You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo Column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
It has been just over a week since the Prime Minister addressed the nation and placed limitations on when people can leave the house.
As a reminder, people are only allowed to leave their home for the following purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
- One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an uncertain time for everyone. People are anxious about their health, their finances and their jobs. We all have a part to play in not spreading the virus, ensuring our NHS is not overwhelmed and enabling the most vulnerable in society to be protected for at least 12 weeks.
I was therefore alarmed to receive so many emails from my constituents who have been told by their employer that they must still go to work, despite not being classed under the latest guidelines from the Government as a “key worker” or working for an “essential business”.
Due to the large volume of constituents who have written to me about this, I have published an open letter to non-essential businesses that are still operating in my constituency.
I ask them to consider 5 things:
1) Can the work be done from home?
2) Is the business operation absolutely necessary, is it classed as an “essential business”?
3) Is it contributing towards the national effort to slow the spread of Covid-19?
4) Does the business support the NHS in the response to Covid-19, or any of the critical sectors as outlined by the Government?
5) What is worth more: the health of employees and their family, or the short-term financial gain from continued business operations?
We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and that includes businesses.
I know that the guidance from the Government in the majority of areas, not just on businesses, lacks clear clarification.
That is why I have written to the Government to ask for clarification on a number of issues on behalf of constituents including guidance for non-essential businesses, people employed by agencies and those on zero hours contracts.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way all of us live our lives, but I will continue to represent the constituents of Washington and Sunderland West and help them in any way that I am able to as the local MP. If any of my constituents have any concerns or require any assistance, then please do contact me on Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and postal address.
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Jan-Feb 2017 number 92
Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Jan-Feb 2017 number 92
Sharon visits Simpson Print Group as it celebrates a decade on Wearside.
Sharon pictured here with Mark Simpson, Chair of Simpson Group, alongside their new Col-Tec Smart Collator.
Sharon Hodgson has joined Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle MP in celebrating the contribution of small business as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday (SBS) on December 5th.
In the lead up to and on the day, shoppers are being encouraged to ‘shop small’ and celebrate the contribution of entrepreneurs and small firms this coming weekend.
Small Business Saturday was launched in 2013 after then Shadow Business Secretary, Chukka Umunna MP, saw the benefits of celebrating small businesses as was seen in the USA.
The day has become a celebration of local small businesses that crosses party-political lines and brings together shoppers, businesses and politicians to celebrate the contributions of small businesses to the UK’s economy.
Small Business Saturday has brought a boost to local high streets across the country and in 2014, 16.5 million people visited local independent stores – 2.7 million more than on SBS in 2013.
Sharon is backing local businesses to take advantage of the campaign on a key shopping day in the year in the run-up to Christmas and encouraging local people to shop locally in small firms as part of SBS. The day aims to give a long-term boost to trade and give a lift to our high streets.
In the lead up to the event, Sharon said:
“Small businesses here in Washington and Sunderland West are vital to our local economy. From the store owners at the Market Village in The Galleries to the many local independent shops on our high streets, they all provide the vibrancy and choice that local people want when going shopping, especially in the lead up to the holiday season.
“That is why I am backing Small Business Saturday and encouraging local people to shop locally and help raise awareness of the important value our small local businesses play and help to boost trade in our area.”
Angela Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:
“Small Business Saturday is growing bigger and better every year, it’s such an important day because it puts small businesses in the spotlight and encourages people to shop locally not only on one of the busiest shopping days of the year but also to encourage a long-term commitment. It provides a great opportunity to thank those who run Britain’s small firms.
“Labour wants to do more to help our risk takers and wealth creators, by helping businesses with the challenges they face on issues like access to finances and late payments. We’ll work in partnership with businesses, entrepreneurs and workers to create a stronger economy.”
For more on Small Business Saturday see https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/
MO MONEY, NO PROBLEM!
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, joined staff at Washington Components Ltd in Washington on Friday for a ceremonial shaving session to mark the end of their now annual fundraising drive for men's health charities.
Sharon pictured here with Mr Anthony Sutherland MD of Washington Components Ltd in Washington and staff, being shaved by Daccs stylists after their Movember marathon.