For the first time in over seven centuries Members of Parliament can question Government ministers remotely as our democracy adapts to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Workplaces around the country are adapting to the challenges posed by this pandemic, and the House of Commons is no different.
This week, I am due to ask my first Commons question using this technology, on the Government’s support for innovative research in the UK and around the world to develop coronavirus vaccines. This session will be part of the temporary ‘hybrid proceedings’ where MPs in the chamber and those contributing via video link can hold ministers to account on an equal footing.
Given the salience of Gatwick Airport and the wider travel sector to the Crawley economy I am continuing my representations to Government about support for this industry. I am calling for amendments to the UK Package Travel Regulations to protect travel businesses, workers and customers.
I am grateful for the hard work being undertaken across local and national government which has ensured more than 440 businesses in Crawley have received grants as part of the Government’s Small Business Grants Scheme, totalling more than £6.6 million so far, with more firms eligible and over £12 million that can be claimed.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on 20th April. At the time of writing, some 435,000 claims have been submitted nationally for 3.2 million employees.
COVID-19 has reached almost every aspect of day-to-day life. One of the most notable has been the lack of cars on the road, down by over three quarters, with car insurers reporting an almost 50 per cent drop in claims during lockdown.
Therefore, it cannot be right that insurers are set to make around a £1 billion profit from motorists unable to drive right now. I am part of parliamentary action calling for some of this profit to be shared and refunded to policy-holders, many of whom are struggling with cost of living issues as a result of the pandemic restrictions.
Henry Smith MP