Happy New Year!
We returned to Westminster on Wednesday and I challenged the Prime Minister directly on the shortage of lateral flow tests in Hackney and nationally, but he was unable to provide a clear answer. With the rise in cases due to Omicron, we have seen huge demand for lateral flow tests but supplies have not kept up. See here for my question in full.
I pressed the Education Secretary on long term funding. Funding for COVID measures is only covered in the short term and schools will have to cover this out of their limited budgets in the future. You can watch my question here. The Public Accounts Committee has also examined this issue in detail. See here for our report on School Funding. The committee recently met with the Department for Education to revisit the issue - see here for a transcript of the meeting and here for updates on the inquiry.
This week also saw the Government announce the long-awaited Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. My colleagues raised a number of concerns, including the delay in opening the scheme and the inclusion of those already in the UK in the scheme meaning that those trapped in Afghanistan may not be prioritised initially. I raised concerns directly with the Minister for Afghan Resettlement about family reunion rules, particularly the challenges around the English language test. See here for my question in full.
Lastly, a reminder to get your COVID vaccine and booster if you have not already. This is the best way to protect yourself from hospitalisation. Book your first, second or booster dose here, and see here to find your nearest walk-in vaccine clinic. Those aged 12-15 can get vaccinated in Hackney at the John Scott Health Centre or the vaccination centre on Bocking Street.