New measures came into effect this week to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Face masks are once again mandatory in shops and on public transport, all international arrivals must take a PCR test, and any anyone in contact with a suspected Omicron case must self-isolate. The Government gave MPs a chance to vote on these measures, but this was only after they had been introduced.
Concerning news today about the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant of concern. It's been named the Nu variant and it's first been identified in South Africa and other nearby countries. It has prompted the Government to reintroduce flight bans from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. See here for further details.
Concerning news about the new Omicron COVID variant.
I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care whether there are any early indications about this variant’s impact on children.
See my full question and his response above.
It’s been a sleazy couple of weeks with the Government defending the indefensible – MPs using their position to lobby Parliament or the Government on behalf of paying clients. This is completely unacceptable and I joined my Labour colleagues in voting to rule this out completely. But the Government’s majority meant this initiative was defeated. The Government, instead, tabled a loosely-worded motion that will see this issue kicked further into the long grass. It means the next time this issue will be revisited is in February.
Hackney is at the sharp end of the housing crisis, with high rents and many in insecure temporary accommodation. ‘Affordable housing’ set as 80% of private rents is not affordable for people in Hackney in temporary accommodation or overcrowded housing.
Hackney families were recently hit by a £20 per week cut to Universal Credit. There are 16,760 households in Hackney South and Shoreditch on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which meant a total cut of £17,430,400 in our constituency. 6 in 10 of all single-parent families in the UK will be hit. It will bring the basic rate of benefits to its lowest level since 1990.
Good broadband speeds are a vital need but parts of Hackney still face issues with slow broadband speeds.
The average download speed in London is 78.3 Mbps, however in Hackney Central it is as low as 47.4 Mbps, putting it in the worst 30 per cent of areas across the UK. Shoreditch is also in the worst 10 per cent of areas in the UK for people unable to receive good speeds.