In My View - More Help Needed for Self-Employed

Snap polling undertaken by YouGov after the Boris Johnson’s address to the nation showed overwhelming support for the new rules being imposed with 93% of respondents being strongly or somewhat in favour of the action. I say this not particularly to praise the Government but rather to say how well I think the country is now responding to the massive challenge that the Coronavirus presents. We will beat it together but it will take a big effort. People understand the sacrifices that are necessary.

Lots of support groups are being set up to help more vulnerable people and those who are self-isolating. We often see some quite negative effects of social media in our society but Facebook in particular is brilliant for things like this. If you need help or could offer some support to others do try that as a port of call, or my office may be able to point you to a nearby group. I have had a really positive response to getting in touch with Parish and Town Councils and other local organisations so if you do have some time to help others, maybe by picking up shopping or a prescription, or just making a phonecall to check they are okay, please do register on my Facebook page or contact my office in the usual ways.

It is great to see the effort that food shops in particular are making to see that essential items get to the people that need them. There is still some stockpiling happening unfortunately and that really needs to stop. I don’t think there is any bad intent involved but people must understand that in buying more than you need you are stopping someone else getting things they need. Big supermarkets have some great initiatives such as prioritising some delivery slots for older people and NHS staff as well as reserving certain times for vulnerable groups to go and shop. Smaller shops, restaurants and cafes are also being brilliant at adapting by offering deliveries and other community initiatives. If you can why not support your favourites by seeing if they will deliver.

The Government’s financial response to the crisis has been bold and what is needed in the circumstances. The one big area that needs addressing is how to help the self-employed. I and many colleagues will keep stressing the importance of that and hope that the Treasury are able to action a fair solution very soon.

Finally there has been some really interesting expert advice about how to best cope and stay positive during spells of isolation. In addition to healthy diet and sleep one thing that is frequently mentioned is the importance of routine. If you have children at home with you this is even more important. One hero of the lockdown is Joe Wicks, the Body Coach, who is running live PE lessons on Youtube at 9am every morning. If you have children, or even if you don’t, it’s a great start to the day.