CHAD Weekly Column

This week the much-anticipated application process for furloughed workers opened for employers. Businesses all over Ashfield and Eastwood will be able to survive this pandemic due to this unprecedented scheme put together by the Chancellor of The Exchequer.

This is a temporary scheme in place for 4 months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period. It is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. However, all employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus.

It is important for employers to remember that this grant is available if they cannot maintain their current workforce because their operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), they can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month.

Government scrutiny by our media is a good thing and should be encouraged. However, the constant undermining by certain parts of the media serves no one and creates division. The daily updates allow Government the chance to tell the nation what is happening but the questions by some of the media have become monotonous and tedious. I have 70,000 constituents who are not asking when the lockdown will end. What they are telling me is that they respect the lockdown and, in some cases, want to see tougher measures. This is a classic case of reporters being more interested in their own stories than the good of the nation. Imagine this sort of behaviour during the last war. We need to stand together as a nation to beat this virus and Government should be sensibly scrutinised and held to account along the way but creating division is not helpful and if anyone wants to play the blame game then this should be done in an enquiry when the time is right. Now is not the time. Journalism is missing the mood of the country.

It was great to see the Nations Granddad Captain Tom on the TV this last raising millions for our NHS and having a hit record. I have written to the Prime Minister to ask that Captain Tom is considered for an honour. Eighty years ago, this brave man fought for our country and now he is fighting again at the age of 99 and I cannot think of any other person who epitomises the spirit if the British people more than Captain Tom. A true hero in my book.

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