Green Party mailing
Much of my time is spent addressing the issues and difficulties caused by
coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown, taking part in virtual meetings
with organisations on the frontline of the response to the virus, and with
those who are suffering some of the worst impacts.
But as the lockdown is eased, the conversation is growing louder about how
we rebuild as a fairer, more equal and more sustainable society.
CULTURAL & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES IN BRIGHTON
The cultural and creative industries is a vital part of our city's economy,
employing around 4000 people, and it's one of the sectors that has been
hardest hit by the lockdown and the need for social distancing. I joined
the city's other MPs in a (virtual) meeting with local arts organisations
about immediate and long term support for the sector, and how we safely
re-open and re-ignite Brighton's cultural events as lockdown restrictions
are eased. I'll continue to do all I can to ensure the Government's Self
Employed support scheme is broadened to include far more businesses - for
example those who take their income as dividends, and recent start-ups - as
well as seeking confirmation that it will be extended beyond the summer.
I'm lobbying for a tailored, sector specific rescue package, following the
example set by Germany.
The safe easing of the lockdown depends on having an effective testing and
tracing system in place. I continue to put pressure on the Government to
get track and trace in place as soon as possible, as well as speeding up
the processing of tests.
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Brighton and Hove City Council has handed out more than £62 million to
thousands of small businesses in Brighton impacted by the coronavirus
lockdown. It believes that several hundred have not yet applied, so if you
are a small business, particularly in the hospitality, leisure or retail
sector, you can apply via the Council's website .
Local authorities have been under huge pressure during the crisis, which
has come after a decade of savage cuts to their budgets. It's estimated
that their additional costs and lost income from coronavirus is four times
 the money provided to them by the Government. I wrote earlier this
month to the Chancellor and Local Government minister calling for
guarantees that this funding gap will be met, and I will be urging the
Government to allow BHCC to keep any unclaimed money from the Business
Grants Fund for its Discretionary Fund, which would allow the Council to
help other important local businesses.
I have had many messages from teachers, parents and carers about the
re-opening of schools and I share many of their concerns. The Government's
deadline of June 1st feels rushed and has not been properly
thought-through. We still don't have a systematic track and trace
operation, nor is it clear how social distancing can be practised in
schools, particularly with younger children or those with special
educational needs. I am pressing ministers to work with teachers, parents
and carers so that when schools do re-open, there is confidence that this
is happening safely. You can read more on this on my website .
BUILD BACK BETTER AFTER COVID
I was very pleased to be co-host of an event organised by three All Party
Parliamentary Groups on the prospects for recovery, how it will be paid for
and how we build a better society. The virtual event was hosted by Channel
4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy and had an excellent panel of experts
including Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology at UCL, Prof Tim
Jackson, professor of sustainability development at the University of
Surrey, former chief scientific adviser Sir David King and Prof Mariana
Mazzucato from UCL. There was a hopeful sense that, despite all the
difficulties, we can create a better future as we move forward.
END OF VIRTUAL PARLIAMENT
For the past six weeks, I and most of my fellow MPs have been following
Government advice to work from home, joining parliamentary debates or
questioning ministers via video-link. The Leader of the House has now
decided this arrangement will end on June 2nd. There is no justification
for this, nor do I accept claims that it is necessary in order for
Parliament to properly scrutinise ministers. I have been able to question
ministers, including the Prime Minister, directly under the current hybrid
system (where some MPs are in the chamber, others on video-link) and spoken
in debates. The work of tabling Early Day Motions and asking written
questions has also continued.
As I argued in a piece for the iPaper,  the forced return of MPs to
Westminster is more about providing cheerleaders for the prime minister
than upholding parliamentary democracy. It will also result in fewer MPs
being able to take part in debates at any one time as the Speaker has,
quite rightly, limited the number allowed in the Chamber for social
distancing reasons, as well as disenfranchising those who might be
shielding or who have family members with underlying health conditions.
If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]
You can also keep up to date with my news on:
My Website: www.carolinelucas.com
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