Sharon has received a response to her letter to the Prime Minister regarding Nissan and Coronavirus, from Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business and Industry.
You can read the letter by clicking on the image above
Regarding the news that a Nightingale Hospital will be developed at IAMP in Washington, Sharon said:
“The announcement that a temporary hospital will be developed at IAMP truly brings home the scale of the Coronavirus. It is a sobering thought that this facility will be needed and shows just how seriously individuals and businesses must take this issue.
“This dedicated Coronavirus facility will help save lives and will take some of the pressure off local hospitals, such as Sunderland Royal, South Tyneside District Hospital, the QE in Gateshead and Newcastle hospitals, and ensure that local people are cared for locally.
“My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, as well as other individuals who have contracted the virus. I pay tribute to all those working in the NHS who are treating and caring for those with Coronavirus. We all have a duty to help prevent the spread of the virus and that is why I urge everyone to stay at home if they are able to.”
Sharon signs letter calling on Secretary of State for Transport to urgently support the Tyne and Wear Metro
Sharon has joined 10 other North East MPs in writing to Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to implement an urgent support package for Tyne and Wear Metro similar to the support offered to bus and national rail services.
That letter joint can be read here:
As many of the signatories have also done, Sharon wrote to Grant Shapps MP personally, in order to raise the same issue.
Sharon's letter can be read here:
‘’The limits on public movement rightly put in place to combat this awful disease have had a profound impact on passenger numbers and fare income for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
‘’For those of my constituents who are key workers either in the NHS or other frontline services, or working in the supermarket and delivery sectors, and rely on public transport, it is essential that the Metro continues to operate.
‘’The Government has rightly put in support measures for bus and national rail services and must now urgently do the same for the Metro.’’
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 [email protected] with your full name and postal address.
Today (Friday 27th March 2020) Sharon has published an open letter to businesses in Washington and Sunderland West that are still open, despite the Prime Minister’s guidance that people should stay home and only go to work if it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
This comes after many of Sharon’s constituents wrote to her to tell her that, although they were not considered a key worker, their employer was still making them go into work.
Where people are working in essential industries, there are concerns that workers are not always being kept 2 metres apart as per the Government’s guidance.
Sharon urges businesses to seriously consider if their role is contributing to the slowing down the spread of the coronavirus and to put the health of their employees first.
You can view the letter by clicking on the image above.
If any of Sharon’s constituents are concerned about anything, at work or in general, then they are invited to email [email protected] with further details giving their full name and postal address
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington & Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health has today written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding Nissan UK's decision to suspend work at the plant in Sunderland.
Click on image to download letter
You can read Sharon's Echo Column on the Sunderland Echo website or below.
Many of you will be rightly concerned about the outbreak of Covid-19.
First and foremost, my thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have sadly died and with those who have contracted the virus.
As always, the NHS workforce has demonstrated its determination to provide the best possible care at such a difficult time. I pay tribute to all health staff, as well as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor who have shown exceptional leadership throughout this outbreak.
Public health and safety must be the priority and I believe that the Government are taking necessary steps, based on scientific and medical advice, to contain and delay the spreading of the virus.
As worrying as Covid-19 is, what it has highlighted is the inequalities in our society.
People working in the gig economy, on zero hour contracts or in insecure work, are in a difficult position if they’re told to self-isolate: do they follow the advice, and lose out on the wages they need to make ends meet, or do they ignore the advice and potentially contribute to the spreading of the virus?
No one should have to make the decision between their health and hardship, yet 2 million workers in the UK are ineligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
The Prime Minister announced that the three-day wait for SSP would be scrapped for patients with Covid-19, but the Government has not yet brought anything forward on this.
Even so, trying to live on £94.25 a week, which is about a quarter of the national minimum wage, or having to wait 5 weeks for Universal Credit, will only exacerbate the existing inequalities, and could vastly compromise the nation’s attempts to contain the virus if people choose to work, instead of self-isolating, due to the need to pay their bills and eat.
The Government’s inaction to improve these inequalities in our society will not only continue to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable; in turn, the rest of society will also suffer.
If this outbreak teaches us anything, it should be to tackle inequalities across our society and bridge the gap between the least and most well-off.
If you or your family are concerned that you have Covid-19, then please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 and speak to someone. NHS 111 also has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Use this service if you think you might have coronavirus if; in the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus or you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.