Thank you for following the lockdown and for continuing to maintain social distancing, I am proud that residents are showing real determination and community spirit during the current crisis.
I wanted to update you on some of the work I have been undertaking in the last few days, as I stand up for our community in Parliament and to work locally on a range of issues.
To receive updates like this directly, you can join my mailing list here: https://mattroddamp.com/content/contact-page
Staff have not always had a reliable supply of protective equipment and I am calling on the Government to improve provision. I have been pressing Ministers about this issue and want to see a new approach and for lessons to be learnt from the serious problems faced by the NHS, care sector and other key workers.
In addition, I am supporting local efforts by schools, manufacturers and community groups to help produce PPE and I want to commend everyone involved for their work.
I am raising the problems with testing, including the mistaken approach of relying on large regional centres, with staff in Reading expected by the Government to go to Oxford. I support the local NHS’s preference for more emphasis on local testing, including at Earley Gate at Reading University.
I am concerned about this situation in care homes and was interviewed about this on BBC Berkshire. I am calling for more PPE, better testing and more support.
Food supplies for shielded and vulnerable people
Reading Borough and other councils have had to supplement emergency supplies for people who are shielded and it has been difficult for vulnerable residents to get supermarket delivery slots. I have questioned Government Ministers about this on a Zoom call this week and am calling on the Government to press supermarkets to offer more slots to the most vulnerable people.
Save Reading Gaol
I wrote to the Prisons Minister calling on the Government to scrap its plans to sell the gaol to a commercial developer and to reconsider using it as an arts and heritage hub.
I spoke in the debate on the Fire Safety Bill, taking part remotely, and called for:
– The Government to speed up replacement of dangerous cladding as several tall local blocks still contain dangerous materials, three years after Grenfell
– For Ministers to pay for more fire inspectors at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue, to inspect the large number of lower rise buildings which may have suspect cladding
My office has been responding to a much larger volume of casework, including helping people stranding overseas; concerns about unsafe working; issues about the NHS or care sector and a wide range of other matters linked to the epidemic. This is in addition to a range of other casework.
Thank you for your support for our community at this difficult time.
Matt Rodda MP for Reading East