Parliament returned virtually this week with Labour’s new leader, Keir Starmer, challenging the Government over its poor record on testing and PPE. 

I’m continuing to press the Government over small businesses, the self-employed, freelancers, and vulnerable families still falling through the gaps of Government support. 

I also met with local Hackney groups and we are determined to help those affected by the digital divide. 

See me discuss this and more in my new weekly round-up above.

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This week the Government has announced a three-week extension to the lockdown but we still have no information on what might come next. This is not good enough. We need a discussion about how the Government will plan its next steps so that no person or business is left behind.

Next week Parliament will meet, for the first time in its history, virtually. I welcome this important step as it is vital MPs can challenge ministers about actions and decisions on important issues. These include: 

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I have repeatedly raised the issue of people who have been granted leave to remain in the UK but with no recourse to public funds. They are unable to claim any benefits or public funding.

I joined forces with Hackney North and Stoke Newington  MP, Diane Abbott, to ask the Home Secretary to allow people unable to work during the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to claim benefits.

The Home Secretary is refusing to waive the restrictions. It means these people will have no access to Universal Credit, and risk destitution, if they lose their job due to lockdown.

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Having been pressed for action for some time, the Government finally announced support for charities and the voluntary sector.

I was also pleased to learn that Victoria Park will reopen on Saturday, although opening hours are shorter than usual – the park will close each day at 4pm.

Although it’s due to be sunny and warm this weekend, please keep following the lock down advice. We may be nearing the peak of the pandemic, and it is essential that everyone does their bit by staying home as much as possible.

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Too many people are falling through the gaps and missing out on Government support during this public health emergency.

If you’ve written in, thank you! I’ve been feeding in your personal experiences to press the Government to step up its support. Please bear with me and my team as I write back to you all.

 

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A number of Hackney residents have been stranded overseas because of the grounding of flights due of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where flights have been available they have been at hugely inflated costs - beyond the reach of most people.

I have been working closely with the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry as well as the Foreign Office directly.

Emily met the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on Thursday 26 March and she pressed him on this issue and the complex individual situations.

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Due to the coronavirus epidemic, we are currently dealing with a higher volume of emails in the office. This means we may not be able to meet our 10-working day turnaround as we are prioritising urgent cases. However, my office phone lines are open Monday – Friday 10am-5pm if you need any assistance.

Hackney Council have created a support hub and I would encourage you to visit their website to find out information on what is being done in the local community.

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This week I've been pressing the Government on:

✅ Time limits for the Coronavirus Bill
✅ Support for start-ups, small businesses and the self-employed
✅ Homes for overcrowded and homeless families

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I know too many families struggle living in severely overcrowded accommodation. Already children are forced to share beds with parents and some vulnerable families are crammed into single flats with other families. Many live in a single-room hostels. The closure of schools, self-isolation, and family quarantine will make an already unbearable situation impossible.  

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