From Jo Stevens MP <[email protected]>
Subject News from Jo Stevens MP
Date June 29, 2020 5:09 PM
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New lockdown measures in Wales, COVID-19 updates and more.

Welcome to my June newsletter.

As always, thanks to all across Cardiff Central who have been closely following COVID-19 regulations - continuing to play your part in reducing the rate of infection and ensuring the Welsh Government have been able to begin to gradually open up our economy and society safely.

It’s important to remember, the virus has not gone away – if you develop any of the main symptoms (fever, continuous cough, changes to your sense of smell or taste) please self-isolate, and order a free test.

You can order a test for free by clicking here. ([link removed] )
I and my staff team are all continuing to work from home and we’ve received twice as many enquiries and requests for help during the pandemic. Each day of the week we are keeping on top of the new announcements from the UK and Welsh Governments and changes to Council services, so we can advise and help individuals, families, businesses and organisations in the constituency across a huge range of questions and issues.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if there's something I can help with.

** COVID-19 Regulations - Latest
As the hard work of everyone in Wales continues to result in reduced infections, the Welsh Government have been able to make changes in the regulations keeping us safe in recent weeks.

Non-essential retail is now open across Wales, with carefully managed numbers of people allowed in stores and social distancing essential. Please do go and support your independent shops, but please do so in a safe way.

There is still a requirement to stay local (ideally within 5 miles), and the Welsh Government have confirmed that should the conditions be met, this will be lifted on July 6^th, and hairdressers have been asked to prepare to reopen with an appointment only system initially.

The next full review of lockdown regulations in Wales is due to take place by 6^th July, so please do keep an eye out for the daily Welsh Government press conferences at 12.30 each afternoon – unlike the UK Government, these will be continuing for the foreseeable future.

As always, I’ll be putting any changes to the Coronavirus measures, and any relevant guidance on my website and social media channels, so you can access the new information quickly and easily.

More guidance can be found on the Coronavirus advice section of my website, which you can access by clicking here. ([link removed])

DWP and Job Centres

The UK Government today confirmed that from Wednesday 1st July, Job Centres are due to reopen. This means that if you miss a Universal Credit appointment after Wednesday you may be sanctioned - so please be aware to ensure you make any appointments you are required to.

** Black Lives Matter
After the killing of George Floyd, and the deplorable and dangerous use of force against protesters led by Donald Trump we saw the worldwide growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Trump’s deliberate use of inflammatory language, inciting violence against those he is supposed to lead and represent, and the subsequent responses from many police forces in my view has no place in any democracy.

What makes our Cardiff Central community a real community, is its diversity. It’s what makes me so proud to be your Member of Parliament. But we, across the UK, have to recognise that racism today is not confined to the United States. Reports of hate crimes in the UK have doubled since 2013 and only last year, a poll showed 71% of people from BAME communities in the UK experienced discrimination.

Every one of us is equal, and every one of us can help combat racism, individually and collectively. Children are not born racist, they learn racism from what they see and hear around them. Education is key, and we can all support some of the many organisations in the UK working to combat hate and build a better society for all of us.

Congratulations to our Lord Mayor of Cardiff, and Plasnewydd Labour Councillor Dan De’Ath on his campaign for the removal of the statue of Thomas Picton from the Marble Hall area of City Hall.

I also wrote to the Leader and Chief Executive of Cardiff Council in support of Cllr De’Ath’s request for the statue of Thomas Picton to be removed from City Hall. My letter is below:

** Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Work
June has been my third month in the role as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It’s been an incredibly busy few months, with huge swathes of the sector unable to access Government support schemes to safely guide themselves through the unprecedented pressures from COVID-19.

My task, and the job of Labour in Parliament has been to push at every opportunity for proper support to safeguard the futures of these industries.

Music venues, theatres, and other live performance venues in particular face a huge challenge as these will be some of the last to fully reopen due to the impossibility of operating with social distancing in place. These venues are the hearts of communities up and down the country, nowhere is that more strongly felt than here in Cardiff.

Each day, I’ve been meeting with representatives from across the sectors to listen and learn about how COVID-19 has been affecting them and what help and support they need. We’ve already seen the impact on the Wales Millennium Centre, which will now stay closed until January with the loss of 250 jobs. I am continuing to work with my MP colleagues across Cardiff to press the UK Government for specific support for the creative industries sector that would enable Welsh Government to then have funds to support the WMC.

In Parliament, I’ve been repeatedly pushing the Government for a sector specific package of support before it’s too late. Across live music, comedy & other live performance, significant numbers of skilled and talented people have been excluded from Treasury support schemes and as furlough is wound down, lack of income means large scale redundancies.

