Please see below for all the most recent national announcements regarding Covid-19. To stay up to date with the latest government advice, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
I would like to remind you that we can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Like everyone else, I am following this guidance and working from home in The Close on urgent Treasury and constituents' matters. #stayalert
Looking after your mental health is more important than ever. The government and nhs.uk have made sure that there is sufficient support available for our NHS and social care workers. Text ‘FRONTLINE’ to 85258 to start a conversation. #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2020
Yesterday, Matt Hancock announced that testing is available for everyone in the UK with coronavirus symptoms. To put this into action, 21,000 contact tracers have now been recruited in England. For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/…/everyone-in-the-united-kingdom-with-sy… #StayAlert
Excellent news from PHE Porton Down where the coronavirus antibody test has been given the green light. Fantastic to have constituents leading the fight against COVID-19. Public Health England
Great to hear that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is going to be open for applications ahead of time.
We will continue to do everything we can to help people through this crisis - Find out if you’re eligible for the scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/…/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-…
I welcome the decision by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October. It is essential that the government amend financial support in line with the phased lifting of restrictions. For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/…/chancellor-extends-furlough-scheme-unt…. #FurloughScheme#StayAlert HM Treasury
Yesterday, the Prime Minister set out our strategy for a phased lifting of lockdown restrictions over the next two months.
Today we have published our COVID-19 recovery strategy and guidance in full, detailing exactly how this applies to businesses and individuals across the country. We will continue to be guided by the latest scientific advice and act in the public health interest with every decision made. You can acccess the guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/…/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments…
This morning I was on BBC Radio Wiltshire discussing our new Bounce Back Loans scheme for businesses launching this week and the latest on our package of support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A month ago, Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP announced that visas for nurses, doctors and paramedics will be automatically extended. This week, it was great to hear that midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists will also have visa extensions.
For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/…/home-secretary-announces-visa-extensio….
Social distancing is working and we are beating #Coronavirus. However, stopping prematurely would risk increasing the spread of the virus again in the near future. Until these tests are met, we must keep going.
Over the past two weeks I have been lobbying nhs.uk to open an emergency dental clinic in Salisbury. I'm pleased to say it opens today. If you have an emergency dental need which needs attention please call 111 and you will be assessed over the phone and given an appointment.
Great to see the Prime Minister Boris Johnson fully recovered and back at the helm. Under his leadership we will move forward with our plans to support the economy and save as many lives as possible.
Pleased that the government has introduced measures to make sure the high street is not subjected to aggressive rent collection efforts. I have been contacted by a number of businesses concerned about this so it's good to see we are taking action. For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/…/new-measures-to-protect-uk-high-street…
Good news for local newsagents who have written to me concerned about how people staying at home can get newspapers delivered. I took those concerns to Our Wiltshire and I'm very glad they have taken this sensible step. wiltshire.gov.uk/…/update-on-management-of-child-employment…
Yesterday we announced £42.5 million to support leading teams at Oxford and Imperial in trialling a new vaccine for COVID-19. This is a vital step in our long-term battle against the virus with trials beginning on Thursday.
Yesterday we launched two initiatives worth £1.25bn to champion innovation and entrepreneurship across the UK. Our new Future Fund will match investments made by private investors, ensuring that high growth companies can continue to access the investment they need during this crisis. https://www.gov.uk/…/billion-pound-support-package-for-inno…
Proud of St Joseph's RC School Salisbury for creating PPE equipment for the NHS. If you are able to donate, please do!
The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub is available to anyone who is struggling during this difficult time and doesn’t have a support network around them or know where to get help. They are wanting to spread the word and are encouraging people to colour in images and display them in windows to get help to as many people as possible, download here: https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/AFHlC2xK5CmPBxwtnQUIc…
Safer and Supportive Salisbury is a local networking group doing great work to regularly produce a newsletter detailing local support and practical projects to help the vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest edition and information head to the community support section at https://www.salisburycitycouncil.gov.uk/community-support
The government recently announced our package of support for self-employed people to limit the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re self employed and have not yet submitted your self assessment tax return for the 2018-19 tax year, you must do this by 23rd April in order to qualify.
HMRC will aim to contact you by mid May if you are eligible for the scheme and will invite you to apply using the GOV.UK online service. There will be alternative methods to claim for those who are not online made available. See full details here: https://www.gov.uk/…/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-…
Wiltshire Council has been working around the clock in the last two weeks to ensure that all businesses eligible for government grants receive them. They have written to over 8,000 businesses, received approximately 5,600 applications and have already awarded around £39m to small businesses across Wiltshire. If your business is eligible and you have not already been contacted, head to http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19.
