Coronavirus Update - 09 April 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to have devastating impacts on our communities. This week I have been working to call on the Government to increase access to testing and PPE for frontline staff, to address the serious gaps in the support for PAYE workers and the self-employed, and to act to prevent the virus spreading rapidly through government-funded accommodation for asylum seekers.

The daily increase in hospital admissions and deaths means it’s more important than every to continue to follow Government guidance and stay at home except to shop for food or collect medicine or for exercise once a day, unless you are a keyworker. I hope you will all join me tonight to #ClapForOurCarers and thank the hardworking staff in our NHS, social care, supermarkets, schools, delivery drivers and everyone else working tirelessly to respond to the pandemic.

The Bank Holiday weekend will be a time when many of us miss our usual hobbies and routines and time together with extended family and friends.  I’ve pulled together some free resources for adults and children to help keep busy and well whilst at home this weekend and throughout the lockdown. 

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Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - Update 03rd April 2020

I am continuing to work hard to support residents affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and to raise the concerns of my constituents in Dulwich and West Norwood. Since my last update, the Government has announced a lockdown to restrict the spread of the virus. It is crucial that we all continue to follow the advice of Public Health England and stay at home unless:

  • Shopping for basic necessities infrequently
  • One form of exercise a day
  • Attending medical appointments or to care for a vulnerable person
  • Travelling for work, but only where you cannot work from home

If you need to travel, the Mayor of London has announced a reduction in Transport for London services to manage staff sickness whilst maintaining service for key workers responding to the crisis. Wherever possible you should travel outside of rush hour to prevent overcrowding on platforms and to allow safe social distancing.

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Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Update - 20th March 2020

The coming months will an incredibly challenging time for all of our communities. The Covid-19 pandemic poses health risks to people across Dulwich and West Norwood, and staggering problems for our economy. I have been contacted by many residents who are already experiencing difficulties and I wanted to set out the actions I am taking and the most up to date information I have on all of the issues that the pandemic presents.

It is incredibly important to continue to closely follow the advice issued by Public Health England. This is a very fast-moving situation and the advice is subject to constant review. I have published a full FAQ on my website which can be viewed here. I will be updating this regularly with the most recent information.

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Helen calls on the Government to support King's College Hospital prepare for the coronavirus

Coronavirus has the potential to cause unprecedented additional pressures on our NHS.  King’s College Hospital in my constituency has the highest level of debt of any NHS trust in the country and I have long been campaigning for the government to provide the funding and resources King’s needs. The staff at King’s work tirelessly all year round, but will undoubtedly face an incredibly challenging period in the months ahead. It is now of vital importance that the government provides the funding for the testing, care and treatment that King’s has to provide as a result of coronavirus.  I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to ensure that King’s has the funding it needs.

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Helen calls on the Government to support King's College Hospital prepare for the coronavirus

I have long been calling on the Government to provide the funding necessary to end the financial crisis at King’s College Hospital. The staff at KCH work tirelessly all year round, but will undoubtedly face an incredibly challenging period in the months ahead. The Government has committed to increasing resources to the NHS to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak, but our hospitals need immediate support to handle demand for testing and to prepare for any increase in treatment demands.

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Helen speaks in Environment Bill debate

The Environment Bill is the first of a raft of legislation needed because of Brexit. The Tories have promised again and again that Brexit won’t result in any drop in the environmental standards and protections we have derived from the EU, yet they are refusing to include non-regression clauses which would guarantee this in the Bill. I spoke in the Second Reading debate this week on the many aspects of the Bill, including air pollution, plastic pollution & biodiversity recovery which are too weak at present and need to be strengthened to ensure that the Bill is an adequate response to the climate and ecological crisis.

 

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Helen challenges the Government on accommodation for autistic people and people with learning disabilities

This week the Equalities and Human Rights Commission announced that it is taking legal action against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for the failure to move autistic people and people with learning disabilities into appropriate accommodation. This is unprecedented, and the failures that have led to it truly appalling. I challenged the government to apologise to more than 2,000 families whose loved ones are trapped in inappropriate hospital accommodation and to take action now to stop this failure. You can watch here >>

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Helen speaks in debate on the Windrush Compensation Scheme

When Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948, around 200 of the passengers found temporary accommodation in the Clapham Deep Shelter, and came to Coldharbour Lane in my constituency to find work at the Labour Exchange. From there many settled in the Brixton area, becoming an integral and highly valued part of our community. The scandal of the UK government’s treatment of many Windrush citizens has had a devastating impact on many of my constituents – residents from Commonwealth countries for whom the UK is home, many of whom came here as British citizens, who were denied their status by the Home Office. I’ve seen the devastation that this injustice has caused at first hand, for constituents who have been deported, denied the right to work or claim benefits or access healthcare.

Since the Windrush Scandal came to light, it has become clear that the government’s response is wholly inadequate. My constituents are finding it far too difficult to claim compensation and the government has done far too little to make the scheme accessible. As a result, the government is compounding the injustice that Windrush citizens are suffering. This week I spoke on the Windrush Compensation Scheme calling for both urgent action and emergency legislation to end the injustice Windrush victims face and to allow access to the compensation they deserve. Windrush victims and their families have suffered enough, the breach of trust in the Home Office has been profound, and the government must now listen and act to provide justice and rebuild trust.

Many Windrush citizens have turned to organisations they trust for help and advice, including the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) instead of the Home Office. BCA and other trusted organisations should not be expected to provide this advice for free. Since 2018, I’ve challenged the Government to provide funding to trusted local community organisations to support Windrush victims because this is key to ensuring that everyone who is eligible for compensation is able to claim, yet they have refused to do so. This week, I spoke in the Windrush Compensation Bill second reading debate. I highlighted the multiple ways in which the government continues to fail Windrush citizens, and called the urgent change our community needs. You can watch my speech here >>

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Helen speaks in Queen's Speech Debate on Adult Social Care

This week I spoke in the Queen’s Speech debate calling for urgent reform of our broken social care system, which has been failed by the Tories for a decade. In Dulwich and West Norwood, and across the country, far too many families are being failed because the social care system is stretched to breaking point.

Across the country Tory cuts mean that many councils, including Tory-run councils like Somerset, are struggling with stretched budgets and facing difficult daily decisions to cut care packages or to raise the threshold to qualify for support. The consequences are heartbreaking, with a million people who are eligible for care are not receiving any support.

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General Election 2019: Helen's Brexit pledge

During the 2016 EU Referendum I led the campaign for remain in Dulwich and West Norwood, working as hard as I have in any election in which my name was on the ballot paper. Since the EU referendum, I have been the strongest possible voice for the pro-remain views in our area.

I have always supported a People’s Vote with the option to remain as the only democratic and responsible way through the Brexit crisis. I voted for a People's Vote in December 2017 when only 23 MPs voted for it and have consistently supported amendments to hold a referendum before any general election.

In this election the Labour Party is clear: Labour will give the people the final say on Brexit with the option to remain. Labour will hold a confirmatory ballot with remain on the ballot paper within six months of taking office. No matter what form of Brexit is on the ballot paper, I will again lead the campaign to remain in the European Union in our area.

I am the strongest Remain candidate standing in Dulwich and West Norwood and am pleased that all five main Remain campaigns are recommending that Remain voters support me in the General Election, including the People's Vote campaign, Best for Britain, Remain United and #TacticalVote.

A vote for me in the General Election is a vote to stop Boris Johnson and for a People’s Vote in which I will campaign for remain.

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