Good local news, first having lobbied the Lottery Community Fund to support smaller projects in rural communities, we have 2 new wins:
It's also good news for milkshake and burger lovers - the Uckfield and Maresfield branches of McDonald's will be reopening their Drive Thru lanes this week, with new safety measures in place in line with the Government's gradual easing of lockdown https://www.nusghani.org.uk/news/ghani-welcomes-reopening-local-mcdonalds.
I was also thrilled to hear that the Sussex Army Cadet Force has been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the fantastic work undertaken by their volunteers in the community. Sussex ACF has 820 cadets and 194 adult volunteers based at 25 locations across Sussex. The award will be presented to Sussex ACF by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex on behalf of Her Majesty later this year. If you are interested in learning more about Sussex ACF please see https://armycadets.com/county/sussex-acf/.
In response to the large number of Wealden residents employed by British Airways who have contacted me, I have, along with 100 other MPs, thrown my weight behind Transport Select Committee Chair Huw Merriman's debate application on redundancies in the aviation sector this week. The aviation industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and businesses across the sector have announced job losses on a severe scale. In particular, British Airways have announced plans to make over a quarter of their 43,000 staff redundant, with remaining employees being on drastically reduced terms. Many of the proposed changes do not appear to relate directly to cost saving and it is suggested that the company is taking advantage of the situation to bring in changes which have previously been thwarted by staff. I thank Huw Merriman for all his hard work leading on this so far and I will continue to campaign on behalf of airline employees across Wealden who are having their livelihoods threatened.
Many of you have been in touch over my campaigning against the unworkable and damaging 14 day quarantine for anyone entering the country from abroad. Please see the letter from the Future of Aviation Group to the government pointing out that this will destroy our aviation and tourism industry and recent media coverage here. More information can be found on my website https://www.nusghani.org.uk/news/ghani-joins-future-aviation-group.
Like many of you, I am troubled by recent events in Hong Kong and have supported calls for the Government to offer full UK citizenship to British National Overseas persons in Hong Kong. China has undermined the principles of the 1984 Sino-British agreement and we have a moral duty to stand up for the people of Hong Kong. The Tory Reform Group's statement, for which I am a member, can be found here https://www.trg.org.uk/tory-reform-group-launches-campaign-for-hong-kong-bnos/. I am hoping to speak in the debate this week in Parliament and please keep an eye on my website for updates.
I am looking forward to returning to Westminster on Tuesday and continuing to challenge the Government in the interests of Wealden. Campaigning with colleagues last month, I was pleased to have two good wins and change in policy from Government – the extension to the bereavement scheme to migrant NHS support staff and social care workers, as well as the scrapping of health service fees for migrant NHS staff. I hope to have an even greater impact back in Parliament.
Other top issues I am dealing with for Wealden Residents are noted below:
- From 1st July, businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed workers back part time, and from August the level of government grant provided will be slowly reduced to reflect people's increased ability to return to work. Information on changes to both the Job Retention Scheme and SEISS can found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-self-employment-support-scheme-and-confirms-furlough-next-steps.
- The £3.45m Covid-19 Food Charities Grant Fund to provide immediate support to keep food charities and front-line food aid charities open and supporting the vulnerable, due to the economic impacts of Covid-19, with a continual supply of food otherwise not accessed through usual routes.
- A £10m Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation Fund: COVID-19 emergency support fund to support domestic abuse safe accommodation services who provide beds and offer the critical help victims and their children need.
- The £6m Covid-19 Impact Programme to ensure that people from Armed Forces communities can keep accessing important services, where resources for these services have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The £5m Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund National organisations working to tackle loneliness and build social connections are invited to apply for a share of £5 million of funding, which the government is investing to help them to continue and adapt their critical work.
- The £6m Covid-19 Homelessness Response Fund to provide emergency funding to homelessness charities directly affected by the Coronavirus.
- The £200m Community Support Fund to fund activities supporting people and communities affected by COVID-19 and to help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they’re facing because of the pandemic.
As usual, my team and I have been busy dealing with constituents' problems and in the last week my inbox has been filled with emails about Mr Cummings. There were so many of these that I could not issue a personal response to everyone. I have therefore produced a letter which outlines my position and what I have done to express the concern and anger of so many of my residents.
In addition to daily coronavirus related calls with constituents, I will be holding another virtual surgery on Wednesday 3rd June for Wealden residents with non-Covid related casework. To register for the surgery, please email a completed surgery form to email@example.com - the form and details can be found on my website https://www.nusghani.org.uk/events/upcoming-online-surgery-1.
Thank you for your support and remember to stay alert, control the virus, save lives.