Sedgefield MP Paul Howell with an open letter on the current Covid-19 crisis…
There was some good news this week with Boris returning to lead us and starting to talk about the plan to release the lock down in a controlled and appropriate way. Obviously congratulations to him and Carrie too on the birth of their son.
In line with the government rules on lockdown I am primarily working from home, although the House is sitting we are not needed in the chamber as virtual connections have been enabled.
I sit on the BEIS select committee (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) in the last week or so we have had both the secretary of state Alok Sharma and representatives of business organisations in front of us to consider the actions that have been taken by government to support businesses.
These have been televised on Parliament.tv and the next BEIS session is due on the 14th of May. This next session will be discussing the impact of businesses and workers of Coronavirus as we come out of the lock down.
I have also joined informal Q&A conferences with the secretaries of state for international trade, local government, and Defra where myself and others are able to get questions answered and or initiatives discussed. Over the next week we have similar sessions planned with DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) Rail and DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Respectively I will be raising Rural Broadband, Ferryhill Station and support for Dairy Farms and any other representations I get in the meantime.
These in some way bridge the gap that we have by not sitting in parliament when we would normally be able to access ministers in the voting lobbies.
My staff and I of course continue to work to deal with the many queries we are receiving and help as many people as possible. If you need us then the best means of contact is via email at [email protected]
A regular question we get is around why people should be at work if they are not key workers. The instructions from Government around going to work are not based on whether you are a key worker, it is more associated to your personal situation and safety. One of my staff has produced a series of 5 questions which explains your decision as to whether you should go to work and these are below.
As the Prime Minister has indicated thoughts are now moving to planing lifting lockdown but it is not time yet and it’s imperative that everybody continues to do as requested and stay home, save lives and protect the NHS.
Paul Howell MP