Due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chancellor abandoned plans for a long-term Comprehensive Spending Review (which would have allocated departmental spending for the next three years) in favour on a one-year spending review, allocating funding to government departments for the year from March 2021. The economic forecast, produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, made for grim reading. The UK is facing a 11.3 per cent economic contraction – the largest for three hundred years and the worst hit of the G7 (the seven largest economies).
The hidden homeless crisis is also a public health crisis.
I'm working with Karen Buck, the MP for Westminster North, to press the Government for a new Housing Market Package. This would create a Government-backed fund for local authorities and housing associations to buy up unsold private homes.
I'll keep pressing the case.
Today at the Public Accounts Committee I pressed the most senior civil servant at the Department for Transport on free travel for under-18s.
Free travel is a lifeline for cash-strapped families. Paying for travel is a cost many simply can't afford to backfill.
I am also clear there are safety considerations that must be taken into account; many parents specifically choose bus routes so their children will be safe from gangs.
If you agree, sign the petition by clicking here.
The removal of dangerous cladding and delays in obtaining an EWS1 form is an issue that continues to affect thousands of leaseholders in Hackney.
The Public Accounts Committee, which I chair, published a report on this issue that calls out the Government’s unacceptably slow progress in resolving this issue. Read that report here.
All walk-in services at Hackney COVID test centres have now stopped although it took over two days for the Government to notify Hackney Council. This is not good enough.
The Government needs to step up and get a grip on this testing fiasco.
A new 'walk through' testing site has been opened in Bentley Road Car Park.
It is vital that anyone with symptoms (a temperature, or a new persistent cough, or the loss of taste/smell) gets tested immediately. A fully functioning and effective test, track, and trace system is the only way we can live with COVID-19 and some semblance of normality.
Book your free NHS test online here or call 119.
Now that fabric face coverings are compulsory in shops and on public transport, we’ll all need more. Using disposable ones generates waste and we need to preserve medical grade mask supplies for carers, medical staff, and front-line workers such as shop assistants and transport workers.
I’m proud at how Hackney, and everyone involved with the NHS in Hackney, has pulled together during this public health emergency. Never has it been more apparent that it is the tireless and unwavering commitment of frontline staff that helps keep our NHS going. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the 1.3 million-strong army of nurses, midwives, doctors, physios, pharmacists, healthcare and maternity care assistants, porters, cleaners, and countless other staff who ensure that our NHS is there for every patient that needs it.