The last few months have been difficult for all of us.
It’s now clear that the Government was slow to act back in March and that hasn’t changed. Despite months to prepare over the summer, many people haven’t been able to get the tests they need. Those lucky enough to get tested often wait more than 24 hours for results.
The reported backlog of tests is 185,000, affecting many families in Newham. One constituent told me his son, very vulnerable to Covid, was sent home from school with symptoms. Nobody in the family drives. They were told not to take public transport, but the only available test was in South London. Next day, even that test site was no longer available.
Another constituent told me two of his children were sent home with symptoms. He and his wife tried 30 times, day after day, to book a test, before giving up.
How will we cope with a second wave during the winter, if this isn’t sorted?
The problems with this Government don’t end with the failing track and trace.
The furlough scheme supports businesses by providing 80% of workers’ wages. But, with infections rising and many businesses still not able to function, this crucial measure is due to end.
In West Ham, we had the country’s highest number of jobs furloughed: nearly 30,000. When you include all those excluded from support schemes, through no fault of their own, the need for Government support is still great.
I am so worried about what will happen, if the Government abandons the furlough scheme. Those most affected work in all the biggest sources of work, locally. Sadly, employers may be unable to return to normal for a long time yet. I fear large scale job losses and businesses closing for good.
Anybody in West Ham struggling with any of the above issues, or anything related to this awful virus, can contact my office on 020 7219 6999, or at firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can take your concerns straight to Government.
Please continue to protect others by following the Covid rules, and please stay safe.