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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
Friday 27th March 2020
Issue #134

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

As everyone will already know, on Monday the Government updated their strategy to dealing with coronavirus, ordering everyone to stay home, except for:

  1. Shopping for essentials
  2. One form of exercise daily
  3. Medical or care providing needs
  4. Essential work travel

It is so important that you follow these instructions. Police will be enforcing it. It will be tough, but together we can save lives by staying at home.

Last night we saw an amazing display of appreciation for our NHS and social care staff who are working on the front lines, as people all over the country gave a lovely  round of applause at 8pm from their homes, while following these rules.

This pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for our public health and our economy at an individual, local, national, and international level. At this difficult time, my constituency team and I will be continuing to work hard to respond to constituents’ concerns and support our local communities to find the right information and support when they need it.

My newsletter will continue to signpost you to the current advice, followed by my thoughts on the Government response.

As I’ve said before, I will strive to send you a newsletter like this each Friday to keep you updated on the work I’m doing in Parliament as well as in our community, and to inform you of any interesting events taking place in our area. To help me with the latter, if you are running or know of anything that you think may be of interest to others, feel free to drop me an email at and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

Public Health Advice

First of all, here are the two main sources for public health advice, from the Government and the NHS:

These are ever-changing, so rather than typing them out, I recommend checking the links regularly, but one piece of advice that does stay constant is to wash your hands regularly, with soap, for 20 seconds. The virus can live on surfaces for up to 3 days, so this is essential to both reduce your own risk of catching, as well as transmitting it to others through contact with other surfaces/people.

It is important that we all play our part in helping to prevent the spread of this virus. The social distancing measures that the UK Government have put in place are there to protect us all – and particularly elderly and vulnerable people whom we may unknowingly pass the virus onto. Strong adherence to the latest public health advice will also help to ensure that our NHS can cope with the likely increased demand over the coming days, weeks, and potentially months.

If you believe you may have contracted Coronavirus, you can check your symptoms via NHS 111’s online symptom checker.

Nottingham City Council’s ever updating local advice and information can also be found here. You can also request help here if you need it.

Government Support

Nottingham City Council are publishing regular updates on their website, including information about changes to council services while social distancing measures are in place. For the latest updates, please click here.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an extensive package of measures to help businesses cope during the Coronavirus pandemic. If your local business needs support during this period of uncertainty, please contact Nottingham City Council, with the information found here.

You can also read an overview of the UK Government’s support here.

Last night, the Government also announced a package of support for the self-employed, details can be found here.

Please note that the Government has indicated that the package of support available will be reviewed as the outbreak continues.

For employees, the Government have changed the rules regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. The latest changes are available here.

Further Advice

  • School Closures

In light of the announced school closures across the UK, many parents may be concerned about the amount of leave they may be able to take to look after their children.

You can find information about your rights to dependant leave here.

  • Travel advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all but essential international travel.

If you are currently overseas on holiday or seeking to return from a period abroad, you are advised to contact your airline or travel company. You are also able to contact the FCO by calling (0)207 008 1500.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are in this situation and I have been in close contact with the FCO to seek support for them. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, the FCO have indicated that they will not be able to put on charter flights to all foreign travel destinations. If you are getting into difficulty, please get in touch with my office although please note that the support I will be able to give may be limited.

What we can do to help

As well as following the Government’s public health advice, found above, here are some steps we can take to help in this tough time.

  • Volunteer for the NHS

This week, the Government asked people to volunteer for the NHS, to carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people who are shielding themselves from the virus, such as delivering prescriptions or transporting patients, or simply checking in and chatting to individuals at risk of loneliness.

I’m amongst one of over 650,000 people to already register, and you can join us by clicking here.

  • Return to the NHS

And if you are medically trained, but have left the NHS, the Government is calling for you to return to help with this crisis. Thousands of doctors, nurses and other medically trained workers have already returned. If you’d like to join them, click here for more info.

  • Panic Buying

There have been numerous reports of panic buying from supermarkets since the Coronavirus outbreak began. The UK’s leading supermarkets have all clearly stated that the food supply chain is functioning and there are enough food and household essential supplies to go around if everybody sticks to buying what they need.

Please be mindful of others when shopping as there have been concerning reports about those who are less able or less well off being unable to access products when they need them. It’s vital that we continue to be there for those who may be struggling at this difficult time.

  • Food Bank Support

Local food bank demand has increased in light of the current uncertainty. If you feel able to make a donation to your local food bank to help others, you can find your nearest one here.

  • Community Support

It’s amazing to see that lots of local community groups are gearing up to help others during the Coronavirus disruption. If you’re able to lend any of your time, it would be great if you could get in touch with your local group, while always being conscious of the need to adhere to the most recent public health advice. You can find a handy list of groups offering support here.

