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Preventing the Spread of Omicron

The first cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Scotland with four in Lanarkshire. Scientists are still working to understand the variant. Until more is known we must be cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection. Therefore, we must all:

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Take up all vaccinations and booster jabs where possible.

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Wear a face covering on public transport and in all indoor settings for food and retail.

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Open windows especially if you have people visiting at home.

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Keep washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.

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Work from home where possible.

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Take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with others outside your household.If you have symptoms, self-isolate and take a test and if contacted by Test and Protect or public health teams please co-operate and follow their advice. All close contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

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PM COVID STATEMENT

Scotland is facing Thatcher levels of unemployment and hardship again. The furlough scheme must be extended and the £20 top up to Universal Credit must be made permanent and extended to older welfare payments.

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OVER 50,000 IN NL RISK LOSING INCOMES IF CORONAVIRUS SUPPORT ENDS

MP MARION CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF CORONAVIRUS INCOME SUPPORT SCHEMES AND INTRODUCTION OF UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME

Figures from the UK Government have this week revealed that 50,300 people in North Lanarkshire have benefited from schemes to protect employed and self-employed workers’ incomes during the Coronavirus crisis.

In North Lanarkshire, 41,800 people have been supported through the Job Retention Scheme (JRS), and 8,500 through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

North Lanarkshire was the third biggest beneficiary of the JRS, and the fifth for the SEISS in Scotland.

Up to 31st May 2020, 10,600 people in the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency were furloughed and 2,100 claims were made to the SEISS.

Mrs Fellows has called on the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend Coronavirus schemes for as long as lockdown continues in Scotland otherwise workers could be forced back to work in unsafe conditions leading to a second spike. She also warns that ending the scheme could also lead to firms taking on unmanageable debt or being unable to afford salaries which could lead to Thatcher-level unemployment.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The UK Government must extend Coronavirus support schemes to protect incomes in North Lanarkshire and across Scotland. The Tories cannot force people to return to work in unsafe conditions and risk a second spike or risk Thatcher-level unemployment.

“Without full powers, the Scottish Government cannot continue the schemes to protect incomes. Ending the scheme prematurely is undermining the Scottish Government’s authority in protecting public health.

“Too many people have been left without help because of the serious gaps in support. The UK government must look again at introducing a Universal Basic Income and strengthened welfare protections – so no one is left behind.

“If the UK government is not going to extend the schemes or introduce a Universal Basic Income, they should devolve the powers to ensure Scotland can.”

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MP MARION BACKS LOCAL AVIATION WORKERS

BA AND ROLLS-ROYCE ANNOUNCE REDUNDANCIES AND ‘FIRE AND RE-HIRE’ WITH REDUCED RIGHTS

This week, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, has defended workers of British Airways (BA) and Rolls-Royce (RR) and condemned the decision to sack hundreds at RR, and fire and re-hire thousands on contracts with reduced terms and conditions at BA.

BA have taken the decision to dismiss 12,556 of its workers and ‘fire and re-hire’ the remaining 42,000 on reduced contracts.

Likewise, RR have announced that 700 jobs will be cut by bosses at their Inchinnan plant.

Both have blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for a loss in business, but Mrs Fellows has written to BA and RR CEOs to call for bosses to engage with trade unions to minimise hardship.

Mrs Fellows, who is backing Unite the Union’s aviation campaign, has also written to the Prime Minister and UK Transport Secretary to call for them to intervene to protect the sector, jobs and incomes.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The announcement from BA and Rolls-Royce to sack workers and reduce rights will unfairly hit their workers hard – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bosses must engage with trade unions and the UK Government must intervene to support the aviation sector and jobs.

“BA is betraying its workforce. Their decision to fire and re-hire workers on reduced contracts is predatory and utterly despicable. BA bosses are putting profits before the welfare of its workers.

“The Scottish Government has invited RR to discuss how the plant and workers can be supported. RR must engage with the Scottish Government and trade unions to find a way forward to minimise hardship.

“The UK Government must roll up its sleeves and intervene to protect jobs by issuing the aviation sector deal they promised in March and follow the Scottish Government’s lead in giving the industry 100% business rates relief for a year.”

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MOTHERWELL & WISHAW MP JOINS CALLS FOR BORIS JOHNSON TO SACK DOMINIC CUMMINGS

“THERE CANNOT BE ONE RULE FOR THEM AND ANOTHER FOR THE REST OF US”

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows has joined calls for Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings – after it emerged that police investigated the Tory Prime Minister’s most senior advisor for breaking his own government’s lockdown rules.

Over the weekend, it emerged that Mr Cummings broke multiple lockdown rules to drive 260 miles from his home in London to another home in Durham.

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson to sack Mr Cummings. More than 400,000 people have signed a petition calling for Mr Cummings to go, hundreds of constituents have contacted MPs with their concerns, and YouGov polling shows a majority think Mr Cummings should resign.

Meanwhile, Durham Police have confirmed a fresh investigation into Mr Cummings after further allegations of rule-breaking emerged.

Commenting, Marion Fellows MP said:

“People in Motherwell and Wishaw have made huge sacrifices over the months to obey the rules, while Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser was breaking them.

