For the latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit gov.uk/coronavirus
My team and I are continuing to work remotely and are here to help so please do get in touch if you have any issues or concerns to raise. We are receiving a very high number of calls and emails, but please be assured that we are working very hard to respond to everyone as quickly as we can. We understand that this is a very worrying time so your patience is greatly appreciated.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 939 9901
Below, I’ve included a set of key information you might find useful during the Coronavirus pandemic, which covers a wide range of areas.
For those of you who are not yet aware, the Bristol City Council has launched the new “We Are Bristol” freephone helpline which anybody can use if they need help during the Coronavirus pandemic. The number is 0800 694 0184 and it operates between 08:30 – 17:00, Monday-Friday, and 10:00-14:00, Saturday-Sunday.
Please continue to stay at home, protect our NHS, and help to save lives.
KEY CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION:
The UK Government’s public health advice is constantly changing. Please follow this link to find the latest updates from the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England: https://tinyurl.com/rybxxtq.
If you believe you may have contracted Coronavirus, you can check your symptoms via NHS 111’s online symptom checker: https://tinyurl.com/sqqezkq. You can also find the latest UK Government “stay at home” guidance here: https://tinyurl.com/u25puoa.
It is important that we all play our part in helping to prevent the spread of this virus. The social distancing measures that the UK Government have put in place are there to protect us all – and particularly elderly and vulnerable people whom we may unknowingly pass the virus onto. Strong adherence to the latest public health advice will also help to ensure that our NHS can cope with the likely increased demand over the coming days, weeks, and potentially months.
Support for businesses and employees
Bristol City Council are publishing regular updates on their website, including information about changes to council services while social distancing measures are in place. For the latest updates, please use the following link: https://tinyurl.com/tdwelc5.
I remain in close contact with colleagues from across our city, including the Mayor of Bristol, as we seek to further coordinate our response to the pandemic and support local residents as best we can.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an extensive package of measures to help businesses cope during the Coronavirus pandemic. If your local business needs support during this period of uncertainty, please contact Bristol City Council by calling 0117 922 2000. You can also read an overview of the UK Government’s support here: https://tinyurl.com/wv5dusj. Please note that the UK Government have indicated that the package of support available will be reviewed as the outbreak continues.
Support for employees on sick leave
The UK Government has changed the rules regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. The latest changes are available here: https://tinyurl.com/wvykjtq.
Support for the self-employed
I have been working closely with cross-party colleagues to seek greater protections for self-employed workers, sole traders, and others during this difficult period. The Chancellor has now announced a new self-employment income support scheme which will make available grants of up to 80 per cent of average profits over the last 3 years up to the value of £2,500 per month. There are some restrictions to this scheme and given its complexity, it will only be up and running by June. The UK Government has said that payments will be backdated once the scheme is up and running. You can view full details of this scheme here: https://tinyurl.com/wmdr3q3.
Employers and stay at home guidance
The government has been very clear that nobody should now be going to work if you are able to work from home or if the business or organisation you work for is called as non essential in the current circumstances. I have received a number of worrying reports of employers not adhering to this advice and asking employees to still go to work. If your employer continues to do so, please get in touch with me.
In light of the announced school closures across the UK, many parents may be concerned about the amount of leave they may be able to take to look after their children. You can find information about your rights to dependant leave here: https://tinyurl.com/yxp4y6xd.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all but essential international travel. If you are currently overseas on holiday or seeking to return from a period abroad, you are advised to contact your airline or travel company. You are also able to contact the FCO by calling (0)207 008 1500. I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are in this situation and I have been in close contact with the FCO to seek support for them. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, the FCO have indicated that they will not be able to put on charter flights to all foreign travel destinations. If you are getting into difficulty, please get in touch with my office although please note that the support I will be able to give may be limited.
I remain deeply concerned at the lack of support for renters during this difficult period. I am continuing to make representations to the government about this. The current government advice for renters is available here, including funding being made available for renters experiencing financial hardship: https://tinyurl.com/w2bhtgj.
The Department for Transport has announced a 6-month extension to MOTs that are due while social distancing measures remain in place. Garages will remain open for essential maintenance and vehicle owners are still expected to keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition. Further information about this is available here: https://tinyurl.com/u3y7qk7.
Food bank support
Local food bank demand has increased in light of the current uncertainty. If you feel able to make a donation to your local food bank to help others, you can find your nearest one here: https://tinyurl.com/gmeqtm2.
NHS Volunteer Scheme
Our NHS needs all the support it can get to respond to this virus. A national call has been put out by the Health Secretary to fill volunteer roles. So far, over half a million people have signed up which is fantastic. You can find out more about the roles available and sign up here: goodsamapp.org/NHS.
In line with the current public health advice, I have postponed by upcoming advice surgeries and face-to-face community engagements. My team and I are still working hard to respond to constituents’ concerns as quickly as possible, although we will be prioritising cases relating to the Coronavirus outbreak. If you need further advice or support, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com.