From Jo Stevens MP <[email protected]>
Subject News from Jo Stevens MP
Date September 30, 2020 5:21 PM
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With information about the Cardiff lockdown and my work in Parliament and around Cardiff Central

Welcome to my September newsletter.

Thank you to everyone across Cardiff Central who has been closely following COVID-19 regulations and helping to play their part in seeking to slow the spread of the virus.

However, as I’m sure you are aware, Cardiff is now in a state of local lockdown. These coming weeks will be difficult for us all, but we each have personal responsibility and a personal stake in breaking the chain of transmission. It’s down to each and every one of us to do that and if we do, we have the best possible chance of reducing the rate of infection across our city.

Please don’t forget - if you develop any of the main symptoms of COVID (fever, continuous cough, changes to your sense of smell or taste) you should self-isolate and order a free test.
You can order a test for free by clicking here. ([link removed] )

** COVID-19 Survey

I’m running a constituency survey asking for your views about what you think our post COVID-19 recovery should focus on. Each and every household and community has been affected by COVID-19, and even as we look ahead to the possibility of a return to a more normal way of life, huge challenges remain.

It’s obviously much more difficult than usual right now for me to speak with people in person, but your views on how we move forward have never been more important to me as your MP.

Please take a few minutes to share your opinions in this survey, and help us stay in touch as we face future challenges together.

You can fill in the survey here. ([link removed] )

** Annual Report 2019-20
Over the past month I’ve been out and about across Cardiff Central delivering my annual report with the kind help of volunteers.

If you are yet to receive a copy and you’d like to read the online version, please click here. ([link removed])

** Cardiff Lockdown and COVID-19 Measures
As of 6pm last Sunday, Cardiff is now in a local lockdown because the rate of infections has been rising rapidly across our city in recent weeks. This means:
* No travelling to/from the Cardiff local authority area without a reasonable excuse.
* No indoor meetings with people you don’t live with – this includes in pubs and restaurants and inside other peoples’ homes.
* Bubbles and extended households do not exist in Cardiff anymore.
* Work from home if you are able to.
* Keep a 2m distance
* Wear a face covering
* Wash your hands regularly

If you have any questions about the regulations and cannot find the answer to your query, or you require any support, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the details at the bottom of this newsletter.

Full Welsh Government FAQs on the new restrictions can be found here: ([link removed])

Advice from Cardiff Council can be found here: ([link removed])

The Welsh Government have now introduced some additional Wales-wide restrictions, including a 10pm hospitality curfew, and it is asking people to continue to work from home where possible, and to think carefully about travel – only travelling where necessary.
Support for Self-Isolating

The Welsh Government have announced a support payment of £500 for those on low incomes who are required to self-isolate. As soon as further guidance and criteria is published, I will post this on my social media channels.
Face Coverings Mandatory

Don’t forget - face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public places such as shops. Those under age 11 and those with health conditions will be exempt.

For residents in Cathays, South Wales Police are working with the universities, community and wider stakeholders in the coming weeks with additional patrols each night, to ensure COVID-19 regulations are being followed.

The police are also actively engaging with the student community to make them aware of the additional restrictions in place and their need to follow guidance to ensure infections come down.

** In Parliament

** Digital Culture Media and Sport Questions
Last week I was back in the House of Commons chamber for DCMS questions to the Government – our opportunity as Labour’s DCMS team to question Ministers directly.

18 months ago, the Government promised world leading legislation to tackle online harms and to make Britain 'the safest place in the world to be online'.

Over the past six months, children’s’ charities, victims of online harms, other stakeholders and campaigners have raised concerns with me that the Government may be watering down the draft legislation. I asked the Secretary of State to confirm that legal but clearly harmful content, like that which led to 14 year old Molly Russell tragically taking her own life, would be within the scope of the Online Harms Bill when it is published.

You can watch my question here. ([link removed] )

Last week, a large University College London study showed that more than 1 in 5 people are unlikely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine, as COVID-19 conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination campaigners flood social media. The UK Government has lost control of the virus, and public health communication.

I asked the Secretary of State what he was doing to get on top of this problem. ([link removed] )

** Football in Crisis

Last week, I spoke to Sky Sports News about the crisis facing football as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With fans still not permitted to attend matches, there is a real risk that many historic clubs, and potentially even the national league structures themselves are under threat. For many communities up and down the UK, their football clubs teams are the lifeblood of their towns and cities and drivers of local jobs and the economy. Only this month, we saw Macclesfield Town served with a winding up order. And this problem isn’t limited to football.

You can read my interview with Sky Sports News here ([link removed]) .

** Great British Week of Sport
As you can see above, I was pleased to have the opportunity to get out on the waters with youngsters at Fulham Reach Boat Club to celebrate the inaugural Great British Week of Sport.

