From Preet Kaur Gill MP <[email protected]>
Subject Here's your weekly update John
Date January 8, 2021 5:11 PM
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Dear John,

In the early summer, a Government report called “Preparing for a
challenging winter” warned of the risk of a second wave of the pandemic,
of the coronavirus mutating and of the NHS being overwhelmed. At a Prime
Minister’s Question Time in July, Boris Johnson was asked by Keir Starmer
if he had read the report, to which he replied he was ‘aware’ of it
[4]. Six months on, asked the same question by Andrew Marr, the Prime
Minister again wouldn’t confirm if he had.

This week the UK has become the most infected country in the world [5] per
capita, and many of the starkest warnings from that report have become
reality. In Birmingham, our hospitals face a grave situation, with the
dramatic rise in admissions leading to patients lying in ambulances outside
for six hours sometimes waiting for a bed [6].

Restrictions are, sadly, necessary to protect people’s health and the
health of our NHS. I have profound respect for our incredible health
workers who are powering through fatigue and intense stress to look after
us all. We each owe it to them to follow the new guidance as best we can.

As we enter yet another period of restrictions it would be easy to lose
faith. But we cannot afford that.

Thanks to our brilliant scientists we now have a light at the end of the
tunnel. The vaccine must be rolled out swiftly and safely: delays will cost
the economy billions of pounds.

That’s why the Labour Party and trade unions are doing everything we can
to support this national effort: to secure the economy, protect the NHS and
then rebuild our country.

Earlier today I wrote to local Labour Party members about how to support
the vaccine rollout, from signing up to NHS volunteer campaigns [7],
speaking to neighbours, friends, family and community leaders to promote
vaccination, making sure colleagues at work can get paid time off to get
vaccinated, and speaking out against disinformation online.

You can read my letter by clicking here [8].

School closures

This week the Prime Minister announced that schools will close to all but
vulnerable and key workers’ children. It is devastating that it has once
again come to this, and made even worse by the chaotic handling of the
decision and lack of a plan from the Department of Education.

Last weekend, I wrote to the Education Secretary about the implications of
the new Covid-19 variant on schools, and stressed how important a robust
catch-up programme and remote learning would be as this runaway second wave
forces children back home.

Gavin Williamson must stretch every sinew to get devices to pupils who need
them; internet access to pupils without; remove data charges for
educational websites; provide technical support for schools; and guaranteed
time with teachers.

I wrote to the Education Secretary in June last year [9] about the
Government’s failure to follow through on its pledge to provide devices
for disadvantaged pupils. I was therefore staggered to read this morning
that at this same time Gavin Williamson snubbed an offer of cheap broadband
for children who need help [10].

This Government should be grabbing every opportunity to help children get
through lockdown. I and my Party will be campaigning hard on this in the
coming weeks.


Vaccinating Birmingham

This week I joined MPs in Birmingham to discuss the public health situation
with the local hospitals chief. The picture is stark, and we owe it to the
NHS to follow the new guidance [11] as best we can.

It is fantastic news that the Moderna vaccine was approved today and that
the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is beginning to be rolled out – but we
need to be moving faster.

I will do all that I can to support the vaccination rollout, but the
Government must improve its communications. It is as yet still unclear who
is even responsible for the programme in Birmingham.

The Leader of Birmingham City Council, I and other MPs wrote to the Health
Secretary about this earlier this week.


Where's Rishi

Since the beginning of December, Birmingham has moved through several tiers
of restrictions, and the situation for the country has gone from bad to
worse. Yet it has been 38 days and counting since the Chancellor last
appeared in Parliament.

Now that a national lockdown has been announced, Rishi Sunak must come out
of hiding to explain how he will support people and businesses through this
exceptionally challenging time.

I wrote to him earlier this week about the planned cuts to Universal Credit
and freezing of LHA, which risk pushing families in Edgbaston to


© 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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