From JOHNSON, Gareth <[email protected]>
Subject Coronavirus - summer update
Date July 17, 2020 11:11 AM
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Gareth Johnson
MP for Dartford

17th July 2020

Coronavirus - summer update

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Over the last few weeks, we've seen non-essential retail opening-up, followed by pubs and restaurants, beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo parlours. These will be followed by indoor gyms and fitness centres on 25th July.

All these businesses and facilities have taken measures to make them Covid-19 secure and I would encourage everyone to support our local shops, pubs and restaurants.

We have already lost too many pubs in Dartford in recent times and we can't afford to lose any more. It is a classic case of 'use it or lose it'.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, recently announced measures to support the hospitality sector, including 'eat-out to help-out'. He also announced other measures to support jobs, including the Jobs Retention Bonus, the Kickstart Scheme and a £2 billion green homes grant. To help the property market, stamp duty was also cut to zero on properties worth up to £500,000 until 31st March next year.

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Please click on 'A Plan for Jobs' to play the video which recaps the Chancellor's recent announcements.

In Dartford, 16,700 jobs have been furloughed through the Government's Job Retention Scheme. 5,100 claims were made to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

There were 4,115 people in Dartford who claimed Universal Credit last month. This is a rise of 2,480 since lockdown began. This equates to 5.6% of the population aged 16-64, compared with 6.3% nationally. Fortunately, Dartford had high levels of employment before this crisis, but these figures show just how significant an impact this virus has had on employment here and around the country.

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Covid-19 in Kent and Medway

MPs in Kent and Medway receive regular briefings on Covid-19 related issues affecting the NHS across the area.

At a recent briefing, we were told that hospital bed occupancy rates were 80% at Darent Valley. PPE supplies are stable with no issues reported.

Wilf Williams, who is the Head of the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, reported that he had spoken with both Public Health Directors, who have access to the latest current figures and Kent and Medway is a long way from being a problem area like Leicester. Despite suggestions in some local and national media coverage, Kent is not currently facing potential local lockdown action.

Mr Williams also stated that work is progressing well to restart NHS services across Kent and Medway. Cancer diagnostics have all restarted and work is underway to clear backlogs. Treatment for cancers including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery is expected to be back to pre-Covid levels by September 2020.

Kent has been hit hard by this virus with nearly 9,000 recorded cases in the county.

The<[link removed]> site now includes daily cases of Covid-19 in Dartford. This data can be accessed by clicking on the button below. daily cases of Covid-19 in Dartford<[link removed]>

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From 24th July in England, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets, as well as on public transport.

Exemptions include young children under the age of 11, people with breathing difficulties and people living with a disability.

Find out more: [link removed]<[link removed]*F&c[0]=AT2VN36ptDkDTQoUuKNmhWmqeCDgzRNb3A_JlUaO324DYAwDGDukD4jg-6iQqR5tB9tzGhzWEBTX_HMGCDLBM6r6y6w1mnJziDkDYbU_kiNf82rqFVj1EHDZUiufeKdAO44AJfy4IQPMkYQKXZrErRWKdaJbUWUC0-os0kXhE35-s3ApjDxlJ7sc>

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Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Covid-19 film

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has launched a COVID-19 film - a priceless digital record for the future, showcasing everything it has been through over the last few months.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, DGT decided to document its story and legacy throughout the period.

Since March and with the support from different teams, it was able to capture different areas, procedures and situations on camera.

DGT believes this film can be an important part of its recovery.

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Education statement on the full reopening of schools and colleges

On 2nd July, the Education Secretary made a statement regarding the full opening of schools and colleges to all pupils in September. After his statement, I asked him what preparations his department was putting in place in the event of a second wave of the virus. Please click on the video above to hear my question and the Education Secretary's response.

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Statement on the end of the Transition Period

Michael Gove, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, recently made a statement on our preparations for the end of the transition period and I took part in the debate following his statement.

Last month, we confirmed to our European Union partners that there would be no extension of the transition period beyond 31st December and the deadline for extension has now passed.

I believe an extension to the transition period would only have created more uncertainty for businesses, a viewpoint shared by the CBI. A future partnership agreement will provide stability in the long-term and encourage investment and trade.

An extension to the transition period could also have had significant economic and political consequences for the UK. Our contribution to the EU budget would have continued and we would have remained under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The UK left the EU in January this year and the EU’s control over our affairs must come to an end.

To see my contribution to the debate, please click on the video above.
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Consultation on refinements to the design of the Lower Thames Crossing

The consultation is now open until 12th August 2020.

Highways England is proposing a number of refinements to the design of the project following feedback received from earlier consultations, discussions with stakeholders, ongoing design development and new technical data.

The crossing remains on schedule to open in 2027/28 despite the pandemic.

As part of this development, 500,000 trees will be planted and 'green bridges' will be established for wildlife.

Nearly 2,000 people will be employed on this project, with engagement taking place with local businesses to fill as many of these jobs as possible from local residents.

Your feedback is vital in shaping the scheme and will help Highways England develop their application for a Development Consent Order (DCO).

Online consultation
Highways England's proposals will be available to view on their dedicated consultation website<[link removed]> from 14th July 2020 until 23.59 on 12th August 2020.

Online exhibition
You can visit the online exhibition where you can explore an interactive map, watch videos explaining the proposals, and download documents including the guide to consultation, response form, environmental impacts update, and maps.

Visit the exhibition here<[link removed]>.

You can request materials here<[link removed]>, or by calling 0300 123 5000 or emailing at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>.

Telephone Surgery
You can also book a call back from a member of the project team who will answer your questions on the proposed changes.

You can book an appointment here<[link removed]> or by calling 0300 123 5000. Call backs will be made Monday to Friday, 12pm to 7pm, until 12th August 2020.

Highways England is hosting a series of webinars, where a member of the project team will talk you through the proposed refinements in your area and answer your questions. You can register for the webinars here.<[link removed]>

How to have your say

You can submit a response by using one of the methods below. Please note, Highways England cannot guarantee that responses sent by any other means will be considered.

Online response form
Fill in the online response form<[link removed]>.

Post your response form or comments to:
(The Freepost address is the only text needed on the envelope, and no stamp is required.)

Email your comments to: LTC.CONSU[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>

To book an appointment to speak to someone who can help you fill out a form over the phone, please call 0300 123 5000.

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Royal Mail National Dog Awareness Week

Last week was Royal Mail's eighth annual Dog Awareness Week.

During lockdown, Royal Mail's postmen and women have been committed to ensuring that people, communities and businesses across Dartford remain connected. They have been playing a more critical role than ever before, delivering essential prescriptions and hospital appointments as well as helping to deliver and return coronavirus tests to NHS and social care frontline staff and other key workers. At the same time, they have enabled UK businesses to continue to serve customers who were unable to visit shops.

Last year, 2,445 postmen and women were attacked when out delivering the post. That is why it is so important to keep a dog under control when post, or a parcel, is being delivered.

[Gareth Johnson MP website]<[link removed]>

Gareth Johnson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Tel: 0207 219 7047
email: [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>

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