The second lockdown has forced the Government to revise its plans to end
the furlough scheme at the end of October, and I am glad it has now been
extended to the end of March. But the lack of support for so many of the
self-employed is a stain on the Government's response, and completely
undercuts ministers' claim to be "putting their arms around" everyone.
I have been fighting for justice for the more than 3 million self-employed
and freelancers since the beginning of the Covid crisis. In the past week,
I challenged the Chancellor  about his utterly misleading claim that
those excluded from support earned more than £50,000. He refused to budge.
I also challenged the Prime Minister  about support for the
self-employed, and in particular urged him to delay the reintroduction of
the minimum income floor for Universal Credit which unfairly discriminates
against anyone who has a variable or unpredictable income. I'm pleased
that, on this point, the Government saw sense and the following day, it was
announced that the MIF not be reintroduced until March.
Both the new lockdown and the Government's lack of support for the
self-employed came up for discussion in ANY QUESTIONS on BBC Radio 4 on
Friday, when I was one of the panellists. We also talked about trust in
democracy in the light of the US elections, the preparedness for Brexit (or
lack of it) and whether the coronavirus crisis had lessons for how we
addressed the climate emergency. You can listen to the programme here .
A COVID EXIT STRATEGY
The Government squandered the first lockdown by failing to use the time to
prepare a Covid exit strategy, and in particular a properly functioning
Test, Trace, Isolate and Support system. It cannot afford to waste the
second one. As a member of the all-party group on Coronavirus, I have been
part of drawing up the Covid-Secure UK plan, which has the support of
scientists, health professionals and politicians from across the political
spectrum. The strategy aims to avoid a continuous cycle of lockdowns and
school or workplace closures. It focuses on stricter short-term measures,
and more intense testing and tracking including at borders. I spoke about
the Covid-Secure plan on Sky News  - and you can find out more about it
CORONAVIRUS AND SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS & CULTURE SECTOR
The arts and cultural sector has been especially hard hit by Covid
restrictions and I'm glad that many venues have been given a financial
lifeline by the Culture Recovery Fund set up to help cultural venues stay
afloat during the crisis. The grants are being administered by the Arts
Council and I had a meeting with the area director of the Arts Council,
Hedley Swain, to learn more about the process. I used the opportunity to
press for more support for those organisations that have yet to receive
THE BRIGHTON AND HOVE SITUATION
I continue to be briefed on a weekly basis on the Covid situation in
Brighton and Hove, the infection rate, where any pockets of infection are
located, the performance of test and trace operations and what financial
support is available for local businesses. I know BHCC is stepping up
support for vulnerable people during this second lockdown, particularly
access to food and provisions, and supporting people's mental health.
LEGAL ACTION OVER THE RUSSIA REPORT
When the Russia Report was finally published in July, it revealed very
disturbing evidence that Russian meddling in the UK's electoral processes
was highly likely over the last six years. Yet it's been brushed aside by
the Prime Minister who's taken the extraordinary attitude that nothing more
needs to be done. Many of us disagree which is why I and other MPs,
together with a non-profit organisation All the Citizens, are taking legal
action over this response. We want to see a comprehensive, independent
inquiry to examine the weaknesses in our democratic system, not so past
votes can be re-run but so we can understand what needs to be done to
protect our democracy. I wrote about this legal action in The Independent.
BRIGHTON, HOVE, PORTSLADE AND THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY
Together with the city's other two MPs, I took part in a virtual event with
local residents about the challenges our city faces as a result of the
climate and biodiversity crises. We talked about how we can work together
to meet those challenges, the Council's declaration of a climate emergency,
and the work it is doing to reduce emissions in our city.
THE FT GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEMS SUMMIT
I was interviewed by the FT's science editor at the paper's global food
summit about why we need a transition to agro-ecology, to protect soil and
biodiversity and restore our broken food system. It's essential not only
for our food security but to help tackle the climate emergency.
THE CLIMATE & ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY BILL
Two months after I first tabled the bill in Parliament, I was excited to
see the formal publication of the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill which
sets out a pathway for meeting the temperature goals of the Paris
Agreement, protects nature and biodiversity, and provides a critical role
for citizens in how we transition to net zero emissions, as we must. My
Early Day Motion  in support of the Bill continues to gain support,
though we need more MPs to come on board. You can see my short video
message about why the Bill is so important here .
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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