Wiltshire Council have put together a helpful map of accessible community resources available to you during the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from food and prescription deliveries to general volunteering support. Access it here: https://wiltscouncil.maps.arcgis.com/…/webappvi…/index.html…
The Chancellor has announced today £750 million of government funding for charity sector. £350 million of that funding will be used to support small, local charities working with vulnerable people. £360 million will be given directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people as we battle coronavirus. The government will match pound for pound public donations to the BBC ‘Big Night In’ fundraiser on April 23rd, starting with at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-sets-out-extra-750-million-coronavirus-funding-for-frontline-charities.
I know that many constituents are concerned about Chris Ramsay from Salisbury, who has been backpacking around South America but was quarantined inside Pariwana Hostels in Cusco, Peru following positive COVID-19 tests for two other people who were staying at the hostel.
I have been lobbying Wendy Morton in the Foreign Office over the past two weeks to make sure that we get Chris back to the UK as soon as possible. We need to do whatever it takes - additional charter flights or joint efforts with partner countries - to get him home safely.
The government has already succeeded in returning many UK nationals trapped in Peru through charter flights over the past week. We need to continue pulling out all the stops to make sure we leave no one behind.
The latest guidance is available here for NHS employees. You are all doing an incredible job on the front-line and everyone in South Wiltshire is grateful for your dedication and service. Thank you also to the many retired nurses and doctors who have returned to work to bolster the ranks.
I have been very encouraged by the efforts I have seen locally from individuals and businesses to pitch-in to the national effort against COVID-19.
Each of us has a part to play by staying home where possible to protect the NHS and save lives.
I am continuing to work to do all that I can to help people across the constituency, if you want to be kept up to date on the latest support available to you, head to www.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you’re a business leader, head to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-su…/
I welcome the decision by the government to launch a generous voucher scheme for schools providing free school meals. Whilst schools are shut, every eligible child will have access to a voucher worth up to £15 a week to spend in supermarkets. The list of participating supermarkets currently includes Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose, Aldi and McColl’s and I know that ministers are working to expand this list. Where families are unable to access any of these supermarkets, schools are able to buy vouchers for other retailers and the DfE will refund the cost. This initiative will provide ongoing support for the 1.3 million children that would receive benefits-related free school meals at their school. For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/voucher-scheme-launches-for-schools-providing-free-school-meals.
During the election campaign I visited Downton Distillery and saw some of the great work they produce. In the weeks ahead, they will be producing and giving away free hand sanitiser to local residents. It's great to see the community pulling together and our local businesses pitching-in with the national effort!
Today we have announced one of the world's most generous support packages for the self-employed. We will give self-employed people a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, covering anyone with trading profits up to £50,000. This is a fair and deliverable scheme which is targeted at those who need it most.
From today, we will provide free car parking for NHS staff in hospitals across England. Councils will also set up local arrangements to suspend charges for all on-street parking and council-run car parks for health workers, social care workers and NHS volunteers. The NHS and its staff are facing an unprecedented challenge, we want to do everything we can to support them. #NHS #StayHomeSaveLives
Wiltshire Council is doing all that it can to abide by the government’s latest guidance whilst also keeping essential services accessible to the public. Some services will remain face-to-face, others will now be done remotely. For the latest advice and information on all council services, head to http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus.
Please think about signing up to volunteer with the nhs.uk via Goodsam. Support our health services to be the best that they can be during this unprecedented time. Please see: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHSvolunteerresponders…
Today the government is launching the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for SMEs and Covid Corporate Financing Facility for larger firms. If you run an SME and want to access this support, find the latest information here: https://www.gov.uk/…/coronavirus-business-support-to-launch…
These measures are being delivered to support businesses through these challenging times. We're standing behind businesses, so that they can stand behind their employees.
Today we have announced an unprecedented package of measures to support workers across the country.
As I assured colleagues yesterday in the House of Commons Chamber, work has been happening in the Treasury to expand our approach. Today we are protecting the economy and safeguarding people’s jobs. Among other measures - Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to £2,500 a month, we’re deferring VAT payments for businesses for the next quarter and increasing Universal Credit levels by £1,000 for the next year. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to support the country in getting through this.
