I am writing to you to give you some further updates about the Coronavirus crisis. I know that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many people.
Firstly the latest information from the NHS can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
For those of you with businesses or self-employed, you may have seen that the Government has offered a big package of support to business. It has also promised additional support if needed. Details of what is available and how to ask questions about it can be found at
I will circulate any further information I receive about the suspension of schools at the end of the week once I have it. I am also expecting an announcement about people who rent their homes later this week.
Many people have contacted me to express concern about the lack of key goods in supermarkets. I last spoke to the local supermarkets a few days ago and they assured me then that they are not suffering from shortages in the supply chain. The issue is the level of bulk buying. For those of you who are concerned about this, Sainsburys and Asda have introduced restrictions on the quantity of an individual item you can buy. Sainsburys are also introducing dedicated shopping time for the older generation. I will talk to retailers again in the next couple of days.
But can I also urge people locally to buy from small shops too, who are really feeling the pinch. The same applies to helping out local restaurants. Whilst the new recommendations from the Government ask us not to go to pubs and restaurants for a few weeks, that does not stop us getting takeaways from those that offer that service – and the Government intends to make it easier for them to do so with a change to the licensing rules in the very near future. I would encourage everyone to do anything you can in the current situation to help smaller local businesses.
I know that this is a particularly unsettling time for those over the age of 70 and for those who are unwell, or have had to self-isolate. Whilst many have family and friends who can rally round, I know that not everyone does. A considerable amount of work is being done right now by local charities, the Councils and the different volunteer groups that have emerged in recent days to ensure that they can provide everyone with the support they need , and also to make the best use of the people who have offered help. Please make your neighbours your first port of call to make sure that they are OK. But those involved will send round more details later in the week of how to help, and what to do if you need help.
Finally a big thank you to all of you who work in the NHS. This is an incredibly difficult time for the NHS and I am very grateful to you.