The scenes from the US and the outrageously racially divisive approach of Donald Trump are very distressing. I'm backing Dawn Butler MP's call to end the export of riot gear to the US.
Enjoy your weekend in Hackney parks but please treat them with respect.
Hackney Council will be opening public toilets - if you get caught short don't use the bushes. Park staff have worked hard to keep these vital spaces open and clean. Please respect them and other park users
The Government's Self-Employed Income Support Scheme does not do enough to support the self-employed and freelancers. I have been contacted by many people in Hackney who are directors of limited companies or freelancers on short-term contracts who are cut off from support.
It’s clear that for Hackney schools and workplaces to return safely, we need a test, track and trace system in place. I continue to make the case to Government that it needs to be done at the local level. In Hackney, we have the experience and capability to deliver. Our Council, community leaders and health professionals stand ready to help.
Hackney South and Shoreditch is a hub for start-up businesses, especially in the tech sector. Many start-ups are, by definition, either pre-revenue, loss-making and/or stuck between funding-rounds. They were therefore locked out of any Government support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme.
Hackney Council is facing a funding gap of up to £19 million. I know other councils in the UK are in a much worse position, with some (not Hackney) technically bankrupt.
Councils are a vital provider of frontline services. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government promised to pay back councils for all Covid-related emergency spending. There are now concerns the Government is backtracking from this. The Public Accounts Committee is on the case.
Freelancers in the creative industries, the self-employed on short-term PAYE contracts, and sole directors of personal service companies have been left with no work, no income and no support.
I raised this issue in the House of Commons and the Chancellor seemed ignorant of the facts. Hard working people are falling through the gaps in Government support. I’ll keep pressing the Government on this issue.
Hackney teachers and schools achieved a miracle when they transformed, in a matter of days, to teach and support students virtually. But the Government is letting them down by hinting at a physical return without any proper guidance or plans to keep students and teachers safe.
Parliament is still working but with a mixture of virtual and physically present, socially distant MPs.
I know too many people are still living in tower blocks with unsafe cladding.
As of March 2020, 46 per cent of social housing blocks and nearly 90 per cent of private residential blocks still needed work to remove dangerous cladding.
Some are mortgage prisoners, unable to sell or rent out our properties. The COVID-19 pandemic is only making things worse with further delays and rising costs.
This must remain a priority. I’ll keep urging the Government to act and not neglect this issue.