Late last night, the Department for Education published its guidance on critical workers and schools. It sets out where parents are working in areas which are critical for our response to COVID-19 and therefore will need continued school provision for their children. If you think this may affect you, please read this here: https://www.gov.uk/…/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-loca…. For most children with parents not on the list who are staying home, it's important that they are not mixing socially outside the home and spreading the virus but observing the same social distancing principles as adults.
The government has also put out a call for all doctors and nurses who have only recently left working for the NHS in the past three years to please re-register and help tackle the unprecedented public health crisis we all face. Further details can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/…/former-docs-and-nurses-told-y…/ and if you fall in this category, your regulator will be in contact with you shortly with more information.
I have received many emails from businesses in Salisbury who are concerned about the future. We are doing everything we can to support you and the Chancellor will be making a further announcement later today on this.
We face an unprecedented challenge with COVID-19 here in the UK. But for some people in Salisbury it is an even more distressing time as they have friends and family who are overseas during the present crisis.
Over the past two weeks, I have received a significant number of emails alerting me to Salisbury residents who have found themselves stranded abroad. Across the world, countries have been shutting down both domestic and international transport routes, making it very difficult for people to easily return home. We have already had some successes but there are still many people trying to get home.
Countries affected include Spain, Morocco, Peru, Venezuela and the Philippines among others. Due to the extreme sensitivities around coronavirus and public health risks, it is not simply a matter of us sending planes to airports around the world to pick up our citizens. Delicate diplomacy will be required to unlock solutions and bureaucratic hurdles will need to be cleared.
I have been in regular contact with ministerial colleagues in the Foreign Office to highlight people who have found themselves unable to fly home. Across the world, British embassies and consulates are working flat out to make sure we do everything possible for those currently trapped in difficult circumstances.
It is imperative that everyone who finds themselves in such a situation overseas keeps in regular contact with the local British embassy or consulate as soon as possible and monitors their social media channels to keep up to date with the latest developments. I will be keeping up the pressure here in London. Family members who are concerned about people overseas can also contact the Foreign Office on 020 7008 1500.
Today the government has announced that schools will close at the end of Friday except for vulnerable children and the children of vital services staff. This will ensure that we can have the maximum impact on curbing the spread of the virus whilst also allowing our vital services to continue working properly.
During these challenging times, it is vital that we all do what we can to follow the government’s advice to tackle the spread. Keep up to date with the latest advice and measures here: https://www.gov.uk/…/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-res…
Today the Chancellor unveiled a further package of measures to support businesses, individuals and the wider economy through the challenges we will face in the weeks and months ahead. As well as other measures, we are making up to £330bn available in government-backed loans, giving grants up to £25,000 and extending the 100% year-long business rates reduction to the retail, leisure and hospitality sector. This government will continue to do all that it can to support the country in battling COVID-19 and its wider impact. Be kept up to date with the full details here: https://www.gov.uk/…/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-res…
The unwelcome arrival of COVID-19 to our shores will require an unprecedented response by the government and NHS over the next few months. I am urging all constituents to listen to official guidance from the government and Public Health England, and do your best to ignore the often ill-informed commentary which seems to be so prevalent on social media. We have some of the finest experts in the world working on the UK response, including many constituents who are scientists atPorton Down. Please avoid sharing posts and speculation on social media from unqualified sources.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) are leading the government’s response and advising the Prime Minister – we could not have asked for two more qualified people to be in these positions at this moment in our history. Chris Whitty was Professor of Public and International Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before becoming the Chief Scientific Adviser for DFID then head of the National Institute for Health Research. Sir Patrick Vallance was Head of Medicine at University College London (UCL) Medical School before being appointed Head of Research and Development for the pharmaceutical giant, GSK. The CMO and GCSA both lead large teams of medical experts and scientists who are working round the clock to ensure that the government receives the very best guidance.
To keep up to date with the very latest official advice please make sure to regularly visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/and to read the latest on the government response visit https://www.gov.uk/…/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-res….
As well as making sure you keep up to date with and follow the latest advice from the government, there are other practical steps that may be helpful for you to consider. Ventilator production will be critical to caring for patients with COVID-19. The Government Business Support helpline has a specific team if you or your business can help with production – please contact 0300 456 3565. The Red Cross is also always on standby to help with emergencies such as COVID-19. You can help by signing up to their community reserve volunteer programme at https://reserves.redcross.org.uk/.