Nottingham City Council have also started a Robin Hood Fund, where donations will be used to support the vulnerable during this crisis and fund  vital projects to help individuals in need every day in Nottingham. 100% of any donation will go to those who need it in our city, so if you’d like to donate what you can, please visit the website here.

What We Need Next

The Government’s response to Coronavirus previously comprised three elements:

  • A £12 billion package for public services, individuals, and businesses at the Budget on 11 March;
  • An updated package for business announced on 17 March, centred on a business loan scheme;
  • An updated package for individuals announced on 20 March, the centrepiece being a major Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which underwrites 80% of wages of workers who are furloughed, to be brought into force in late April.

Last night, as I mentioned, the Chancellor added a fourth, as he announced a Scheme for the self-employed, which is a relief following extensive campaigning by Labour MPs, the Federation of Small Businesses, trade unions and the self-employed themselves. We’ve all done an excellent job in bringing some level of parity.

While I welcome this step, I am very concerned that June is too long to wait. People need financial support now, in the coming days, and cannot wait months. If the self-employed are unable to get financial support sooner (and some will not even be eligible for Universal Credit), they may well feel pressured to work, risking their own health and the health of others.

The other main area of concern is of course with our health response. At the moment, we are letting our doctors and care workers down. While the Prime Minister has been saying for weeks that NHS staff will get the equipment they need, the reality is that doctors have been making their own equipment, and the Health Care Supply Association has been forced to ask DIY shops to donate protective equipment to NHS staff.

It must be an absolute and urgent priority for the NHS and care staff to access testing and protective equipment. We need urgent clarification from ministers about what their plan is to secure necessary supplies, why action appears to have been taken so late, and why they did not initiate a universal, community-based testing and contact tracing programme, as was put in place in other countries.

The NHS is under strain after 17,000 bed cuts, funding squeezes, and 100,000 staff shortages. Ministers urgently need to scale up NHS capacity. As we have consistently highlighted, after years of under-resourcing the NHS simply does not have enough ICU beds, ventilators and staff.

If You Need Assistance

In line with the current public health advice, I have postponed upcoming advice surgeries and face-to-face community engagements. My team and I are still working hard to respond to constituents’ concerns as quickly as possible, although we will be prioritising cases relating to the Coronavirus outbreak.

If you need further advice or support, please get in touch by emailing or by calling 07305 682481.

I hope that you and your family stay safe during this difficult time – please don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. The community response to this situation has been heartening and I have no doubt that this will continue. Together, we can ensure that we support those who need help.

You can also register as needing assistance on the City Council Website here, or if you are considered extremely vulnerable, register here for additional government support.

What's On

I want these emails to be as interesting as possible. That means there’ll be some politics – it’s important that I am held accountable. But I also want to offer information about what’s on locally. So, if you have an event you’d like me to advertise, let me know.

Due to coronavirus, I've removed most of the events advertised here previously, as I expect them to be cancelled.

If you would like your events advertised here once the crisis has passed, or further information on those advertised, please email me at

That’s all for now! Details of how to get in touch or to have a look at the things I’m doing are below…

All the best,

D2N2 Announce Redeployment Triage Service for employees affected by Coronavirus Redundancies

Scheme matches recently redundant workers with new jobs in sectors experiencing demands for new staff.
D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire is working with partners to create a triage service to help those made jobless as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, back into employment.

Whilst the Government has created the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, designed to help businesses retain their staff during the current outbreak by paying 80% of an employee’s salary, there are redundancies currently being made by businesses across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

This is occurring whilst simultaneously large gaps in the labour market are appearing in sectors vital to the ongoing fight against Coronavirus...

Read more here.
How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email or give my Nottingham North constituency office a ring on 0115 975 2377.

If you are a constituent from Nottingham North e-mailing me regarding a casework issue you are my priority, so please ensure your message includes:
  • your full name
  • your full postal address, including postcode
  • a contact telephone number and
  • any helpful details relevant to your case such as date of birth, reference numbers etc.
Strict parliamentary protocol means I can only deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents. If you aren’t sure whether you live in Nottingham North, you can check who your local MP is by entering your postcode online here:

You may also wish to write to me with your concerns. If so please send your correspondence to Alex Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. All constituents who take the time and trouble to write a personal letter will receive a reply as a matter of priority.
Other useful links
  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.
  • Benefits Information: Here’s an excellent site that allows you to find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to claim: EntitledTo
  • Housing: please contact your City Council
  • Problems with benefits or the Child Support Agency? The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Nottingham Welfare Rights Service can give advice. Remember to have your National Insurance number handy if you make an inquiry.
  • Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
  • Employment rights: see Citizens Advice Bureau or the Trades Union Congress for info.
  • Social services, environmental health, noise nuisance, parking, and Council Tax should all be addressed to the City Council.
  • Another useful website on public services is
  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.
Copyright © 2020 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.

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