Weekly Column - 6th April 2020

The positive response of the local community so far to social distancing measures is welcome, though we must all continue to follow the advice for as long as is necessary. It will save lives.

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes and for further information and full guidance on going to work please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus. In terms of wider advice and information our hard working Somerset County Council have a dedicated website: www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/ as well as a support helpline number (0300 790 6275) and Spark Somerset are coordinating voluntary support: www.sparksomerset.org.uk. A further useful tool for businesses is the Government’s new Business Support website: www.businesssupport.gov.uk

Measures announced by the Chancellor offer a great deal of help for many people. However, I am currently seeking further clarity from Government regarding some aspects of the support for our self-employed workforce as well as charities and I have also been working to enable the return of a number of constituents who are stranded abroad.

Ensuring our frontline staff are properly protected with the right clothing is of paramount importance and following concerns raised by local stakeholders about a potential lack of supply I’ve spoken with Health Secretary, Matt Hancock and others as a matter of urgency and am assured that supplies will be forthcoming imminently. 

The Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum is also appealing for support from local manufacturers, PPE suppliers or any businesses that have stock which could be used. The key items required are: Water repellent surgical face masks; Non-latex gloves; Disposable plastic aprons; Eye protection and hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol content). Any businesses that can help with this please e-mail COVIDdonations@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Many of you have also been in touch to highlight your concerns about plans to decommission the GP 999 Car and following discussions I am pleased to report that the CCG confirmed to me that they have reversed their decision given the current situation.

A special thanks to local schools and teachers for their tremendous response to the coronavirus emergency demonstrating true civic spirit in unprecedented circumstances which is enabling critical workers to deliver the crucial frontline services that are central to our national effort to tackle the virus.

Please do get in touch if you need to – rebecca.pow.mp@parliament.uk / 01823 443062.