% off meals at restaurants is probably the last thing on their minds. Our food banks are still handing out food parcels to those who cannot afford to put meals on the table for their kids and the UK Government really need to consider how their proposals are going to help the hardest hit in our communities. This is sorely lacking at the moment.
This week, I spoke in the debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the paucity of services available to victims of domestic abuse with funding having been decimated over a decade of austerity. This Bill has been a long time coming, but it is very welcome. We now must ensure that at the heart of it is the provision of services to everyone and anyone affected by domestic abuse, be they male or female, LGBT+, migrants, or children.
The Teenage Cancer Trust launched its report on Cancer and Coronavirus: the Impact on Young People this week. We’re all aware that the virus has had a huge impact on those with complex medical needs or facing treatment for other illnesses and conditions. The NHS has naturally had to redirect resources to tackle the immediate crisis, but that has been challenging for many. Those who have still had treatment have shared their experiences of feeling isolated during hard treatment without family able to be with them to support them and many found having to reiterate to people the necessity of strict isolation stressful and upsetting. It’s heart-breaking to hear some of the stories of teenagers who should be out enjoying themselves having to deal with situations that most adults would find difficult to ensure. We need to ensure that there is adequate support in place to ensure that no one feels alone, and everyone can find the help they need. You can read the full report here.
Sport Wales have this week announced a £4 million fund to support some of the most valuable assets in our communities – the sports clubs and community groups that help people stay active and take part in sport. Issues around our levels of health, from the coronavirus being exacerbated by air pollution and obesity levels, have come to the fore and it is vital that our recovery post-covid takes sports into account. Particularly considering the mental toll the pandemic has had on us and the positive role sport and physical activity can play in supporting mental health as well as the physical benefits. We must ensure that sports are able to get back up and running as soon as possible to support both children and adults get back into physical activity and having fun with friends and teammates. Grassroots sports groups are invited to apply for a grant through the Sport Wales website here.
The First Minister has today announced further easing of lockdown measures in Wales, with a number of changes expected in the coming weeks and covering hospitality, the beauty industry, tourism and leisure. It has also been announced this week that all children in Wales will be able to return to school in September, with an additional £29 million of funding provided to recruit teaching staff and help children catch up. As things change it's even more important that we continue to practise good hygiene and make sure we are up to date on what we can and can’t safely do. You can keep up with Welsh Government announcements 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, 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!