As you will know, the public health restrictions on our daily lives have now been officially extended by the government for a minimum of three more weeks. I know with the sun shining it may be tempting to stretch the rules – but please don’t! Let’s all continue to work together and follow the social distancing guidance, a reminder of which can be found here. It’s been heart-warming each Thursday to hear and see the displays of support and appreciation for our hard-working NHS staff and all our other brilliant key workers. Let’s make sure we keep supporting them every day by staying home wherever possible and helping halt the spread of the virus.
I continue to be astounded by the generosity of people and businesses across Swansea East. This week it was lovely to deliver donated Easter eggs to frontline staff at Morriston hospital. Thanks also to Aldi, GWR, and Mumbles Pier for all their donations to district nurses in local hospitals and to Mecca Bingo for hosting us while we packed lunches for local NHS workers. It’s only a small token, but I think it has been appreciated. There are so many companies helping out with donations, including Tesco, Aldi, Castle Howard, Rail Gourmet and even our very own Ospreys! It’s been so inspiring to see everyone in our community pulling together to support those who need it most.
As well as putting together food deliveries, we’re also appealing to any local businesses who are able to donate IT equipment to help some of the most vulnerable children in our constituency who do not have the facilities available to allow them to complete their schoolwork from home. Local schools have also asked for further donations of arts and crafts materials – if anyone can help please do get in contact with my office.
There’s been some welcome news this week with the announcement of the extension to the UK Government’s furlough scheme, meaning that employees on a PAYE payroll on or before the 19 March 2020 can be furloughed and given 80% of their wage during this difficult time. I’ve been very concerned about the number of people contacting me, concerned about falling through the gaps of the UK Government’s support, so this is a positive move, and more information can be found here. I’m also very aware that this still doesn’t necessarily cover everyone, so I’ll keep raising these issues and fighting to get everyone the support they need.
In more news related to Coronavirus, NHS Wales have introduced a new app to help track the virus and ultimately slow it down, helping the NHS with planning, and scientists to identify high risk areas. All you need to do is take a minute out of your day to report your daily health, even if you’re well. You can find more information on the app and read research updates here.
Social Care Wales have now also introduced a card to be issued to all care workers in Wales that should help them access the benefits specifically available to key workers during this pandemic. Some care workers have said that they have found it difficult to prove they are key workers, despite the fact that their jobs are clearly providing essential support to our friends and families. More information can be found on the Social Care Wales website here.
In a spot of light relief this week, popular local business Boss Brewery was featured on TV in Joe Lycett’s consumer show, Get Your Own Back. Boss Brewery have been forced to fork out £10,000 in a four-month legal battle against the high-end fashion brand Hugo Boss – who enjoyed a net income of £218 million in 2018. Our local Boss were forced to change the name of two of their beers as a result of the court battle. Joe Lycett, in his inimitable way, decided to fight back, changing his name to Huge Boss by deed poll, creating his own product complete with a ‘pretentious TV commercial’ to launch his support bandage product with models in the adverts. Hugo Boss have yet to do the right thing and drop their suit against Boss Brewery, but it was a brilliant and humorous show of support from Joe Lycett for a brilliant local business. Thank you Joe!
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. My staff are continuing to work from home, and are as always, here to help in whatever way they can.
I hope you all keep well and remember – stay home, save lives – and keep washing your hands!