The Covid-19 lockdown continues to challenge us all, and disappointingly the PM’s mixed messaging around the exit strategy has led to confusion for many residents, workers and businesses alike.A “virtual parliament” is finally up and running and has enabled MPs to continue to scrutinise the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
I have used the new system to challenge the Department for Work and Pensions to set out what support they are providing for the many people who, having been furloughed or made redundant, now face the prospect of being made homeless.
With many small business owners concerned about support during this worrying time as they are forced to close and furlough staff, I organised a meeting with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to hear about the impact locally and to understand what more I can do to help free up access to loans and grants.
Repatriation remains a big issue for many constituents who are stranded abroad, through a combination of grounded flights and prohibitively-priced tickets. I wrote to the Foreign Secretary to ask him to take urgent action to bring our citizens home, and was pleased that 18 other MPs from across the UK signed my letter.
On a similar note, I have also been in contact with the four universities in the region to offer support for any students who may currently be stuck in the UK and struggling to cover the cost of food and shelter.
Almost three years on from Grenfell more than 70 high-rise tower blocks across Greater Manchester have inadequate safety measures in place, including flammable cladding, and I spoke in a debate in Parliament to urge the Fire Minister to take urgent action, both to protect residents living in those blocks and to roll back the cuts that have left our region with fewer firefighters and equipment.
The closure of the Stockport station underpass has been hugely problematic for many residents who rely on it to access the town centre and Edgeley and I have pressured Avanti West Coast to reopen it immediately to ease the burden on the elderly and less able-bodied who are now forced to walk much further to work and shop.
Finally, on a more positive note, with our NHS heroes doing such an amazing job in keeping us all safe, I was delighted to be able to facilitate the delivery of 300 meals to Stepping Hill Hospital as a small thank you for continually putting themselves in harms way for us all.