COVID-19 – Help and Support
As a country, we need to come together and ensure that the implications of COVID-19 do not result in anybody being left behind. There are some amazing community groups currently operating in our constituency to aid the most vulnerable in society. Government advice and information, including for services provided by local authorities, is also available for anybody who may need it.
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The symptoms of the disease which are requiring people to stay at home are a high temperature and a new and continuous cough. If you have any of these symptoms, please stay at home. Do not go to a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy.
There is no need to ring NHS 111 if you are staying at home. Use of the number is encouraged, however, if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.
The following information has been taken from the NHS website which I am encouraging everyone to take note of.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
NHS and Protecting Yourself
- For the latest NHS guidance please go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- Current Government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
- Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ for information on getting a test and understanding your result.
- For information on the Government’s NHS test and trace service, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
Social Distancing and Lockdown Restrictions
- Restrictions are currently being eased, with many sectors and activities able to restart. Current social distancing guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing-after-4-july
- The easing of restrictions is dependent on transmission and infection rates. The Government made an announcement on 31 July, delaying some previously planned recovery and re-opening procedures, due to concerns that the virus may be growing again. Full information on the measures contained in this announcement are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/31-july-announcement
- Full information on the current status of different businesses and venues across England can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#businesses-and-venues-already-permitted-to-reopen
- Face coverings in England are now compulsory by law in a number of settings. The full list of settings, along with other information, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#:~:text=Face%20coverings%20are%20not%20required,you%20do%20not%20usually%20meet.
- Information on travelling safely during the Coronavirus outbreak can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers
- If you live in an area that is experiencing a local COVID-19 outbreak and where local restrictions have been imposed, different guidance and legislation will apply. Please consult the local restrictions guidance to see if any restrictions are in place in your area.
- Newham Council has an outbreak management plan which sets out plans for what will happen in the instance of a local outbreak of Covid-19 in Newham, available to view at https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-management-plan/1.
- In the instance of local restrictions in Newham, the Council website will have full, updated information on how it will affect you. Please visit https://www.newham.gov.uk/
- If you are defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, you should have received a letter confirming this or have been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician.
- The Government is advising that, as of 1 August, clinically vulnerable people in England do not need to shield, unless there is a local lockdown in your area, in which case you will need to check specific guidance. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19 for full information. Please note that this is Government shielding advice, and it is your personal choice whether to follow it.
- For full information on work and financial support, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/worker-support
- If you are still employed but do not currently have work due to COVID-19, the Government will be providing grants to employers to cover 80% of employees’ salaries as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The eligibility cut-off date has been extended, meaning employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. The scheme will end on 31 October 2020. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work for more information.
- If you are placed on furlough, and your income is reduced as a result, you may be able to claim benefits such as Universal Credit or New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) alongside it, provided you meet eligibility requirements. Being on furlough will however affect your Universal Credit entitlement.
- If you have lost your job due to coronavirus, you should apply for Universal Credit. You can find more information at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-you-were-employed-and-have-lost-your-job
- Please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit for full information on applying for Universal Credit.
- If you need to self-isolate and your employer requires evidence, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting 111.nhs.uk/covid-19. DO NOT call NHS 111.
- If you are employed and too sick to work, you can claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). For information on SSP, please visit https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay. You should also contact your employer to discuss your sick pay entitlement. If you work in the ‘gig’ economy or on a zero-hours contract, you need to check with your employer if you are entitled to SSP. You cannot claim SSP if you are on furlough.
- If you are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract, too ill to work and not eligible for SSP, you can instead apply for Universal Credit. Contact 0800 328 5644 or visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work for more information.
