From Gareth Thomas MP <[email protected]>
Subject My August Update
Date August 31, 2020 8:15 AM
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I’m writing to you with my August
update. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

[August Update]

Dear John,

Welcome to my August update,

Over the past month I hope you have been able to take a moment to slow
down. I’m sure there’s no routine that has returned back to normal
completely but for the majority of us, September will bring about
shorter days, longer nights and busier schedules.

Parliament has been in recess this month but as with any recess, the
work does not stop. For the purpose of transparency, below are two pie
charts that showcase the issues dominating my inbox at this time. As
you can see, my team and I are handling a large proportion of housing
and planning casework issues, while over fifty per cent of my Policy
e-mails have been in response to campaigns calling for a pay-rise for
NHS staff and for a ban on ‘supertrawlers’ and other destructive
fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas.

As I’ve reassured Harrow West constituents reaching out to me on
these issues, I will continue to press Ministers to recognise NHS and
care staff for the skill and selfless dedication they bring to their
jobs, including an overdue pay rise. I have also outlined my support
for amendments to this week’s Fisheries Bill that will prevent
supertrawlers from fishing in Marine Protected Areas, as well as an
amendment for a National Landing Requirement, so that at least 50% of
fish caught in British waters are landed in the UK.

[August Policy]

[August Casework]

While lockdown measures have been eased, it is still important to
recognise that over 65,000 people have lost their lives. My thoughts
continue to be with the loved ones of those who have sadly died, and
with those who have contracted the virus. Across London, including in
Harrow, we have seen rises in the number of positive cases of
Covid-19. As young people return to school and more people return to
work, we must all play our part in helping reduce the spread of Covid.
I hope readers continue to stay safe, socially distance and regularly
check in on loved ones.

The response to Coronavirus is being directed by Government centrally
working with Public Health England, the Government’s advice
is available here
[[link removed]]. Government
assistance specifically for businesses is available here
[[link removed]] . 

As always, if you ever need to get in touch about the issues covered
here – or anything else – please contact my office on 0207 219
4243 or e-mail me at [email protected]. Please bear
with us, as we have received over 5 times our usual weekly amount of
correspondence. My team and I are working hard to respond as promptly
as possible. Although we have had to cancel face to face surgery
appointments, we are scheduling regular Zoom surgeries and phone calls
with Harrow West constituents. 

Play your part in helping us keep Harrow safe – get tested for
Covid-19 even if have only one of the symptoms. Anyone suffering from
a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or
smell can be tested at a testing centre or with a home testing kit. 

Get tested now  [/]
[/]or call 119.


[Careers Fair]

Last year, my Careers Fair in collaboration with Rooks Heath College
was the only event in Harrow’s calendar to bring together pupils
from local state schools and over 20 companies and institutions, from
the British Film Institute and Heathrow, to the NHS and the Met
Police, to a CV and cover letter workshop from Google.

This year, due to the COVID pandemic, instead of the large gathering
in a school hall, I’ll be organising a virtual Careers Fair.
Students from across Harrow will be able to tune in and have
discussions with a wide selection of workers discussing their career

I want you to get involved and share exactly what brought you to your
career path. You can join from the comfort of your own living room –
all we want is someone that is willing to talk with Harrow’s
brightest lights about the career path they have taken. If you can
offer any support yourself or can provide more contacts – please
send me an e-mail with the subject Careers Fair to
[email protected]

[[link removed]]


[Speaking for Labour on International Trade]

Regular readers of this Newsletter will recall, as a member of the
Shadow International Trade team alongside Emily Thornberry, Bill
Esterson, Matt Western, Charlotte Nichols and Fleur Anderson, my role
has been to provide a detailed line by line examination of the Trade
Bill. Just before recess, the Shadow International Trade team worked
around the clock to ensure important amendments were added and
supported in the Trade Bill

Disappointingly, in the last big Parliamentary debate before the
Summer recess, Government backbenchers voted to stop amendments being
added to the Trade Bill that would protect the NHS from further
privatisation and drug price hikes. “_The Harrow West MP and Shadow
International Trade Minister wrote and co-authored changes to the
Trade Bill to stop for example a UK-US deal allowing big American
pharmaceutical corporations forcing up the prices for drugs used in
the NHS, or to prevent further privatisation. While New Clause 17’
would have prevented any future trade deal from including the NHS,
‘New Clause 4’ would have prevented trade deals from being signed
unless they were approved by parliament.”_

[[link removed]]


[Harrow Mencap]

Earlier this summer, I was proud to join Harrow Mencap’s campaign
calling for another dedicated disability nurse at Northwick Park
Hospital. The campaign was a success and the Trust have now announced
that they will create another Learning Disability nurse post at
Northwick Park. Last month I tabled a Parliamentary Question and wrote
to the Trustees at London North West University Healthcare Trust, this
complemented the excellent report set out by the team at Harrow Mencap
and the petition signed by hundreds of Harrow residents calling for
another dedicated disability nurse.

