Friday, 20 March 2020

Letter to my MP regarding Government handling of legislation

I would like to add my support to the letter sent by Naeem of Halifax CLP to Holly Lynch MP. I would though also like to add that I believe Labour should be insisting that all emergency legislation, which I fear once introduced will become permanent, should need renewing by Parliament on a monthly basis.

Dear Holly

I am writing to you to ask for your urgent action to challenge the government’s handling of the ongoing public health crisis associated with the Coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic and to ask that you make or support appropriate amendments  to emergency legislation on Covid-19 being debated in the House for its first reading.

First and foremost, it is clear that the Conservative government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic is absolutely woeful and at odds with the approach of other major states and the advice of the World Health Organisation. 

The government has failed to take the necessary steps to contain the spread of Coronavirus, test citizens or protect the most vulnerable from infection. Its failure to introduce systematic testing and monitoring of the population has created the conditions for over 200,000 people to die unnecessarily.

I am asking you, as the Member of Parliament for Halifax, to work to secure as a matter of the greatest urgency, adequate resources and funding to introduce immediate systematic testing and monitoring of Coronavirus. This is the only guaranteed way to limit the number of deaths expected to be caused by Coronavirus, as has been shown by in countries such as China and South Korea.  

I am also asking you to oppose the coercive government proposals that will only put the public at greater risk of spreading the virus, and withdraw adequate care from those who are most at risk of dying from the virus: 
• give police powers to force schools and nurseries to stay open despite having insufficient numbers of teachers or being unable to provide adequate free meals to children. 
• reduce statutory duty on local Councils’ care for the elderly, some of whom are most at risk of dying as a result of becoming infected by Covid-19; 

Instead, emergency legislation should be introduced to positively support people needing to self-isolate and so reduce the spread of the disease.  

I am therefore asking that you submit or support amendments that bring into law the following:  

• the immediate introduction of systematic testing and monitoring of Coronavirus, and the safe distribution of free medical masks. 
• extend statutory sick pay to those in insecure or self-employed work during self-isolation and illness;  
• Increase statutory sick pay in line with other European countries with similar economies; 
• Introduce rent deferrals alongside the planned mortgage holidays, so that landlords cannot evict tenants and mortgage companies cannot take action against homeowners, with an assurance that repayment does not cause hardship; 
• Wholly curtail sanctions for missed Universal Credit interviews in all cases, and substantial reduction in the five-week wait for payments; 
• Suspend council tax, water rates, gas and electric bills for those that require it; 
• Requisition private hospitals. 
• support the food suppliers to enable vulnerable groups and carers to obtain essential supplies

• Introduce a Universal Basic Income to cushion the impact of the loss of earnings from the Coronavirus

You will of course understand my concerns, given my own health condition which would be greatly impacted during this unprecedented crises. Hence making demands for prompt and appropriate action at the appropriate time is crucial. I am therefore seeking your assurance that you will make strenuous representations of behalf of the residents of Halifax and get the Parliamentary Labour Party to progress our concerns to the government.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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