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View from Westminster: The government is reckless to remove nearly all restrictions at once

Thee COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll on families up and down the country who have been bereaved or suffered long term health impacts; and the economic impacts have also hit people very hard with many sectors of the economy effectively shut down due to COVID restrictions, writes Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes…

As the vaccine rollout is reducing the risks of COVID-19, I hope we can slowly start to get back to a more familiar pattern of life. However, like many people, I am concerned that the government’s approach to removing almost all restrictions at once, at a time when COVID-19 infections have been increasing is reckless and not the right way to secure our economic recovery.

I’m glad that our mayor, Sadiq Khan, has decided that passengers must continue to wear masks on London buses, the underground and London overground. For most of us, wearing a mask is an easy thing to do, but it makes a huge difference to how safe and confident many people feel in public places, especially those who have compromised immunity or are unable to take the vaccine. I am continuing to wear a mask not only on public transport but in all crowded, enclosed public venues.

Like so many people I am grateful to have had both of my jabs. I strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to do so. There are drop-in vaccine clinics available every week across Southwark and Lambeth where you can turn up without an appointment to receive your jab.

There have been many challenges for our schools since the beginning of the pandemic and I know that the end of this school summer term has come as a welcome relief for many teachers, parents and students. After such a tough time during the pandemic I know that the government’s decision to freeze teachers’ pay – a real terms pay cut at the end of the hardest year imaginable – is a huge blow, as it is for so many other frontline public sector workers who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

Last year the Conservative government made a complete mess of both GCSE and A-level results and I will be keeping a very close eye on this year’s results as well as keeping my fingers crossed for every student who is due to receive their results next month.

Our children and young people desperately need a fully funded catch up programme, but despite appointing an education catch-up czar to devise a plan, they refused to fund it, forcing Kevan Collins to resign in disgust. Our mayor and our local councils are working hard to deliver an exciting programme of activities for children and young people this summer, but I will continue to press the Tories hard to ensure that no child or young person is left behind.


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