- Unemployed, employed and self-employed people who are not eligible for SSP can claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are directly affected by COVID-19. This would include you or your child being at high-risk due to an underlying health condition, self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms, or self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, and were told to by NHS test and trace. ESA can be claimed alongside Universal Credit, if you are eligible. Full information and eligibility can be found at https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/eligibility
- If you are unemployed or are contracted to work less than 16 hours per week, you may be able to claim New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), provided have enough National Insurance (NI) contributions. It can be claimed alongside or instead of Universal Credit. You cannot claim JSA with ESA or SSP. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-jobseekers-allowance for more detail.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- If you are self-employed, the next set of self-assessment tax payments due by July 31 have been deferred to 31 January 2021. Further information for Self-employed people during the pandemic is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-self-employed-and-getting-less-work-or-no-work
- If you are self-employed and have suffered a loss of income due to the pandemic, you can apply for Universal Credit. You can additionally get a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, but it may affect your Universal Credit entitlement. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/self-employment-and-universal-credit
On the 26 March, the Chancellor announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This enabled self-employed people to claim for 80% of their profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the three months from 1 March 2020. SEISS is open to businesses with profits of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or average annual profits of less than £50,000 from 2016 to 2019. To qualify, more than half of a person’s income must have come from self-employment during these periods.
Claims can no longer be made for the first grant. If you were eligible for the first grant and can confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you’ll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020.
The scheme allows you to claim a second and final taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
If you are eligible, you must apply for the second and final grant on or before 19 October 2020. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#check for full information about eligibility and applying.
I understand there are some gaps in the scheme, and I have previously written to the Chancellor to express my concerns about this and to ask him to take further measures. You can see my asks of the Chancellor here.
- For full information on support for businesses and self-employed people, including re-opening your business safely during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
- Full a full list of financial support schemes your business may be eligible for, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
- Small and medium sized businesses with annual turnover of up to £45 million can access the Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will provide access to loans and other finance of up to £5 million. Contact your bank or building society or visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme
- Large businesses with annual turnover of over £45 million can access the Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will provide access to loans and other finance up to £200 million. Contact your bank or building society or visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-large-business-interruption-loan-scheme
- You can register your establishment in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme. This offers a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in, up to £10 per diner. It will run all day every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 – 31 August 2020.
- If you run a business or are self-employed and need guidance on paying taxes contact the HMRC Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222 or on webchat, open Monday – Friday 8am-4pm.
- Schools have reopened. For information on managing COVID-19 in schools, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
- All other education and childcare related information, including cancelled exams, holiday and after-school clubs, and advice for universities is available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare
- There are plans in place to support children eligible for free school meals. More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools
- Additionally, you can call the Department for Education’s Coronavirus hotline on 0800 046 8687 which is open Monday-Friday 8am-6pm.
- Mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months where this is needed due to Coronavirus-related hardship. This includes buy-to-let mortgages. It provides flexibility by allowing you to stop or reduce your monthly payment for up to three months. Contact your lender for specific information and terms and conditions.
- On 2 June 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that borrowers can apply for a further three month extension, while extending the deadline for new applications to 31 October 2020.
- It is important to note that mortgage holidays are not automatic, and you will need to apply with your lender to work out your individual eligibility.
- Many banks are also offering help with loans and debt, such as payment holidays or waiving fees for missed payments. You should check with your bank for more information.
- Some banks are offering people to access to their fixed rate-savings accounts penalty free. Check with your bank for information.
- If you are struggling to top up pre-paid energy meters, the Government and energy suppliers have agreed to new emergency measures to help. On a standard credit meter too, suppliers will help support those in financial distress. Contact your supplier for specific information.
- You can join the Priority Service Register with your energy supplier if you are a vulnerable customer. For full information on eligibility and benefits, please visit https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/extra-help-energy-services/priority-services-register-people-need
- You may also be able to get financial help with water bills during the pandemic. If you have immediate issues, you should contact your water company as soon as possible.
- If you are struggling to pay the rent during this time, speak to your landlord as soon as possible to let them know of your situation and work out a repayment plan.
- Until at least 31 March 2021, landlords must provide tenants with a minimum of six months notice if they plan to begin eviction proceedings, except in serious cases.