The Great British Week of Sport runs in partnership with the European Week of Sport, showcasing the benefits of an active lifestyle across the continent.

This week offers us all a great chance to promote and celebrate physical activity and sport and the power it has to bring us all together.

** Fighting to save people's jobs in at-risk sectors

There are several industries that have been unable to reopen at all or only open partially because of the continuing public health crisis.

Music venues, theatres, the live events sector and night-time industries more generally, face an even more prolonged closure. The furlough scheme will end soon and last week, the Chancellor set out a new measure called the “Job Support Scheme” which aims to return people to work part-time. Unfortunately, the detail of the scheme does not provide an incentive to many employers to keep people in jobs and it also does nothing to help those sectors which remain fully closed and have no income.

Neither is there any support for those people, like freelancers, who have been excluded from every UK Government scheme so far.

Labour has been calling for many months for the Chancellor to target financial support to those sectors that need it the most, rather than a scheme across the board that gives money to employers who have been able to operate normally and even increase their revenues. Unless that is done, we face the prospect of mass unemployment over the next few months. We will continue to speak up at every turn for these sectors and the people who are so badly affected.

You can read more in this Guardian piece here: ([link removed]-)

** Tech and Skills Policy

Technology and the UK’s skills policy are interlinked - and we want people to reap the benefits of technological change, rather than feel that they are being dragged along by it.

You can read my article in the New Statesman on why tech must put people first here: ([link removed] )

** Welsh Government Economic Support

** Support for Freelancers in Wales

The Welsh Government have made £7m available to freelancers working in the cultural and creative sectors who've been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the application process opens on Monday 5th October, freelancers in Wales can check their eligibility here. ([link removed])

** Economic Resilience Fund Round 3

The Welsh Government are making an extra £140m available to businesses to help them deal with the challenges of coronavirus and the UK’s exit from the EU.

This 3rd phase of the Economic Resilience Fund aims to help secure jobs and support companies affected by local lockdowns, with £60m of the funding dedicated to helping businesses in areas currently under local lockdown.

This new phase of the ERF will also see £80 million being made available to support businesses with projects that can help them transition to the economy of tomorrow. It will require co-investment from companies and a clear plan about how they will adjust to the post-covid economy.

For more information, please click here. ([link removed] )

** Support for Renters

Earlier this month, the Welsh Government announced they are extending the temporary increase in eviction notice periods to 31st March 2021.

This extension is in addition to other measures including a tenancy saver loan scheme and helpline for private tenants.

Read more here. ([link removed] )

** Womanby Street Artwork

Earlier this month, Cardiff Central’s very own Womanby Street was selected by Sky to celebrate Sky Arts moving to free-to-air tv. To mark the occasion, I was handed an amazing piece of artwork by Gregor Henderson celebrating the iconic street’s culture and heritage. It will go up in my office on Albany Road.

** Cyncoed Post Office
Thank you to everybody who has contacted me about the closure of the Cyncoed Post Office since I wrote to constituents affected by the Post Office PLC’s decision.

I’ve been in regular contact with Post Office PLC about their search for a replacement Post Office. They still don't have any definitive news about a replacement premises which is very worrying. They are assuring me they are continuing to advertise the opportunity and speak to anyone that may be interested in hosting the Post Office in Cyncoed.

I have written to the Post Office again today for a further update and will continue to press them to ensure they identify a replacement premises as soon as possible.

I will update you again as soon as I receive a response from the Post Office.

** Constituents let down by travel operators
I’ve joined my fellow Welsh Labour MPs in signing this letter to the UK Government on behalf of those who pre-booked holidays & are being let down by travel operators and airlines. In recent months, I’ve received lots of correspondence from constituents who’ve had trouble securing refunds that they’re entitled to for cancelled holidays, for circumstances out of their control.

Customers shouldn’t lose out for following laws designed to keep us all safe.

** Child Trust Funds
This month, the first people to benefit from Child Trust Funds turn 18 and can access the money put aside for them for the first time.

For every child born after 1 September 2002, until the Conservatives closed the scheme in 2011, the Labour Government put at least £250 aside for them. The money went into an account their parents could open with a financial services provider using a voucher sent out by the government. For children whose parents didn’t use their voucher, the government set up an account for them. The Welsh Labour Government also topped up these funds for children in Wales once they reached primary school age.

Here in Cardiff Central, 4124 accounts were created, but not all by parents – 2202 of those accounts were created by the Government to make sure no-one was left behind.

HMRC have now made it easier to find your fund: visit [link removed] for details.

** Get in Touch
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.
* 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]) .

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** Website ([link removed])
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