CORONAVIRUS BULLETIN – AS AT 2 APRIL 2020
I’ve set up a Facebook support group for local residents to share what support they can offer and so we can all help each other. You can join the group by clicking here. See below for more information about community groups providing support.
Please email me with any questions or issues I can raise to represent you in Putney and Parliament: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am holding regular surgeries by phone. Please email me if you would like to book a slot.
Wandsworth Council Coronavirus guidance. The Council Community helpline for support is 0208 871 6555 and the email is email@example.com.
Putney Coronavirus Mutual Support Group – for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields
1. STAY AT HOME
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
For further Government advice click here
2. IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS. If you are concerned you have the virus, the NHS have issued the following advice: Stay at home for 14 days if you have either:
a) a high temperature
b) a new, continuous cough
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if: you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.
For further advice, please refer to the following: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Please note that we cannot offer medical advice beyond this, and we cannot contact the NHS on behalf of constituents with coronavirus related concerns to secure appointments or visits.
3) IF YOU ARE SELF-EMPLOYED: On Thursday 26th March, the Chancellor announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme includes the following provisions:
- Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
- At least half their income needs to have come from self-employment as registered on the 2018-19 tax return filed in January – anyone who missed the filing deadline has four weeks from now to get it done and still qualify.
- The scheme is open to those who earn under £50,000 a year – up to 3.8 million of the 5 million people registered as self-employed.
- Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work as they receive support.
- The money, backdated to March, will arrive directly into people’s banks accounts from HMRC, but not until June.
- The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022.
- Company owners who pay themselves a dividend are not covered.
I am aware that thousands of self-employed individuals are not covered by this support and I have written to the Chancellor asking him to urgently expand the scheme.
4) IF YOU HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE ISSUES: If you have had to cancel a trip due to coronavirus related issues – such as visa denial or the cancellation of an event – and you are not covered for your travel insurance policy, please contact your insurer at the earliest opportunity. As far as we are aware, there are no plans to force travel insurance companies to cover costs in such circumstances if the reasons fall outside of the specific policy they agreed with you, as frustrating and unfair as this may be.
Please be advised that my office cannot contact insurance companies on your behalf.
I am very aware that there are a huge number of issues and questions that this pandemic and the response to it is bringing to the surface, including for example the impact on the homeless, on schools and parents, on freelancers and musicians and on those who have had to cancel holidays and important work trips. This crisis is not going to affect everyone equally. Rest assured however that I am alive to these issues and will raise them with the Government when and where I can.
However, please also be aware that things are moving very quickly and that this is a national emergency. I advise those affected by these issues to stay alert to the latest developments and latest government announcements.
Constituents have understandably been in touch with me with questions and concerns about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. The best resource for finding out how Coronavirus might affect you, if you have symptoms or not, is the dedicated NHS FAQ page.
If you think that you may have Coronavirus, or have been in touch with someone that may have it, please use the Coronavirus NHS 111 service for advice.
To assist the NHS in helping people that need care most urgently, please use their online services (instead of phoning) where possible. Please do not visit GPs and other NHS facilities if you want advice on Coronavirus.
5. IF YOU HAVE A SMALL BUSINESS
A package of measures to provide support for businesses has been announced by the Government, including not only grants but also a business rates holiday for qualifying businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Whilst the Council is still awaiting final details and funding for the scheme from Government, it is taking proactive steps to be in a position to issue funding as soon as the final details are released.
It is estimated that this overall support package for Wandsworth businesses is worth around £95m.
Small businesses who receive Small Business Rate Relief and have a rateable value of under £15,000 are eligible for a £10,000 grant, with a few exceptions such as properties occupied for personal uses and car parking spaces. In Wandsworth this will provide £23m of support for small businesses.
The council has sent letters to around 2,300 eligible businesses for this grant explaining outlining how they can claim this funding.
A second grant scheme focuses on the retail, leisure and hospitality sector for businesses that do not receive Small Business Rate Relief, but instead are eligible for the expanded Retail Discount scheme.
This second scheme will pay a grant of £25,000 to qualifying businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, or a £10,000 grant to those with a rateable value of less than £15,000.
Around 1,000 local businesses that could be eligible for this grant scheme will receive explanatory letters from today, providing a further £25m of support.
Further information about support for local businesses is available on a newly created section of the council’s website dedicated to supporting businesses through this crisis. This website will be updated as and when new information becomes available. Businesses that do not receive a letter but think they are eligible for this support can contact the council via these webpages.
The Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce are also holding weekly online forums for local businesses and self-employed individuals to share their concerns, see here for the latest schedule: https://www.wandsworthchamber.org/calendar-of-events.html. They are also conducting a survey for businesses which can be found on their home page: https://www.wandsworthchamber.org/
6. MY UPDATES ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
These are the some of the actions that my team and I are taking to prepare for and help with handling the Coronavirus in Putney and Parliament:
- Lobbying the Minister for Education regarding exam changes and the effect of school closures on all children and especially disadvantaged children. The Education Select Committee is continuing to meet and hold government ministers to account.
2. Lobbying the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, regarding social provisions during this crisis, urging more testing and more protective equipment for NHS and other front-line workers.
3. Wrote to the Chancellor to demand that self-employed people also receive support and the support package for businesse has been expanded.
4. Liaising with the Minister for Housing about private renters and social housing renters, than there should be a three month (extendable) moratorium on evictions. Noone should be evicted because of the coronavirus.
5. Lobbied the Government about the rights of the many self-employed workers in Putney, who are left out of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and who require an increase in Statutory Sick Pay.
6. In regular contact with the Foreign Office and set up a group of MPs to take action regarding constituents stuck abroad who are making a return to the UK – notably in Peru, Australia, Bali and a cruise ship.
1. I am in regular contact with Wandsworth Council, and receive regular updates on its response to the coronavirus crisis. For more information click here.
2. Organising and supporting local voluntary organisations and residents associations in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields.
3. Liaised with the Putney Improvement District (Postively Putney) and other groups to support local businesses.
4. Liaised with Roehampton University and they are now offering accommodation for NHS workers.
5. Liaised with local supermarkets to try to ensure that at risk groups have access to essential food and household supplies in Putney.
Regenerate-Rise are providing care and weekly support packages for elderly isolated people. They are looking for volunteers to pack and deliver the boxes at the Platt Centre on 35 Felsham Road, off Putney High Street. You can also refer an elderly person to them (with their permission) using the form on their website.
Age UK Wandsworth are currently collecting food for delivery to older vulnerable people in our community. They most urgently need: tinned soup, tinned vegetables, tinned meat and fish, long life milk, microwaveable foods & toilet rolls and cleaning products.
The Locations and opening times of the Southfields and Putney Foodbanks: click here