24 April 2020
As lockdown wears on, I want to send my very best wishes to constituents at this most strange and challenging of times. With many of us apart from the people we love and worried about the impact of these huge changes to our lives, I appreciate and share everyone’s anxiety to get back to some level of normality.
Hopefully the government’s daily briefings are helpful in including everyone in the collective task of getting us to that point. However, I wish to reassure you that there is plenty going on behind the scenes too.
With this virus affecting almost every part of our national life, Ministers have had to move at speed to implement sweeping policy changes and support programmes. Inevitably some of these have needed tweaking and improving. My dedicated team are in daily contact with constituents and businesses who have identified challenges and offered help, and speak all the time to local services like the police and hospital to ensure they have the resource they need.
That community feedback then makes its way from MPs’ office across the country into a new casework system and departmental WhatsApp groups so government can see what needs tackling and how constantly to improve our response. This is why, for instance, we have seen vital new support for the hospice sector, changes to who qualifies for the furlough scheme, more upfront money for social care and changes to free school meal vouchers to help vulnerable children. Meanwhile Havering received additional police officers over Easter with more on the way in August.
Government will not be able to do everything and some of these very necessary emergency measures will have challenging long term consequences. But with this incredibly valuable grassroots information from residents, we hope together we can make our national response as robust as possible and make the right choices as we navigate our way to brighter days.