As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its third month, nobody can deny the profound impact it has had on all our lives.
This is most tragically so for those who have lost loved ones to the virus itself – and the saddening reality is that, as the virus continues to spread, almost all of us know individuals and families affect in this way, from our own communities - and each of them have my sympathy.
Beyond the personal losses, the virus has touched almost every other aspect of our lives – work, relaxation, communication, entertainment, socialising, travel – how we do those things, or even if we can at all, is changing, often in very unexpected ways.
I am both relieved and proud with the quiet resilience and determination the country has gone about adapting to these changes. However, I have also been moved by the plight of individuals who are in great need at this time.
I and my small office team, as well as adapting ourselves these changes, have been focusing our efforts on helping these people, with issues directly arising from the COVID-19 epidemic. I have been amazed at the diversity of the issues we have been dealing with.
This has included helping individuals get onto furlough schemes, or to be able to claim benefits, or with other cost of living. We have been working with businesses to help them secure access to grants and business loans and other forms of Government support. While the Government’s response has been considerable, I readily admit it has been not been perfect in every way and I have, and I continue to seek to broaden and improve access to support for people these where possible.
We have also been helping people or their loved ones return to the UK who were stranded abroad when travel restrictions were imposed. I have also been assisting those who work in health and social care to ensure they have the resources, equipment, and PPE they require.
These are just a few examples from a full range of issues that are too numerous to mention. We have been dealing enquiries as best as we can, and prioritising those in need or urgent and practical help. However, this has meant we have not been as prompt at replying to all correspondence as we would have liked, and I would like to thank all those who have, or may, contact me and my Office for their patience, understanding and forbearance at this time.
We do not know how long these changes will last, or when we might return to ‘normal’, or even if some things will ever return or if this will give rise to a ‘new normal’ in some respects.
Our country, and the world, has faced tests of this scale and more before, and as VE Day commemorations last weekend reminded us – although our levels suffering differ, we will, eventually, prevail together.
William Wragg MP