Layla Moran

Letters to Government Ministers regarding COVID-19


Layla Moran has written to more Government ministers regarding their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Letter to Secretary of State for Education regarding school closures (17 March 2020)

Layla wrote to Gavin Williamson MP, to request a call with him to discuss the urgent situation around what schools themselves should do if they close. In the letter Layla specifies what she would like to discuss with the Secretary of State, which includes whether schools will need to buy home-working and online teaching equipment for staff and whether some schools will be given the money to do so, as well as how the Government will support students who rely on schools for things like free school meals, and whether or not GCSEs and A-Levels will go ahead amongst many other issues. The letter can be read below;

Plain Text: Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP
Secretary of State for Education
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith St
London, SW1P 3BT

17 March 2020


Dear Gavin

I am writing to request a call with you to discuss the urgent situation in our schools in the face of covid-19
and the need for immediately clarity from Government about what schools must do in the inevitable event
that they close.

Yesterday, the Government outlined a new strategy to suppress the spread of covid-19. This followed
analysis from Imperial College London that ‘suppression’ was the best way to minimise deaths and reduce
the pressure on the NHS to a manageable level.

Imperial’s research concludes that “a minimum policy for effective suppression is therefore population-wide
social distancing combined with home isolation of cases and school and university closure.” From this, it
seems inevitable that schools will close as the pandemic peaks.

You will have seen today’s letter from the National Education Union. They warn that the advice to staff who
are older or who have certain long-term health conditions to stay at home will make it harder for schools to
operate.

Schools are already making plans about how to manage during the pandemic. They need urgent clarity
from the Government, Ofsted and Ofqual about what they will be expected to provide and how vulnerable
children will be protected.

To that end, I would like to discuss with you:

• Whether schools who need to buy home-working equipment for staff and online teaching resources will
have the money to do so.
• How you will ensure that the children of key frontline workers, such as NHS staff, food and distribution
workers and the emergency services, are looked after so that their parents and guardians can work.
• How schools can ensure that children eligible for free school meals do not go hungry and can access
nutritious food. Will you, for example, allow schools to use their free school meals funding to provide
supermarket vouchers to affected households?
• What steps you will take to ensure that vulnerable children, such as those with chronic health
conditions, pupils who have been permanently excluded from school, and pupils with chaotic home
environments are supported for the duration of the period that schools close.
• What steps you will take to reduce teachers’ workload during this period. I recommend that you abolish
SATs for this academic year and order Ofsted to lengthen its current suspension of inspections for at
least three months.
• How you will ensure that students about to take their GCSEs, A-Levels and other formal exams this
summer will not be seriously disadvantaged. Will the exams still take place? What advice will you give
exam boards about ensuring that this disruption is accounted for when marking exam scripts? How will
you support students relying on these exams to get into university?


Schools need as much advance warning as you can give them about when they will close and what
education provision they will be expected to offer whilst they are shut. The Government has so far hoped
for the best outcome of this crisis, but schools need to start planning for the worst.

I and the Liberal Democrats will continue to be critical friends during this crisis. We will support the
Government to keep people healthy and safe, whilst pressing for more support for students, businesses,
and communities. I hope we can arrange a time to speak at the earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Layla Moran MP
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon

 

Joint letter with Sarah Olney MP for Richmond Park to the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on business rates for nurseries and childcare providers (16th March 2020)

Layla and fellow Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney wrote a letter to Rishi Sunak MP and Gavin Williamson MP to ask why the Government has not (as of March 16th) included nurseries and other childcare providers in the temporary abolition of business rates for small businesses.

Plain Text:

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP 

Chancellor of the Exchequer 

Her Majesty’s Treasury 

1 Horse Guards Rd,  

London, SW1A 2HQ 

 

Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP 

Secretary of State for Education 

Department for Education 

Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith St 

London, SW1P 3BT 

16 March 2020 

Dear Rishi and Gavin, 

You have taken the drastic step of temporarily abolishing business rates for tens of thousands of small businesses in order to shore up their cashflow during the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, we are concerned that the Government has not included nurseries and other childcare providers within the scope of this measure. 

In a period of sluggish growth when many childcare providers are already under severe financial pressure, it is vital that this epidemic does not leave some nurseries financially unviable. 

Given that as many as one in five people could be off work at any one time at the peak of the outbreak, never the mind the possibility that the Government could order nurseries to close, childcare providers anticipate a sharp fall in the number of children coming through their doors in the coming months. 

We understand that the Early Years Alliance wrote to you before the Budget, asking for national guidance to be provided to local councils confirming that nurseries’ free childcare funding allocations should not be reduced in the event that nursery attendance falls or nurseries close. 

Nurseries will take an additional, formidable hit should parents paying for additional hours remove their children. 

Will you: 

  • Reconsider your decision to omit nurseries from the scope of your emergency business rates measures; 
  • Provide guidance to local councils as a matter of urgency to reassure childcare providers that their funding allocations will not be affected by coronavirus; 

 

  • Confirm what additional support will be rolled out to help childcare providers bridge a period of financial hardship? 

Whilst we recognise that social distancing will become an essential part of keeping people safe, we are deeply concerned at the financial impact of these measures for organisations like nurseries. Childcare providers need clarity and certainty. 

We look forward to your swift response. 

Yours sincerely, 

 

Layla Moran MP for Oxford West and Abingdon & Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson 

Sarah Olney MP for Richmond Park & Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson 

 

Letter to Health and Social Care Secretary on coronavirus guidance to vulnerable patients, particularly those going through chemotherapy (16th March 2020)

Layla wrote to Matt Hancock MP to ask that, as a priority, clinicians and doctors receive specific guidance on coronavirus and highly vulnerable patients as soon as possible.

Plain Text: 

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP 

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 

Department of Health and Social Care 

39 Victoria Street 

London, SW1H 0EU 

 

16 March 2020 

Dear Matt, 

 

I am writing to you because I am concerned that specific guidance on COVID-19 has not been issued for highly vulnerable patients in our health system, including those undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Clinicians and doctors must receive specific guidance as a priority. 

 

Individuals in this situation have significant issues with their immune systems, and so are at a high risk of both catching the virus and suffering severely from it. 

 

The House of Commons Library estimates that there were roughly 108,200 chemotherapy patients in the UK in 2017, although accurate statistics are not available. For patients such as these, there is currently not the guidance, nor the reassurance, that they need to protect themselves as well as their families, friends and colleagues.  

 

Whilst I appreciate that the Government is taking steps to improve its communication with the public, and that it has indication in its action plan that it will consider specific measures to protect vulnerable individuals with underlying illnesses, I am worried that we are running out of time. 

 

Could you please liaise with your colleagues at Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that guidance is issued to clinicians and doctors for chemotherapy patients and other vulnerable individuals is issued as a priority in the coming days? 

 

Specifically, this guidance must set out whether chemotherapy patients, and other vulnerable patients, should self-isolate if needed and miss treatment, or still travel to hospital to receive it. 

 

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

 

Yours sincerely, 

 

Layla Moran MP 

Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon 


Share this post on social media:

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.