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Coronavirus update Wednesday 1st April

Dear all,

Please find today’s update (a little later than usual). As always stay safe and stay home.

Furlough

The Government Furlough scheme (link) is there for anyone who now cannot continue in their job due to the Coronavirus crisis. The Government will provide 80% of the salaries capped at £2500 for the duration of the scheme. This is available to everyone who is paid via PAYE.

There has been some confusion as to whether or not this covers those on zero hours contracts. It is technical, but it is still possible for zero hours contract workers to be furloughed and it will generally be dictated by money earned in February.

There is a recurring issue with those who have only joined their job recently and have only been put on the payroll in March. They are not eligible currently to go on the scheme with their new employer. Whilst it is still possible for you to be furloughed by your February employer (and I would encourage those with good relationships with former employers to get in touch with them and ask to be put on furlough), many do not feel like they can do that for a number of reasons. It is therefore imperative that the Government bring the eligibility date forward, allowing those employed in March to be furloughed via their new employer. There is a petition for this here. Please do get in touch if you fall in this gap and need assistance at alex@alexsobel.co.uk

Care Homes

My office has today been in touch with care homes across the constituency. None of them have been offered testing for staff and staff are sent home only if displaying symptoms or have been in contact with a known carrier of the virus. Many reported a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE).

Those working in our care homes are dealing with a larger workload (as GP face to face visits reduce) and are struggling with staff shortages (as staff self-isolate). They desperately need testing and the right equipment to prevent the worst from happening in their facilities. I have today written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, to implore him to urgent supply the testing and equipment our care home staff desperately need. See my letter here

Foodbanks

Otley Foodbank have asked me to supply you with their account details so that you can donate to them directly. They are:

Otley Foodbank Barclays Bank Sort code:  20 37 13 A/c No: 93368734

Leeds North and West foodbank are still asking for donations. Please give generously here: https://leedsnorthandwest.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/

Thank you for taking the time to read my updates. There will be more tomorrow. In the meantime if you are in urgent need of assistance please contact alex@alexsobel.co.uk

Best wishes and stay safe,

Alex

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