Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has been liaising with Health and Treasury Ministers, colleagues on the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Assembly Members and local health professionals in a bid to ensure people of all ages in the constituency are receiving the support and care they need amid the coronavirus crisis.
James has also been in direct communication with constituents who are understandably anxious about the worsening situation in the UK.
“This is a terribly worrying time for everyone, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, and I want to assure my constituents that I am doing everything that I possibly can to ensure that the best support and care is available to them here in the Vale of Clwyd.
“I have been in contact with Health and Treasury Ministers over the approach to the situation and will remain in direct contact with them as the situation progresses, outlining any concerns fed to me by residents, and health and care professionals, here in North Wales.
“I have also been in touch with Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, local primary care services, health and social care services and Welsh Shadow Health Minister Angela Burns to discuss concerns and measures needed”.
James has also been in contact with local engineers with regards the production of ventilators.
“It is vital that any engineers who have the manufacturing capability to turn to the manufacture of ventilators do exactly that, and if there are any locally with expertise in this field, I urge them to contact my office immediately.”
Meanwhile, concerned about the impact of the pandemic on businesses, James has written to the Welsh Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans AM, urging the Welsh Government “do the right thing” by following the UK Government’s lead in removing business rates for any eligible retail, leisure and hospitality business with a rateable value below £51,000 for the next financial year.
He said: “Since the Chancellor’s budget announcement last week for support for businesses in England, I have been contacted by a number of business owners throughout my constituency which, if they were 30 minutes east, in England, would be eligible for this additional support.
“Given that the UK Government has today announced it will be providing £1.5 billion to the devolved administrations for their COVID-19 response - £475 million for the Welsh Government – there is now no reason why they can’t support businesses appropriately during this difficult period”.
Last week, James wrote to the BBC calling for them to delay their decision to remove funding for free TV licences for the over 75s, changes James was always against, emphasising that pensioners will be reliant on their TVs more than ever in coming weeks. He has therefore welcomed today’s announcement that the BBC has agreed to delay the start date for the new policy until August 1st 2020.
He has also welcomed the recent overdue provision of the NHS 111 helpline to North Wales patients by the Welsh Government, albeit only temporarily for Coronavirus concerns. This was a move he had been pushing for in recent weeks, in view of national public advice to dial the number.
James is also calling on people to look out for their neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, during the crisis, and urging supermarkets in the Vale of Clwyd to consider opening an hour earlier for elderly residents to shop when it is quieter and there is plenty of stock.
He said: “Whilst I promise to continue doing all that I can amid this crisis, we all have a responsibility to look after not only ourselves and our loved ones, but also the more vulnerable within our communities who may not have family support.
“With all the reports of panic buying, I would also urge everyone to start shopping responsibly and to consider those who may not be in a position to bulk buy.
“There is no doubt that this is an extremely difficult time for us all, but if we all follow guidelines, pull together and support each other, we will get through it.