Covid-19

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:55 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Bob Stewart Bob Stewart Conservative, Beckenham 5:55 pm, 12th January 2021

May I outline five concerns that affect my constituents? First, they are concerned that some people are not getting mail telling them to get their vaccination. In particular, that affects the elderly, who do not like having to use the internet; they want a telephone number. May we please have a telephone number, locally, for all of us, so that we can ring it to get the information about people who have not been called for a vaccination when they should have been?

Secondly, I am concerned that pre-schools and nurseries are still open. I do not quite get the logic of them being open and primary schools being closed. I have not seen really good evidence to support that.

Thirdly, I am concerned—as we all are in Beckenham—about the increasing number of children turning up at school claiming to be from key worker families. That is happening increasingly, and puts teachers at even more risk.

Fourthly, I am concerned about musicians—there are a lot of musicians in Beckenham—who have had a really hard time over the pandemic trying to get income, because they do not necessarily qualify for it. When they do get business and when we are allowed to travel, however, the rules debar them from easily travelling in and out of the country to make their living in Europe.

Fifthly, I am very concerned, as others are, about the future of the hospitality industry. Too many cafés and restaurants in my constituency will fail to reopen. When they were able to open before, I went to have some meals, and I thought that they were doing extremely well at social distancing. I have not seen any evidence that cafés and restaurants were causing an increase in infection. We have to open them as soon as possible. I understand that distancing reduces covid but, actually, we have to think this one through carefully. I gather from people who are the experts—not me—that cafés and restaurants are not great spreaders of this dreadful pandemic, so may we please open as soon as possible?

Those are my five concerns but, frankly, looking at other colleagues around the House, most of them are nodding, because they agree that those concerns affect them, too, in their constituency. I am done, thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.