From Caroline Lucas <[email protected]>
Subject Latest Newsletter
Date December 7, 2020 12:06 PM
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Green Party mailing
The political agenda continues to be dominated by Coronavirus and the
Government's mishandling of the pandemic: the failing test & trace system,
the lack of support for so many self-employed people, and the scandalous
PPE procurement process to name just a few. I spoke about some of these
issues when I was a guest on the BBC's Politics Live programme [1].


The end of lockdown saw Brighton and Hove placed in Tier 2, allowing some
re-opening but leaving the hospitality sector in limbo - technically able
to re-open in limited ways with tight restrictions on the number of people
pubs and restaurants could serve, yet unable to furlough staff. The support
on offer falls far short of what so many of them need to survive so I
continue to press Government to do more for struggling businesses.

The new tiers followed a vote in the House of Commons, when the Government
asked MPs to approve a Covid package which denies vital support for
businesses and binds us into lifting restrictions at Christmas, regardless
of the infection rate at that time - a move which scientists believe will
lead to a sharp spike in infections in the New Year, potentially
necessitating another lockdown. I could not support this plan, but
defeating the Government would mean risking no Covid restrictions at all.
So I decided to abstain and continue to fight for greater support. I set
out the reasons for my decision on my website [2].


I am concerned that the consequences of lifting most Covid restrictions
over the Christmas period has not been properly thought through by
ministers. I have tried to find out what modelling has been done to
estimate the likely rise in infections resulting from the 5-day
restrictions "holiday", both by tabling a written question to ministers and
by challenging the Health Secretary in the Commons. Judging from Matt
Hancock's reply, there hasn't been any - or he is refusing to share the
results. You can see our exchange here [3].


As a member of the all-party group on Coronavirus, I have been hearing from
a wide range of voices over the last few months - epidemiologists,
scientists, local leaders, patients and their families - about the lessons
we need to be learning from the handling of the pandemic. We have just
published our report, with 44 recommendations ranging from the very
specific to the operational.

The foremost recommendation is that we urgently need a UK-wide exit
strategy that recognises that by saving people's lives, we also safeguard
jobs and the economy. We recommend too that the Government empowers and
funds local authorities to take over the track and trace operation, and
recognises the unequal impact that Covid has had on our society so that we
emerge from this crisis more united and more resilient. You can read the
report here [4].


I continue to stay in close contact with local public health leaders about
their response to the virus in our city. Most recently, I was given a
briefing on how the Covid vaccination programme would be rolled out

I also had a (virtual) meeting with the Chief Executive of the Sussex
Community Foundation Trust about the tremendous work her teams have been
doing with health teams across Sussex, and the challenges ahead as winter


In my last newsletter, I wrote about the Prime Minister's 10-point plan for
climate action which I hoped would be followed by a serious commitment from
the Chancellor to building back greener and fairer after Covid. His
Spending Review was a huge disappointment: Rishi Sunak barely mentioned the
climate and ecological crises - we heard more about by-passes than nature.
There was no recognition that a healthy planet is essential for our future.
It was yet another example of Government targets or announcements not being
followed up with the necessary policies or funding.

Meanwhile, public sector workers, many of whom have been on the frontline
during the Covid crisis, are being rewarded with a pay freeze - the warm
applause in the spring has become a very cold shoulder this winter.

The Chancellor also confirmed a cut in overseas aid - with no commitment to
restoring it in the near future. At the very moment when the world's
poorest need our support more than ever, in the wake of a global pandemic
which has pushed more than 100 million back into poverty, the UK is turning
its back. A shameful, short-sighted and very damaging move.

I wrote about my response to the Spending Review in my column for Metro


It always feels good to have an excuse to wander round Brighton's brilliant
small, independent shops and restaurants. Small Business Saturday gave me
that excuse. They have faced so much uncertainty this year and need
assurances about their future - one of the reasons I am pushing for the
business rate 'holiday' to be extended beyond March.

Although Brighton is rightly famous for its brilliant small shops, the
retail sector depends on anchor stores too and it's worrying that Debenhams
on Churchill Square will be closing, with the loss of more jobs. Major
stores like this are an important part of the retail ecosystem and the
store's closure will leave a gaping hole in the heart of the city.


The UK will host the UN climate summit next year - the most important
climate negotiations since Paris in 2015. Ahead of that, all countries are
being asked to be more ambitious in the emissions cuts they plan to make.
Last week, the Government announced that the UK would aim for a 68% cut in
emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It's a welcome increase on the
current target, but not ambitious enough in the face of an accelerating
climate emergency, and not reflecting the UK's historic responsibility for
emissions, as one of the first countries to industrialise. We need to do
what is scientifically necessary, not just what some politicians deem
politically acceptable, and we need the policies and resources to achieve
it. Those are lacking. You can read my response to the announcement in the
iPaper here [6].


I joined 60 MPs in writing to the Home Secretary to express our opposition
to a deportation flight to Jamaica. Some of those due to be deported came
to the UK as children and are being split from children of their own. We
were not able to stop the flight, but last minute legal challenges meant at
least 10 of those being deported were taken off it - preventing what could
have been a serious miscarriage of justice. Despite assurances to the
contrary, the Home Office remains wedded to its hostile environment
approach to immigration. This must change.


I was hugely honoured to be first recipient of the Judges' Special
Recognition Award in the Patchwork MP of the Year awards, which recognise
MPs' work for disadvantaged communities. Patchwork does amazing work with
young people around the UK, encouraging and enabling their involvement in
politics and society.

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Contacting Me

If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]

I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.

If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]

You can also keep up to date with my news on:

Twitter: @carolinelucas

Facebook: /

My Website:

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