Dominic Raab MP's June 2020 e-bulletin View this email in your browser ([link removed])
Dom Raab MP's June 2020 E-Bulletin
Locally this month, I have been out volunteering to help those who are struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic, and went to see the work that has gone into making The Heart Centre in Walton COVID Secure.
In my role as Foreign Secretary, I updated MPs on the UK’s response to China’s proposal to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, marked an important anniversary in the Anglo-French relationship, and met with European Foreign Ministers in Berlin to discuss the UK’s top foreign policy priorities.
This month has also seen some important measures to ease the lockdown restrictions. Most recently, the Prime Minister has announced that, from 4 July, two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and businesses including pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to re-open. Further detail is available on the government’s Coronavirus website, here ([link removed]) . This follows the welcome news that the COVID Alert Level – which helps to determine the extent of the social distancing measures in place – has been reduced from Level 4 to Level 3.
As we continue to follow the government’s roadmap for easing the restrictions, it has been encouraging to see the scale of support for jobs and livelihoods that the government has been providing. In Elmbridge alone, 14,200 jobs have been protected by the furlough scheme, and 4,700 residents are benefitting from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Dom with the team at The Heart Centre in Walton, following its re-opening as part of the careful easing of lockdown measures.
Locally this month, my focus has continued to be on helping those who are struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic.
First, I joined Colin McFarlane from North West Surrey Community First Responders to support them with their dedicated prescription delivery service. This impressive operation makes deliveries across Surrey to those who can’t get out and about during the pandemic. It was a pleasure to deliver prescriptions to elderly residents in Walton and Esher, being careful to use gloves and hand sanitiser – and observe social distancing – throughout. You can read more about this on my blog here ([link removed]) .
I also met and volunteered with Elmbridge Rentstart, a local charity which houses and supports the homeless, newly-housed and vulnerable in our communities. Observing social distancing, we delivered food and other essentials to former rough sleepers who have now been rehoused and need some extra support at this challenging time. You can read more about thishere ([link removed]) .
Next, it was great to join the team at The Heart Centre in Walton, following its re-opening as part of the careful easing of lockdown measures. I was impressed by the effort that’s been made to ensure shoppers can return safely, both by The Heart as a whole and by individual shops – including clear signage, PPE for shop staff and providing hand sanitiser for customers. I blogged about my visit here ([link removed]) .
Finally, I assisted Central Surrey Voluntary Action with handing out masks and hand sanitiser to their volunteers, who are offering a range of support for the elderly and vulnerable in our community, such as delivering shopping and prescriptions.
Over the past few months, I’ve seen first-hand the crucial role that local volunteers have been playing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Their work has been invaluable in supporting residents at a difficult time and these initiatives are great examples of the fantastic community spirit we have in Elmbridge. If you are interested in helping out locally, please visit the Central Surrey Voluntary Action website, here ([link removed]) .
It has been a busy month in my role as Foreign Secretary. At the beginning of the month, I updated Parliament on China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong.
The proposed law would undermine the existing commitments made by China to protect the rights and the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, whilst undermining the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework, under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy.
I have been clear that if China follows through with its proposed legislation, we will put in place new arrangements to allow British National Overseas Passport-holders to come to the UK without the current 6 month limit, enabling them to live and apply to study and work, and providing a pathway to citizenship.
Closer to home, the Prime Minister also announced that my department, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), will be merged with the Department for International Development (DfID). This positive move, will ensure that our impact abroad is bigger than the sum of its parts, without rolling back on our commitments to international development.
This month also saw an important anniversary in our relationship with France, as we marked 80 years since General Charles de Gaulle’s ‘Appel’ from London, when Churchill gave special permission for de Gaulle to broadcast from the BBC directly to occupied France following the Nazi invasion. I met with French President Emmanuel Macron and my French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to mark the anniversary, discuss shared challenges our countries face today, and go for a special tour of the BBC, from where de Gaulle’s appeal was broadcast.
Finally, I visited Berlin for talks with my German and French counterparts on finding diplomatic solutions to Iran’s destabilising activities in the Middle East as well as discussing other areas of shared importance such as Hong Kong.
This month has seen some important measures taken to ease the lockdown restrictions. Most recently, the Prime Minister has announced that, from 4 July, two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and businesses including pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to re-open. Further detail is available on the government’s Coronavirus website, here ([link removed]) . This follows the welcome news that the COVID Alert Level – which helps to determine the extent of the social distancing measures in place – has been reduced from Level 4 to Level 3 by the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers, following a recommendation by the new Joint Biosecurity Centre. This means that, while COVID-19 is in general circulation, transmission is no longer thought to be “high or rising exponentially”.
As we continue to follow the government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, it is encouraging to see the scale of support that the government is providing for jobs and livelihoods.
The furlough scheme has now been used by over 1 million employers to protect 9.2 million jobs, including 14,200 in Elmbridge. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been used by over 2.6 million people – including 4,700 Elmbridge residents, who are receiving grants worth £15.6m.
There is also hard work going into making sure that consumers are not ripped off during the Coronavirus outbreak, for example through unfair cancellation or refund policies. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s COVID-19 taskforce is looking carefully at these issues, and taking action where necessary. Earlier this month, for example, one of Britain’s largest ‘staycation’ travel providers agreed to refund customers whose holidays were cancelled after the CMA intervened.
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Dominic Raab MP
House of Commons
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Dominic Raab MP . House of Commons . London, SW1A 0AA . United Kingdom
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