“There cannot be one rule for them and another for the rest of us. People must have confidence that the Tory government is following its own rules – not being investigated by the police for breaking them. The Prime Minister must sack Mr Cummings without further delay.

“People are understandably questioning Boris Johnson’s judgement on this. The fact that there has been a Downing Street cover-up, with the public kept in the dark for eight weeks until newspapers uncovered the story, makes it even worse.

“Questions over the Tory cover-up will only grow unless credible answers are provided, which is why the SNP has called for an urgent Cabinet Office inquiry.

“In Scotland, the clear public health advice has not changed. The Scottish Government will review the current rules on Thursday and hopefully this will lead to a gradual easing of some restrictions, evidence permitting.

“But for now, people in Motherwell and Wishaw should continue to stay at home – it really is helping to save lives.”

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SNP CALLS FOR GUARANTEE OF RETURN OF SATURDAY DELIVERIES

ROYAL MAIL MUST PROVIDE CLARITY ON WHEN SERVICE WILL RETURN

In a letter to Royal Mail CEO, Rico Back, SNP MP, Marion Fellows, has called for the Royal Mail to review its decision to end Saturday deliveries and for a guarantee and clarity on when full service will return.

Ending Saturday deliveries goes against Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation. People will now have to wait at least three days for letters sent on a Friday.

Royal Mail said that ending Saturday deliveries is “temporary”, but have provided no clarity on when the service will return. They say the decision to end Saturday deliveries was made due to “high levels of coronavirus-related absences and necessary social distancing measures”.

On National Postal Workers Day on Wednesday, Mrs Fellows and the SNP called on the UK Government to renationalise Royal Mail to ensure workers welfare and services are maintained in the public interest.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“Royal Mail must bring Saturday deliveries back and commit to engaging constructively with the Communications Workers Union on any changes to service or conditions and find a mutually agreed solution.

“Royal Mail have provided no clarity on when Saturday deliveries will return. They must to commit to a date or criteria to give reassurances that it will in fact return and that this is not part of a long term plan to tear apart a valued service.

“The Universal Service Obligation is being undermined and both communities and the workforce will be adversely impacted by this decision.

“Royal Mail must be brought back into public ownership so its workforce and the public can oversee and achieve the service we expect.”

Mrs Fellows letter to Royal CEO, Rico Back

Dear Mr Back,

I am writing to you regarding Royal Mail’s announcement that Saturday deliveries for most items will now be ended.

While I understand now is an exceptionally busy time for Royal Mail and that absences will be affecting service, I am concerned that the decision to end Saturday deliveries is undermining the Universal Service Obligation.

This decision could have a negative impact on Postal Workers – despite Royal Mail’s stated intention. But it could also have a drastic impact on communities who not only rely on Royal Mail’s services, but also the community links that many Postal Workers provide. Royal Mail must be able to act in the interests of its workers and the communities it serves. I do not believe the decision to end Saturday deliveries reflects these obligations.

I was very concerned to hear that the Communications Workers Union was not consulted on this decision despite a Royal Mail statement saying that it had “listened to [your] hardworking colleagues”. It is essential and fair for the union to be consulted on any changes to service or conditions rather than decisions being made and passed down from management. Will you agree to continuing Saturday deliveries whilst a full and proper consultation is carried out with the CWU in order to find an alternative and mutually agreed solution?

I am concerned that the end of Saturday deliveries will continue past the covid-19 pandemic. Will you commit to bringing back Saturday deliveries as before; and will you provide clarity on a date or criteria for when Postal Workers and communities can expect this service to return if no alternative solution will be sought?

Sincerely,

Marion Fellows MP

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COMMUNITIES TOGETHER – SERVING BELLSHILL, MOSSEND & THORNIEWOOD

Communities Together – based in the Bellshill YMCA – will launch on Monday to assist people dealing with coronavirus, including:
– Delivering food parcels and other essential items;
– Providing shoppers to assist with getting your messages in;
– Collecting and delivering prescriptions;
– Befriending for those feeling especially isolated.

You can each them on 01698 74 74 83 or via email ContactUs@communitiestogether.scot.

If you want to volunteer, click here.

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RADIO LAW RELAUNCH

Radio Law based at University Hospital Wishaw are relaunching on Monday 27th April. Tune in then. They are seeking to provide a link between patients and staff in hospitals with their loved ones outside. Much needed at this time. You can get in touch to give someone a shout out. Hopefully the sun will be shining and it’ll be another thing to brighten up your day.

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LOCAL PEOPLE STEP UP

‘Good stuff from Gopi for NHS’

People like Mr Ageer and his family are demonstrating the importance of community. In the midst of this pandemic, we must all see to do what we can to support one another – especially our frontline workers.

This can be small things like following the government’s advice to stay home or volunteering with a local group or Ready Scotland.

Thank you to the Ageers and the many others working across the constituency, Scotland and the rest of the UK to do their bit in minimising hardship.

To volunteer, click here.

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CLEAR YOUR HEAD

Isolation can be a stressful experience. It’s important to take the steps, however small, to protect your mental health, like getting some exercise or taking a break from social media.

The Scottish Government has launched Clear Your Head to support you during this time. Click here for more info.

If you need more support, you can visit my support directory by clicking here.