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Newsletter: Croydon Coronavirus Update

My latest update includes:

1)      NHS update

2)      Support for businesses

3)      Croydon care homes update

4)      Croydon testing update

5)      My new role as Shadow Police and Fire Minister

6)      Reminder of volunteering opportunities


Dear friend,


We are now coming towards the end of our fifth week in lockdown, and this has coincided with the surpassing of the 20,000th completed piece of casework that I have dealt with. There has undoubtedly been a surge in MP enquiries since this crisis began, and I have heard from many of my constituents about the myriad of different problems that have unfolded in recent weeks.  I am grateful to all those of you have reached out to express your concerns, and I have tried my best to help.  Together we are starting to see progress, and together we will rebuild our economy as we start to come out of the lockdown over the coming months.

 

If you find anything below useful, please do forward this email to friends and family. 


Best wishes,


Sarah Jones
Member of Parliament for Croydon Central
Shadow Minister for Policing and the Fire Service

1. NHS Update

Important message from Croydon University Hospital: the NHS is still open despite coronavirus. Please do still go to your GP or into hospital if you feel it necessary. CUH is reporting, like the rest of the country, a significant drop in numbers attending hospital for non-covid-19 related conditions, including potential cancer patients. It is important that you still seek medical assistance if you need it. 

2.  Support for Businesses

Businesses across Croydon are suffering, but support is available and not everyone who is eligible has applied.  
 

Eligible small businesses are entitled to a funding grant of up to £10,000 if they pay little to no business rates.  If you have not already been contacted, you can enquire about eligibility by filling out the form here.
 

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
 

If your business has a rateable value of:
 

·       up to £15,000, it may be eligible for a grant of £10,000

·       over £15,000 and less than £51,000, it may be eligible for a grant of £25,000
 

 

With the barrage of information that everyone has had to absorb over the past few weeks, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some business owners were not aware of the council support on offer – so if you have a business, please do check to see if you are eligible here.
 

Qualifying businesses can also benefit from business rates holidays for the 2020-21 financial year.
 

If you own a pub with a rateable value of under £100,000, your business relief will increase for one year from £1,000 to £5,000.
 

There is also an array of further business advice and support available via the link below.
 

Please see here for more information about what business rates relief and grants are available through Croydon Council.

3.  Croydon care homes update

I am keeping in regular touch with the care homes in Croydon Central given the acute shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and lack of testing.

This week, although there has been a slight improvement in PPE levels, there are still 62% of care homes in my constituency reporting a significant shortage of supplies. This is unacceptable at a time when lives are at risk and shows how ill-equipped we were for a pandemic of this nature.  

It was reported yesterday that almost half of deaths from coronavirus in Europe have been in care homes – and the number of deaths in care homes in the UK has trebled this week. It is imperative that every care home across Croydon and the UK gets the supplies they need.

4. Croydon testing update

We know that testing for coronavirus for NHS frontline staff and key workers has been slow coming. NHS staff at Croydon University Hospital had previously been going to a facility in Chessington, which was a long way to go and not the most efficient way to test people – so numbers tested were low.  I am really pleased that the hospital has now begun to test staff in the hospital itself, which is a much quicker and more efficient way to test – and this facility will now be used by other front line staff in Croydon going forward.

5.  Shadow Police and Fire Role

It has been a busy start for me as Shadow Minister for Policing and the Fire Service. I was pleased to have a detailed briefing with the government minister for policing, Kit Malthouse MP, and his senior officials. The Minister agreed to look into officer wellbeing during this difficult time when the police need our full support. I also asked about funding, PPE and testing for our police force. Finally, I raised concerns around support for vulnerable people - particularly children - and how police are stepping up to fill the gaps. I was glad that the Minister agreed to investigate my concerns.  

I also discussed policing and fire with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, this week. We are both concerned that, if, as expected, the lockdown is loosened by the Summer, there may well be a spike in the incidence of violent crime, as temporarily halted gang disputes and the like come to the fore once again.  We must plan ahead to avoid what could be a difficult period through the hot summer months.

As Shadow Fire Minister, next week I will be in parliament scrutinising the Fire Safety Bill, which will have its second reading in the Chamber. This Bill follows in the wake of the Grenfell Tragedy and aims to ensure that there is greater clarity over responsibility in managing and reducing the risk of fire in multi-occupied residential buildings. This includes cladding and entrance doors to individual flats that open into common areas, two factors that contributed greatly to the severity of the fire at Grenfell. This clarification of responsibility will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant.
 

Despite the now virtual nature of parliament, it is vital that this sensitive legislation is not rushed through and, in these circumstances, it is perhaps more important than ever that the Government is subjected to effective scrutiny. I am looking forward to playing my part and ensuring that this legislation fulfils its potential in improving the situations of many people across Croydon and the country more broadly.

6.  Reminder of volunteering opportunities

If you are able to please consider signing up to volunteer here with Croydon Voluntary Action. They are undertaking a significant operation across the community ensuring that those who need support the most are able to access it, from food to offering emotional support via phonecalls. They have established a centralised helpline for vulnerable people to contact should they need it which is 020 8253 7076. 
 

Atop of this, Croydon Mutual Aid continues to offer an informal volunteering service across Croydon. You can find out more information about this group and how to get involved here.
 

Finally, foodbanks across Croydon continue to need donations, the full list of which can be found on my coronavirus hub here.

My office and getting in touch


Despite the coronavirus outbreak I will be continuing to work on constituent cases via email, and my office will be increasing the opening hours of its telephone line. I will, however, be closing my office to members of the public and holding my regular advice surgeries by telephone until further notice.
 
This is to ensure that we maximise the number of people we can help remotely and minimise the risk of spreading infection.
 
If you or someone you know needs to get in touch with me - please contact me at this email: sarah.jones.mp@parliament.uk

For further information about the coronavirus please see the coronavirus hub on my website. 
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