Joanna Mills1's blog

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Coronavirus & failures in testing 

Given the Government’s inept handling of Covid, it seemed inevitable that we are now entering the autumn and winter months facing another surge in infections.  Yet six months on from the start of this crisis, there still isn’t a properly functioning test and trace system in place – even though the World Health Organisation warned back in March that this would be key to overcoming coronavirus. 

BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST

I’m sorry that a personal commitment means that I can’t be with you today, but I stand in solidarity with you and all those rightly and urgently demanding an end to injustice and the deep inequalities that still remain in our societies – and demanding that black lives matter.  

But more than just expressing solidarity, it is now upon all of us to be pro-active anti-racists, be true allies and work within our spheres of influence to bring about the systemic change that justice demands.  

TIME TO RESET

I spent much of the summer working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal, which I co-chair, engaging with people across the UK on their vision of life after Covid.

COVID TESTING SHAMBLES

"Hands, face space and if you have symptoms, get a test", were the simple instructions that only last week the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, told Parliament we should all follow.

What he forgot to say was that there isn't actually enough capacity in our laboratories to process the number of tests needed to meet demand right now. So while his message is (for once) very clear, for many of my constituents, and others up and down the country, it is proving impossible to follow. 

STANDING UP FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

The exclusion of as many as 3 million self-employed people from any form of support over the past six months has been one of the most shameful aspects of the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

There is a long list of those who are left out of any support, but they include those who take some of their salary in dividends, PAYE freelancers and people who have not been self-employed for long enough to qualify.

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It’s been a busy start to the new session of Parliament which returned this week. I took the first opportunity to introduce a critical Bill which provides a route map for responding to the climate and nature crises. 

Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill 

EXAM RESULTS: ANOTHER SHAMBOLIC GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Another day, another U-turn. 

Only 48 hours after the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said “this is it … no U-turn, no change”, he has been forced into abandoning the disastrous standardisation model for this year’s exam results, which had robbed so many students of their deserved A-level grades and threatened to do the same for GCSE students.

It was absolutely right that this change was made.  It should never have taken four days to do it.

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Coronavirus 

I’m a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, which will be holding hearings throughout the summer to learn lessons from the Government’s response so far to the virus, and make recommendations so that the UK is better prepared in the event of a likely second wave.   

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Parliament is now in recess for the summer, but it was a busy last few days. This is what I have been doing as your MP.

A fair deal for the self-employed 

I’ve been urging the Chancellor for months to close the gaps in the Covid self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) which have left millions with no financial support.  Last week, I helped the campaign group ExcludedUK take their campaign to the Treasury, where they presented a number of petitions representing some of those excluded from support.  

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