Thank you to everyone who stayed at home over the Easter weekend and to Gloucestershire Constabulary for continuing to police these guidelines and enforce the law in a sensible manner. It may have been difficult, especially with great weather all weekend, but on top of boosting the capacity of our NHS, staying at home is the best weapon we have to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions are having on people’s lives with an unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business. A further £750 million package of support was announced last week to support frontline charities including hospices, Mind, Age UK and those supporting domestic abuse victims, to ensure they can continue their vital work during this time.
It will not be a short battle, beating coronavirus will take months, not weeks, and we should expect to see the peak of hospital admissions over the coming week or so. The Government is keeping all the current restrictions, and any further action that might be required, under constant review and will only relax them when the evidence shows it is possible to do so.
Last week, Gloucestershire received our latest delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support our social care and other frontline healthcare workers. More than 400,000 pieces of PPE including face masks, aprons, gloves and eye protection were distributed across the county thanks to a great effort from our fire and rescue service, police, military as well as community volunteers.
On behalf of Gloucestershire’s six MPs, I was in regular contact with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to ensure that this delivery successfully reached Gloucestershire.
Meanwhile, news reports saying that MPs will get an extra £10,000 to work from home during this period are simply untrue. The contingency fund in question is for MPs’ offices to purchase extra equipment such as Parliament-owned laptops with enhanced security to allow MPs’ staff to securely work from their homes across all days of the week. It doesn’t go to MPs personally.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPs' offices including my own have seen the numbers of emails and phone calls we receive soar. My team and I will continue to work hard to support concerned constituents across the Forest of Dean.