- There is a ban on all eviction proceedings until 20 September 2020.
- Current protocols for social landlords dealing with rent arrears will also now apply to private landlords. This is to help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, avoiding eviction wherever possible.
- The Government can support rental costs through Universal Credit. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit for more information.
- Landlords are also able to apply for the mortgage holiday if they are facing financial difficulty due to their tenants being unable to afford rent. Apply with your lender to discuss eligibility and terms and conditions.
- Further guidance for landlords and tenants in private and social rented sectors during COVID-19 can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities
- Government advice on moving homes during the Coronavirus outbreak can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
- The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Extended information for before, during and after travelling can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
- Some countries are exempt from the global advice against non-essential travel, if they are deemed to no longer pose a high-risk for British travellers. The full list of exempted destinations is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel
- Upon return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. There are varied rules on 14-day isolation upon return to England, depending on the country you are arriving from. Passengers arriving from countries within the ‘travel corridor’ will not need to self-isolate on their return. This is under constant review, so continue to check https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors for any new updates.
- If you are abroad and it is not possible to return to the UK, follow the local guidance on social distancing and lockdown measures. Guidance on what to do if you are waiting to return to the UK can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-where-you-are-if-you-cannot-return-to-the-uk
- The latest travel advice and information for individual foreign countries can be found at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- If you have visa concerns, contact local immigration authorities or their UK based embassy. Government guidance for visa applicants is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents
Insurance and MOT
- Existing health, life and income protection insurance policies are unlikely to be affected by coronavirus, and should cover any related claims. Critical illness cover will not apply to coronavirus. It may only be eligible if you develop a serious illness as a consequence of Coronavirus. Check with your insurance company for their specific policies.
- If you are struggling to pay your insurance premiums, you should speak to your provider to discuss your options. Many lenders have put measures in place to support those in financial difficulty, such as reassessing the level of cover in a policy, removing unneeded extras, and waiving admin or cancellation fees. You may also be able to take out a one to three month payment holiday for your insurance premiums, with the deadline for new applications being extended to 31 October 2020. Check with your lender for individual eligibility and terms and conditions.
- New accident, sickness or unemployment cover is now more difficult to get under current circumstances. It is likely you will be asked additional COVID-19 related questions, and an exclusion may be applied to prevent any covid-19 related claims. It will vary between providers so check with individual lenders to decide which policy is best for you.
- If you are driving much less due to lockdown restrictions, you can check with your insurance provider if you can change your car insurance policy to save money. This could include reducing estimated annual mileage or telling your provider you are no longer driving for work. Insurance policies will vary, so check with your provider for specific information and terms and conditions.
- Drivers who have an MOT due from Monday 30 March until and including 31 July will have a six month extension on this. If your MOT was due on 3 April, it will now expire on 3 October, for example. This applies to cars, motorcycles, light vans and other light vehicles.
- Full local information on Coronavirus can be found on the Newham Council website at https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19 This includes information for residents, updates on local service disruptions and volunteering opportunities.
- There is help available to those struggling to pay their council tax due to the pandemic. Call 020 8430 2000 for more information or visit https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/council-tax-benefits-welfare/1
- Newham Council is providing support for vulnerable and high risk people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full information is available at https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-support-vulnerable-high-risk-people/1 Support includes:
- A free COVID-19 helpline in partnership with Community Links, providing a wide range of information on accessing food, financial advice and healthcare as well as questions about testing and self-isolation. Call 020 7473 9711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- #HelpNewham campaign to provide supplies to those in need, and don’t have support around them. Please note this service is changing as shielding and other restrictions ease.
- The NHS shielding service ended on 31 July. If you are not able to afford groceries for yourself when the shielding food packages end please contact the above COVID-19 helpline to find out what support is available.