The current disability nurse has been split between five hospitals and
as we get out of lockdown and begin to deal with a second wave, it’s
clear the health service will be under greater pressure. With a 134%
increase in deaths of people with learning disabilities between
April-May this year, a doubling from this period in 2019 – Harrow
Mencap’s campaign has been incredibly important and will now ensure
that the hospital has another dedicated learning disability nurse to
support those who need it.


The council has a webpage covering their own response to the
coronavirus pandemic, this is regularly being updated and is
available here.  
[[link removed]]From October, parking
restrictions will return to ensure residents with permits can park in
spaces near their homes – read more here.
[[link removed]]


Headstone Manor Museum – Everyone’s favourite local heritage site
reopened its doors this month. Visiting times: 11AM – 3PM Thursday
– Saturday. During the closure period the team have been working on
reopening plans, taking all advice and guidance from the Council and
Government to ensure the site is ready and safe for public return.
Delve into Harrow's history, relax in the grounds or in the café. 
What to expect
[[link removed]] -
and there are still online activities
[[link removed]],
[[link removed]]

English Lessons - Harrow Council recently secured a successful bid to
help fund lessons and activities for those with little or no written
or spoken English, either in Covid-secure community settings or
online. Cllr Sue Anderson, cabinet member for Community Engagement and
Accessibility, said: “Lack of English skills can be a barrier to
social and economic mobility in Harrow. Some people find a more formal
learning environment challenging, whereas this type of community-based
tuition is shown to reach the people who are in greatest need, helping
them fulfil their potential.” Call 020 8901 2691 or
email [email protected] to find out more, or
visit  [/ ]to find available


Harrow Council have collected a range of online resources
[[link removed]]
 for all members of the family to keep entertained while libraries
are closed. You will be able to find resource to help with homework,
eBooks, newspapers and magazines and keeping yourself healthy and

Counselling services and mental health support

·       Relate Family Mediation 
[[link removed]] - a
service fully geared up to supporting families through the crisis.
Tel: 0300 0032324 or email [email protected].

·       DAWN [[link removed]]  - provide
a counselling service to the local community of Harrow and its
neighbouring boroughs. Tel: 020 8427 6796 or
email: [email protected]

·       Need To Talk [[link removed]]  - offering
1 to 1 counselling supporting their clients or any client by telephone
or webcam. Tel: call/ text on 07427548559 or
email [email protected]

·       Ignite Trust 
[[link removed]]  - During these challenging
and uncertain times, Ignite Trust is working hard to ensure they
continue to provide support to the boroughs most vulnerable and
at-risk young people. Email [email protected].

·        [[link removed]] Every
Mind Matters [[link removed]] - Expert
advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health
and wellbeing.


The council continues to operate a hotline telephone number during
weekends in order to provide support to those in need of assistance in
Harrow - if you are in need of support due to Covid please give the
hotline a call - 0208 901 2698


[TFL Facemask]

TFL’s School Services ​will help free up
non-school services for other customers. However, journeys for other
customers may take longer during school travel times (generally 07:30
to 09:30 and 14:30 to 16:30) due to these planned changes. TFL
encourage other customers using the bus network to plan your journey
in advance, travel at quiet times and outside of school travel times
if you can, and allow more time to complete your journey.  

Schoolchildren travelling without adults should travel on the
designated school services where these are provided, to
help ​provide space for other customers on regular services.
Customers who are not schoolchildren but who need to travel at school
travel times are strongly encouraged to use the regular services.
Regular services will continue to have lower capacity limits to
support social distancing, in line with Government guidelines.

Customers over the age of 11 are required to wear a face covering when
using public transport services (including school services) or
stations, or taxi and private hire services, unless they are exempt
on health or equality grounds. TFL advise anyone exempt from wearing a
face covering to carry an exemption card. For more details please
see [link removed]
[[link removed]]. We’re also asking
people to carry hand sanitiser and wash their hands before and after
they travel. 

TFL say there will be no changes to fares and ticketing for children
in September. While the Government has asked TFL to temporarily
suspend free travel for 11-17 year olds as part of our funding
agreement with them. The implementation of this is being discussed
with the Government and London’s boroughs and full details,
including the effective date of changes, will be widely communicated
once finalised.

[[link removed]]


Do you have a medical condition that makes you vulnerable? Please

A reminder, if you think you fall into a category that makes you
vulnerable to coronavirus – register with the Government here
[[link removed]]. For example,
you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential
supplies like food.

If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you
extremely vulnerable, register anyway. This service is free. You can
register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.
[[link removed]]


[GT and Kate Nash]

I appreciate that whilst this outbreak of Covid-19 is currently
dominating a lot of our thoughts, other concerns and problems do not
disappear. However, to help reduce the spread of infection, I am
asking members of the public who need to contact my office to do so by
phone or email rather than in person and further, I will continue to
hold surgery appointments exclusively by telephone and Zoom video
conferencing. This is a temporary measure and a sensible precaution to
protect vulnerable people. Please be assured we continue to offer a
full service of advice and support to members of the public who need

As always, my office can be contacted
on [email protected] or by telephone on 0207 219 4243

Best wishes,


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