That huge loss of talent and specialist skills – the engine room of our world-renowned cultural industries – that will severely impede post COVID recovery and renewal. The UK Government needs to act - time is running out.

My last letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is here. ([link removed] )

** Sunday Trading U-Turn
This month, after opposition from Labour in Parliament and a campaign led by trade union Usdaw, we saw the Government u-turn on misguided plans to relax Sunday Trading rules. ([link removed])

For shop workers, COVID-19 has meant working longer & harder hours, in very difficult circumstances, going above and beyond to keep shops running safely during this crisis.

We owe retail workers a huge debt - it would have been wrong for the Government to reward them by forcing them into a situation where they had to work even longer hours. The Government should instead focus on supporting our high streets and helping businesses practically through the uncertainty to come.

Usdaw Union represent retail workers across the UK - if you work in retail and are yet to join, I strongly recommend you do.

** Music Venues
In recent weeks I’ve been contacted by many constituents concerned about the future of our much loved live music venues in Cardiff.

I know what a desperate situation it is for our venues, and even as COVID-19 regulations are gradually eased in Wales, we know they will be amongst the last businesses to fully reopen – placing them under unprecedented financial pressure. The latest industry survey suggested that 93% of venues may never reopen.

I’ve had so many great nights out at live music venues, and we all want to have more of them.

I’ve been repeatedly pushing the Chancellor and the Culture Secretary along with my colleague Anneliese Dodds, our Shadow Chancellor, for a specific support package for the sector for weeks and weeks.

I’ve been meeting with stakeholders every day, locally in Cardiff but nationwide too, and we are all saying the same thing. It appears from the complete lack of action to date, that the UK Government is willing to see much of the live performance sector collapse with the loss of jobs and businesses that go with that. If that’s not their intention then they are running out of time to do something about it and only they can do something about it.

I spoke to Radio 5 last week about the music industry and we will continue to take every opportunity that arises to continue to challenge the Government to urgently help. You can listen to this by clicking here. ([link removed])

** Climate Coalition Virtual Lobby
I was pleased today to meet with representatives from the Climate Coalition, as part of their virtual mass lobby of Parliament. Last year’s lobby involved 12,000 people going to Westminster to lobby their MPs on climate change.

The UK is at a turning point - as we build back from the current health crisis, we have the opportunity to rebuild a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackle climate change and nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world. Labour remain committed to building back from COVID-19 to create a fairer, greener society – so as to make sure we don’t sleepwalk from one crisis straight into the next.

** Keep Cardiff Tidy
Last weekend, I joined Plasnewydd Councillors Dan De’Ath and Pete Wong for a socially distanced litter pick at Roath Rec.

While it was great to be out and about to help, the levels of littering in our open spaces has been disappointing to see in recent weeks. We are lucky in Cardiff Central to have some wonderful open spaces, lets work to ensure we keep them clean and welcoming for everyone by using the bins provided, and taking all litter home – especially now as the Council have provided lots of extra bin space.

** Phased Safety Plan in City Centre
As non-essential retail continues to open, the first phase of a plan to keep visitors safe in the City Centre is now in force. This includes staffed welcome points, a one-way system and some road closures in the centre.

You may have noticed that there have already been changes made to Wellfield Road to allow for enhanced social distancing.

Maps, and the full detail of the plan is available here. ([link removed] )

** GWR Short Story Competition Winner!
[link removed]
Last month's newsletter included a short story competition run by Great Western Railway. I’m very happy to tell you that 7 year old Carys, a pupil at Marlborough Primary School entered and won the competition!

Carys's brilliant Enid Blyton-inspired short story was read out in full on GWR’s Facebook page by TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson, and you can listen to it by clicking here. ([link removed])

Congratulations Carys!

** COVID-19 Advice Hub and Contact Information
[link removed]
My website ([link removed]) has a dedicated section containing the most up-to-date information and advice from the UK Government, Welsh Government and Cardiff Council on a range of matters from employment, business, housing, volunteering and more.

We are continually updating it with the latest information as soon as it becomes available and I hope it has been helpful to you. If you need help with an issue that isn’t covered there, please call or email me (contact details are below).
* Find out what to do if someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus ([link removed]) .
* If you are concerned about your symptoms, check if you need medical help ([link removed]) .
* Find out how you can reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus ([link removed]) .

** Facebook ([link removed])
** Twitter ([link removed])
** Link ([link removed])
** Website ([link removed])
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