- Chat Newham – a befriending service in partnership with The Renewal Project for those struggling with loneliness and isolation. Please call 0808 196 3510, open 10am – 4pm weekdays.
- Support for those struggling with gambling addictions and financial difficulty.
- Support for those suffering domestic or sexual violence can call Newham Hestia on 0808 196 1482. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day to provide free and confidential advice over the phone.
If you are in immediate danger you should call 999. If you are unable to speak for fear of being heard, you can still dial 999 and once connected press ‘55’ to silently alert the police.
Voluntary Sector in the Constituency
- Listed below is information about voluntary sector organisations who can offer support during this pandemic.
SUBCO Trust Upton Park– supporting Asian and BME elders.
- Welfare telephone and video calls and an Advice Advocacy and Information Service to vulnerable adults and their carers
- Essential shopping delivery service
- Asian meals delivery service
- Visit https://www.subcotrust.uk for more information.
- Alternatively, contact email@example.com via email or call 0208 548 0070
Aston Mansfield – supporting children and families
- Breakfast club and after school provision for children of key workers. This will be at Manor Park out of the Froud Centre. Contact Loyda.best@aston-Mansfield.org.uk
- Youth services will be continued via online services and resources. Contact Yokeu.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Volunteer support and engagement continued via volunteer officer. Contact Denise.allen@aston-Mansfield.org.uk
- Social media campaign on how to keep children entertained during lockdown and promoting general positivity
- Offering a platform for organisations responding to the Coronavirus pandemic to let communities know about support services. Contact Andrea.Quaintmere@aston-Mansfield.org.uk
- Fitter Finance project providing resources and advice online to small charities, organisations and emerging charities. Support can be given via telephone or Skype on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Contact Kemar.email@example.com or Mustafa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @AMcomms
Instagram and Facebook – Aston-Mansfield
Partnership between Five East London Charities – support hubs
- Newham Charities Bonny Downs Community Association, The Magpie Project, The Renewal Programme, West Silvertown Foundation and Alternatives Trust East London have announced a partnership to help vulnerable neighbours during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Four donation hubs have been set up in Forest Gate, East Ham, Manor Park and West Silvertown where residents can donate urgently needed items to create relief packs to distribute to vulnerable neighbours.
- The charities are asking people who are able to go shopping to buy non-perishable foods including tinned foods (such as meat, tuna, soup, rice pudding and fruit and vegetables), jars of pasta sauce and jam, dried foods (including pasta, biscuits and coffee), large-size nappies, sanitary towels, soap, bleach, Milton tablets, washing up liquid, washing powder and toothpaste.
- The hubs are:
- FOREST GATE Hub at Forest Lane Lodge, E7 9DE on Mondays and Wednesdays 10am to 2pm
- The EAST HAM Hub at The Well Community Centre, 49 Vicarage Lane, E6 6DQ on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am to 2pm
- The MANOR PARK Hub at The Renewal Programme, 395 High Street North E12 6PG on Tuesdays 10am to 2pm and Fridays 10am to 2pm; or
- The WEST SILVERTOWN Hub at Britannia Village Hall, E16 1TU on Mondays and Thursdays 11am to 3pm.
- The charities are appealing also for financial donations to the emergency appeal for those unable to access the hubs. Donations can be made securely online at justgiving.com/campaign/NewhamCovid19 and will be split between the participating charities.
Carers FIRST – support for Carers
- Offering online support to carers. Visit www.carersFIRST.org.uk for more information
- Alternatively, email email@example.com or call 0300 303 1555
- Phone advice on debt, legal and crisis. Visit www.community-links.org/ for more information.
- Alternatively, Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 473 2270
Newham New Deal Partnership
- All help and information will be provided by telephone, post and/or email.
- Combating social isolation and loneliness for users self isolating at home. Visit www.newhamndp.org.uk for more information
- Alternatively, contact email@example.com via email or call 0208 472 0658
Facebook group Newham Covid19 to contact volunteers who can assist with shopping: