My column in the Ham & High on Thursday 2 April on the Covid-19 crisis and the importance of scrutiny at this unprecedented time.
“London on lockdown is not a sight I ever thought I’d see, but it is essential if we are to save lives and stop our NHS being overwhelmed by Covid-19. These rules will prevent people dying and protect our frontline NHS services and they have my full backing.
What they cannot mean however is an end to scrutiny at this unprecedented time. As your Member of Parliament I’m deeply disappointed that the Government has decided that Parliament will close early, because there are still many issues which need to be resolved – from assistance for the millions of self-employed people who’ve seen their work disappear, to access to vital food supplies, the urgent rollout of testing and supply of protective equipment for NHS and care workers. Lots of constituents have got in touch anxious that proposed changes to the Care Bill will see disabled people left without essential support or the right to request it. I’ve been raising all these issues in Parliament and have challenged the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, on how we can continue holding the Government to account and have our important questions answered in the coming weeks.
Away from Parliament, I’ve been in regular contact with Haringey Council, local hospitals, Police, school, faith and community groups to discuss local preparedness. I hope it will reassure you to know how much work has been taking place locally to prepare our hospitals, identify vulnerable people who may need assistance and keep our streets safe. Whilst millions are doing the right thing and staying at home, our NHS and care workers, supermarket staff, refuse collectors, food producers, delivery drivers, cleaners and more are working harder than ever. They’re backed up by our school and nursery staff who are looking after key workers’ children so they can look after you. On behalf of our community, I thank you all. If anything positive is to come out of this crisis, I hope it will be a recognition from this Government that the true essential workers in our country have been undervalued and underpaid for far too long.
Whilst no-one’s life will be left untouched by Covid-19, the lockdown will particularly impact on the vulnerable and the many thousands of families locally living in overcrowded homes, in poverty or in abusive family situations. If you are able to help others, or if you feel you need support yourself please visit Haringey Together at https://www.haringey.gov.uk/covid-19/haringey-togetheror call 020 8489 4431 (Monday – Friday from 8.30am-6.30pm).
As always, my team and I are still here to support anyone who needs my help. You can contact me on [email protected]or call 020 7219 6141 and I’ll be keeping my website at www.catherinewest.org.ukregularly updated with useful sources of information and advice.
Haringey’s greatest strength is its people and we must stand together through these challenging times.”