From Preet Kaur Gill MP <[email protected]>
Subject Here's your weekly update John
Date December 21, 2020 6:40 PM
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Dear John,

On Saturday, the Prime Minister called a press conference alongside the
chief medical officer and chief scientific advisor to announce news of a
new highly transmissible strain of coronavirus that is driving the high
rate of infections in London and the South East of England.

Despite repeated assurances that Christmas would proceed with a degree of
normality, the Prime Minister announced that in tiers 1-3 three households
could now only come together on Christmas Day itself, but where possible
families should consider staying apart. There are more details on the
precise rules at the link here [4].

This is grave news, and I know how upsetting it will be for many families
who have been forced apart for long and difficult periods of this year.
This decision will not have been taken lightly, and on balance I think it
is the right thing to do, given what a dangerous moment we find ourselves
in the fight against the virus.

Nevertheless, the British public deserved better than this eleventh-hour
u-turn. Having berated Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions on
Wednesday for suggesting coronavirus case rates warranted a review of the
Government’s Christmas proposals, Boris Johnson did as much only days
later — dashing many families hopes and plans at the last moment, and
causing chaos in the process.

This crisis has shown time and again that making the right decision _at the
right time_ is integral to our success. Yet it is a pattern with this
Government that repeatedly overpromises and dramatically under-delivers, as
if the Prime Minister is too scared to give people the hard news when they
need to hear it.

To make the best of a bad situation, I would urge anyone who has Christmas
food that will now go to waste to please consider donating to a food bank

And if you are finding this news difficult to process, please do not be
afraid to reach out and talk to someone at one of the numbers below:

Samaritans: 116 123
CALM: 0800 58 58 58
Young Minds: 0800 018 2138
Birmingham Mind: 0121 262 3555


Building safety crisis update

In more positive news, after long months of campaigning, the Government has
finally conceded that the Building Safety Fund deadline needed to be
extended, and announced a £30m Waking Watch Fund [6]. This is a huge
relief for many Edgbaston residents, who have been tearing their hair out
in the run-up to the Christmas cut-off trying to get answers on the state
of their application.

Nevertheless, this announcement is only a sticking plaster, and the
Government’s top priority must be accelerating remediation works and
ensuring people are safe in their homes. This last minute u-turn amounts to
another missed deadline, and is an admission from the Government that it
expects many buildings won’t be made safe for some years.


Exempt accommodation campaign

This week, the work I and residents have been doing as part of our Exempt
Accommodation Working Group gathered momentum with a series of excellent
pieces written by Jane Haynes in the Birmingham Mail.

Recently, I joined residents to visit exempt supported accommodation around
Hagley Road that has been the epicentre of a rise in antisocial behaviour
and crime.

Along with colleagues across Birmingham, we are demanding tougher
regulation of bad landlords who are making millions on the backs of
vulnerable people. Not only is this sector the cause of misery in our
neighbourhood, it is often an abuse of taxpayers’ money and a honeypot
for organised crime.

You can read the first of Jane’s pieces by clicking below.


Letter to Dominic Raab

Earlier this week, I wrote to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab while he
was in India, about the ongoing Farmers’ Protests in Delhi. Enabling
people to publicly express their views through peaceful assembly is a
fundamental human right, and the use of tear gas and water cannons against
peaceful protestors is unacceptable. The UK must stand up for democratic
freedoms and work with our partners to protect and champion them.


New testing centre opened

Birmingham residents can now get tested for Covid even if you don’t have
symptoms, with the opening of a walk-in facility in the city centre – no
appointments needed. A large-scale testing hub site was recently set up at
Utilita Arena Birmingham (formerly known as the National Indoor Arena) for
mass (lateral flow) testing, which was initially piloted for groups of
council frontline staff. You can find out more information here:


© 2020 Printed from an email sent by Preet Kaur Gill. Promoted by A.J Webb
on behalf of Preet Kaur Gill, both at 56 Wentworth Road, B17 9TA.

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