I hope that you, your family and loved ones are well at this time. I wanted to give members a quick update on the things that me and my team have been working on, both COVID and none COVID related.
First of all a lot of my time and my team’s time has been responding to the issues that this crisis has thrown up. We’ve been inundated with calls and emails from worried constituents who were at risk of losing their jobs, were left without any money until a universal credit claim came through or were just worried about the risk to their health and wellbeing.
We have managed to get a couple of successes by contacting employers in the early days and outlining the furlough process to them as there was a lot of confusion around it. This has prevented people from being laid off.
We’ve also had to sign post a lot of people to various different services. Particularly to mutual aid groups and other organisations who were delivering food. We have also signed up as a food bank referee ourselves as we were having people calling us without any money whatsover after losing their jobs.
The rest of our work on COVID-19 ranges from the expected such as lobbying the government for PPE for health workers and care workers or helping charities who have been left without fundraising opportunities to the less expected such as working with the Sailors Society to ensure the welfare of staff on ships docked off the coast of Southampton.
Asides from all of this I was delighted to be named as the Shadow Minister for Energy and a Green New Deal by Sir Keir Starmer. This continues on from the work I was doing before the election on energy, including pushing the government into a quicker net zero carbon emissions commitment. It will also take forward our development of a Green New Deal which is absolutely crucial for us here in the South East where we need to develop the sorts of high skilled jobs that are needed to build renewable energy infrastructure.
Over the last while since I was appointed I have been asking questions of the government to make sure that any recovery and any stimulus package after the COVID-19 crisis will have provision that supports green industry. I have also asked what is being done to support vulnerable people who are on prepaid energy meters and can’t get out as often to top up and who may be paying more in energy being in the house more.
I hope this has given you a flavour of what I’ve been up to over the past month or so. I hope that in better times I am able to meet some of you and I will look forward to that. In the meantime stay safe and keep in touch.