Paying tribute to frontline staff, care and key workers

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, I recently paid tribute in Parliament to all our frontline staff, care and key workers who have looked after our community and kept the country running during this crisis.You are all heroes.

Statement on COVID-19 in Barnsley

I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are worried about reports of increased cases of Covid-19 Barnsley.I am in close contact with Barnsley Council and Public Health England who have given assurances that they are monitoring the situation closely and taking proactive steps to manage the disease locally.It is important that the Government learn from Leicester’s local coronavirus lockdown and take steps to ensure that local authorities have the resources and data they need to lead the on-the-ground response to this outbreak.Every measure must be taken to limit the transmission of Covid-19 and protect lives in Barnsley.As lockdown restrictions ease this weekend I would encourage everyone to remain cautious and follow the latest Government guidance, which includes maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings and staying home if you have symptoms/are contacted by NHS test and trace.

Supporting our high streets as shops reopen

As more shops have opened this weekend I would like to encourage everyone to observe social distancing guidelines, to shop local and support our high streets.I will keep pushing for more Government funding to help local businesses and industries so Barnsley can bounce back from COVID-19.

Royal Mail briefing

I had a virtual briefing on Royal Mail's response to COVID-19 in South Yorkshire.The safety of workers and customers must be prioritised.Thank you to all the postmen and women who are keeping our family and friends connected and delivering important mail every day.

Meeting with Barnsley Council

Important virtual meeting with Barnsley Council Leader Steve Houghton and Chief Executive Sarah Norman. We discussed the Council response to the challenge posed by COVID-19, and the ways we can work together to support our communities through this difficult time.Here in Barnsley, our Council is well prepared to meet this challenge, despite the challenges of the last ten years.Clearly, though, this situation has placed a unique strain on services and budgets, and I have written to the Government to ask them to work with Barnsley Council and provide the resources desperately needed to guarantee the short and long term sustainability of our local services.

Meeting local public health officials

I attended a virtual meeting this afternoon with local public health officials from Barnsley Council and Barnsley CCG.We discussed the local response to COVID-19, including the importance of an effective system of tracing and isolating cases to protect our community as lockdown eases.

Launch of Unite's Aviation Blueprint

I virtually attended Unite's launch of its Aviation Blueprint today, which discussed COVID-19's impact on the aviation industry.Airports like Doncaster Sheffield Airport are crucial to our regional economy.The industry needs help now to maintain regional connectivity and prevent future job losses.

Meeting the National Education Union

I was pleased to virtually meet with the National Education Union today to discuss how we start to get children back to school safely. We discussed issues around testing, tracing and the publication of scientific evidence. As well as the possibility of increasing online teaching until schools fully re-open.

Helping retail workers

Retail staff in Barnsley are working around the clock to make sure products get on the shelves, but they need help from us too.Please remember, stay at home unless shopping for essential items, only buy what you need and keep 2m apart from everyone!Find out more in this video from the British Retail Council.

NHS Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate

Doctors, nurses and care staff are doing their best to look after our community.I welcome news that the Harrogate Convention Centre will become an NHS Nightingale hospital, providing more beds for patients suffering from Coronavirus.Thank you NHS and happy World Health Day.