Layla Moran’s Letters to Government Ministers on Covid-19


Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has written letters to 4 different Government departments to scrutinise their response to covid-19. In her letters to the Education, Health and Social Care, Work and Pensions and Housing, Communities and Local Government departments, Layla raised the concerns of many of her constituents around how the Government are responding. You can see the letters below;

Letter to Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Childcare, Education and School Reform.

On the 11th March, Layla wrote to Nick Gibb MP to ask, if schools are forced to close, whether supply teachers on long-term contracts will go without pay and what systems the Government has in place to protect those teachers. Layla believes the Government should ensure supply teachers are paid if schools are forced to close.

Plain text: Dear Nick, 

COVID-19 represents a serious threat to the economic safety and wellbeing of the dedicated supply teachers working in schools across the country, especially those on long-term contracts. 

If schools are forced to close as this situation develops, then there is a very significant risk that supply teachers on such contracts will go without pay.  

I am writing to ask what work the Government has already done to ensure that schools are in the financial position to honour supply teachers’ pay. If no such work has yet taken place, will the Department for Education commit to working with academy trusts, schools and local authorities to make sure supply teachers do not lose out? 

Otherwise, I am deeply concerned that supply teachers will be left in an awful situation, potentially waiting weeks or months for schools to reopen. 

I hope the Government will ensure that funding is made available to schools so that supply teachers can continue to support themselves and their families in this difficult time. 

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest possible convenience. 

Yours sincerely, 

 Layla Moran MP 
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon

 

 

Letter to Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care

Before the Budget, on the 4th March, Layla wrote to Matt Hancock MP, regarding issues with covid-19 and workers receiving statutory sick pay (SSP). Layla is particularly concerned about workers who earn below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week not being able to receive statutory sick pay.

Plain Text: Dear Secretary of State, 

I am writing to follow up on my letter to you last week regarding COVID-19 and issues with statutory sick pay (SSP). I am glad to see that the Government will be removing the three-day time delay. 

Many workers, especially those who work variable hours, will not receive SSP as they earn below the Lower Earnings Limit (£118 per week). 

This is very concerning indeed. Given the seriousness of the situation with COVID-19, and the likelihood of it escalating further, the Government must show leadership and ensure that SSP is available to as wide a range of people as possible. We must be able to guarantee that any individual who self-isolates, following guidance, regardless of their type of work, can receive SSP. 

Individuals and families should not have to make the choice between going to work and eating, between getting to the office and buying medicine. 

Removing the Lower Earnings Limit is a key step on that journey. It is vital that we remove barriers to people receiving help as COVID-19’s impact worsens. Employers and employees should be able to share the cost of SSP, and the Government should consider adopting the payment model from before 2013/14. This would ensure the Government supported businesses once a certain threshold of their workforce was impacted by COVID-19. 

But this is not just about businesses, earnings and our economy – it’s about people’s lives. I urge the Government to remove the Lower Earnings Limit to more people qualify for SSP. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely, 

Layla Moran MP 

Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon"

 

 

Letter to Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions

 

On the 3rd March, Layla wrote to Therese Coffey MP, to express her concern over the self-employed in this country, particularly those in the gig-economy and their access to benefits if they have to self-isolate.

 

 

Plain text: “Dear Secretary of State, 

I am writing to express my deep concern for the self-employed in this country, who are not financially prepared to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Those who work in the gig economy have no safety net. If they have to self-isolate for two weeks, the Government is suggesting that they will have to enrol for Universal

Credit, as they won’t be able to claim statutory sick pay. The alternative that the Government has suggested – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – requires claimants to have built up two to three years of National Insurance contributions. 

I hope it is clear that this is an unacceptable solution – Universal Credit claimants typically have to wait 5 weeks for payment to arrive, and many self-employed workers do not have the necessary National Insurance contributions to claim ESA. 

I would urge you to work across the Cabinet to ensure that no employees or employers lose out because of COVID-19.  

The self-employed need this Government’s support, and extending statutory sick pay to them would help to prevent what is a looming crisis, if the COVID-19 situation continues to escalate. 

I would appreciate your reassurances that your Department and the Government are doing everything they can to protect everyone, regardless of their employment status, from the damaging economic impacts that COVID-19 threatens us with. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely,  

Layla Moran 

Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon

 

 

Letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

 

On the 5th March, Layla wrote to Robert Jenrick MP and Matt Hancock MP to ask them about their plans to support rough sleepers during the Covid-19 crisis.

 

 

 

Plain text: “Dear Secretaries of State, 

 

I am writing to you both jointly to seek urgent clarification and an action plan from the Government about how it seeks to help the homeless as the COVID-19 situation continues to escalate. 

 

So far, this government does not appear to have thought about the homeless at all in its management of this emergency. Stakeholders and charities are still waiting for information on what the Government is going to do. Meanwhile, members of the public do not know what to do if they find a homeless person who they suspect has COVID-19 – they want to help, but don’t know how. 

 

We need action now. It’s not just clarity on advice that’s needed, either: it’s a proactive action plan that transparently sets out what the Government is going to do next to help the homeless. Will health checks be administered, especially for rough sleepers? Will emergency accommodation be provided? 

 

These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Emergency funding for local authorities is not enough – we need to see a coordinated approach led by central government.  

 

The Government must act now, before what is an emergency for homeless people in our country becomes a crisis. 

 

I look forward to hearing from you both at your earliest possible convenience. 

 

 

Layla Moran MP 

Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon


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