Letter from Rt. Hon Elizabeth Truss MP
Sunday, 17 May 2020
Rt. Hon Elizabeth Truss MP
Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
020 7219 7151 | 01842 766155
Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives
The Prime Minister has announced a road map for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis. This plan seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
I'm really proud of the great Norfolk spirit and how we have pulled together during this time.
Earlier his month marked 10 years since I was elected to be MP for South West Norfolk. It has been an absolute honour to serve this vibrant, spirited and beautiful constituency for the last decade. Here's a pic from the campaign Matt Hancock and I ran in 2010 to dual the A11...#timeflies #10yearson
I couldn't be prouder of how people have come together during the coronavirus outbreak. As ever - please do not hesitate to contact me and my office if you need any help or assistance: email@example.com
Covid-19 Recovery Strategy
The Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy details how we plan to rebuild the UK, protect the health and safety of the British public, save lives and livelihoods
We said that you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must. We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.
People can now take more and unlimited amounts of exercise outside. People can sit in the sun in the park, drive to other destinations, and can meet one person from outside of their household if they are outdoors. Garden centres can reopen. Outdoor sports courts, such as golf courses and tennis courts, can reopen. Sports courts, such as golf courses and tennis courts, can reopen.
You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.
At the earliest, by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.
The Government also hopes to begin the phased reopening of some non-essential retail shops that are currently closed.
At the earliest by July - subject to these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, if they are safe and enforce social distancing.
A set of FAQs can be found here.
Getting tested for coronavirus (Covid-19)
Norfolk and Waveney Testing Scheme
If you are an essential worker you can get tested at three sites across Norfolk.
James Paget University Hospital
The Centrum Centre near Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn
These appointments need to be booked via the local system being run by Norfolk and Waveney CCG.
Find out how to book a local test at norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk
Essential workers are NHS staff, social care staff and a variety of other professions essential to managing the response to coronavirus. You can check if your role is in the essential worker category at gov.uk.
Arranging a test via the national testing scheme
You can check if you are eligible for a test at gov.uk. You can also apply for a home test kit or arrange a visit to a regional drive-through test site (subject to availability) at the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website.
Financial Support for Businesses
Over the past few weeks my office has been helping businesses with a range of support options. Details of all the packages available can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
As you may know the government has extended the date for the Coronavirus Extension Scheme to apply to those who created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020– details here and guidelines on how to apply here.
On top on this, the Chancellor has announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months, until the end of October. Until the end of July, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever.
From August to October the scheme will continue, for all sectors and all regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring back furloughed employees part time. The Government will ask employers to start sharing, with the Government, the costs of paying people’s salaries.
Workers will, through the combined efforts of Government and employers, continue to receive the same level of support as they do now, at 80% of their salary, up to £2,500. Further detail will follow by the end of May. Read more here.
Bounce Back Loan
You may also be interested to know that the Government has announced a scheme for those in need of smaller loans. Businesses can apply for the new Bounce Back Loans up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months and the Government will support lending by guaranteeing 100% of the loan.
For more details, please visit this link
Discretionary Grants Fund
The government has made a Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund available and may be applicable to your business.
Depending on where your business is located please see the below links - details to be announced soon:
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council
US UK Free Trade Agreement
It was great to launch trade negotiations with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Both sides want an ambitious deal that opens new opportunities for our businesses, brings in more investment and creates better jobs. Full statement here:
Next stop Japan...Japan is one of the UK’s largest trading partners & striking a new trade deal will be a boost for the whole of the UK. This week the UK published its negotiating objectives for a free trade agreement with Japan, with talks beginning shortly. Read more here
Our approach to trade deals is to ensure UK farmers benefit. We will always ensure that Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are fair and reciprocal. We will maintain the same import standards. They will be not be diminished as part of an FTA.
I've been discussing our trade negotiations with stakeholders from all over the country to ensure farming and all parts of benefit from trade agreements. We will continue to engage during talks to ensure a good outcome for farming. Read my piece for Farmers Weekly
Where you can find help and further information
The Federation of Small Business has also provided a useful guide for self-employed people and small businesses.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is also providing support for local businesses, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0300 333 6536 (Mon- Fri 9am-5pm)
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.
My website now has live updates with the latest announcements and government advice.