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TIM LOUGHTON MP
EAST WORTHING AND SHOREHAM
HOUSE OF COMMONS
SW1A 0AA
Dear <<First Name>>

Welcome to my April newsletter which inevitably is dominated by the Coronavirus crisis. I apologise that we missed a newsletter at the end of March as my office was being swamped with enquiries from constituents linked to Coronavirus and my staff and I have been working round the clock to answer all of these as best we could. We have dealt with everything from helping people stuck at home unable to get essential supplies, accessing masks and other PPE equipment, taking up queries with the Treasury about who qualifies for job retention schemes (including a constituent who is a zookeeper!) to constituents stranded everywhere from New Zealand to Peru. I have one member of staff spending most of her time just dealing with constituents stuck abroad and visa issues. I am sorry if in the torrid circumstances of the last few weeks that a few emails have gone astray but by and large I think we have been able to respond to 99% although not always with the desired solution.

I guess that most of us have had to find new ways of workings and mastered the technological intricacies of Zoom, Skype, House Party, Microsoft Teams and all other manner of downloads. Most days I am on conference calls to Parliamentary colleagues, ministers, local health managers, chief constables, local councillors and council officers, care home operators, clergy and a whole lot more. It may be an efficient way of working but it certainly seems to take up an awful lot of the day, and at weekends. My Westminster staff are all working from home and have been working over weekends too, in order to help clear urgent queries. The constituency office is closed but responding to voicemails and emails. Please do not direct post there as I am only occasionally dropping in and anything urgent will not be seen. I have suspended fortnightly surgeries and street surgeries but anyone needing a surgery appointment with me to discuss a  case can leave their details in the normal way with the constituency office and I will call them back. You can email the office on
eastworthingandshoreham@gmail.com or call 01273 757182.

Parliament has been operating virtually from last week although this week I did visit Westminster in person for the first time in 5 weeks to take part in the debate on the important Domestic Abuse Bill and pick up supplies and papers from my office. Otherwise the technology is working quite well as colleagues are zoomed in on large screens from far flung corners of the UK and journalists comment on the merits of their respective wallpaper, bookcases or in my case, curtains! The Homes Affairs Select Committee I sit on met virtually throughout the Easter recess and we have so far produced topical reports on how the police are coping with the lockdown, the rise in incidents of domestic violence and on Wednesday we interviewed the Home Secretary.

In this newsletter I have included reports on previous events that I was not able to cover before and there are a few pieces of good news as well. However I have sought to concentrate on a roundup of up to date helpful information about how to cope in the Coronavirus crisis in an easily accessible form that you can keep for future reference.

You can download this leaflet by clicking HERE.

The Coronavirus section on my website at
www.timloughton.com/coronavirus contains a great deal of information and useful links and this provides a guide and precis of what is there and how you can get the most out of it.

Can I finish by saying a big thank you for all those who are doing their bit by following the Government guidance to stay at home as much as possible and to those many thousands of volunteers who have come forward to offer help to more vulnerable members of our local communities? With only a few exceptions everyone is rallying round and it makes me very proud to see so many local examples of the true community spirit, empathy and generosity that perhaps we last saw after the Shoreham Air Show tragedy. But the biggest thanks of all must go to all our NHS and care workers and others on the frontline who have really stepped up to the mark and as usual put the service of others ahead of their own personal safety. It has been a challenging time for our hospital staff and care home workers in particular, but the system has been working tremendously well and the NHS has not been overwhelmed by a tsunami of cases which is what happened in other European countries.


Keep safe everyone.

Best wishes

Tim Loughton MP
SHOPITAL
It was a great privilege to be able to help with the organisation of ‘Shopital’ which for the first couple of weeks around the start of lockdown provided essential supplies to NHS workers coming off shift every evening at Worthing hospital. After doing a deal with the Lyons Farm branch of Sainsbury’s we were able to supply up to 50 essential food items and of course loo rolls. We had heard that nurses and doctors coming off a hard day’s shift were finding it almost impossible to shop at supermarkets with bare shelves by the time they got there. Some supermarkets had reserved slots early morning for priority access to key workers, but this was not working for many on the daytime shift. So we took the supermarket to the hospital. Flour, eggs, rice and pasta were always in great demand.
Each evening we serviced up to 100 staff with Sainsbury’s goods at regular prices and in addition on most evenings we were able to hand out free additional produce courtesy of the generosity of local donors. The ‘roll of honour’ includes:
  • Truffles bakery for their daily supply of surplus bread, soup and especially the delicious doughnuts
  • Kits’s Peanut Chutney for their delicious jars and especially for hunting down some rare yeast to give out
  • Worthing MacDonald’s for their spare fruit and veg stock
  • Riverside Brewery for the cans of beer (only given to staff coming off shift!)
  • The Amsterdam Pub Shoreham and castle Pub Bramber for the spare stock
  • Southwick residents Mel Humphrey’s for the delicious cakes
  • Focus of Shoreham who continue to provide up to 70 fresh ready meals every night which have been a God send to tired staff coming off shift faced with having to cook
  • Thanks to Andy Sparsis of Fish Factory fame for providing fresh pasta
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out and particularly to Councillor Andy McGregor who shifted so much of the food and Emily Harris who staffed Shopital on every single night.

When Sainsbury’s did a deal with WH Smith to supply their hospital shops, including Worthing, with essential goods we decided our work was done but since then the team has been handing out the ready meals every weekday evening. In addition many thanks to the Worthing Weight Watchers lady who donated all her stock to NHS staff which we have been distributing too.

On Maundy Thursday we were also able to distribute over 350 Easter eggs and other chocolate treats to the community nursing teams at Lancing, Durrington Ambulance station, the refuse collection teams on Lancing business Park and GP surgeries and pharmacists across Adur and Worthing as a small token of appreciation. The donations were made possible by the generosity of Sainsbury’s Lyons farm, Koh Koh Chocolate shop in Southwick Square and the East Worthing & Shoreham Conservative Association.

Thanks also to Shoreham Beach resident Matt Barton who runs 7thSense Design and who donated over 1000 masks which I was then able to distribute to local care homes low on PPE including our excellent Worthing charity Guild Care.
Tributes
I was very sorry to hear about the death of former Worthing Mayor Ann Sayers last week, another great champion for our town. We lost have now lost 3 senior former Worthing councillors in the space of just a few weeks following the death of community champion Don Allen (who served as a councillor in Worthing for 6 years), and Norah Fisher, a councillor for 8 years and often seen with her adorable labradoodle Herbie. I will miss them all and I send my condolences to their families.
Local NHS and Care Sector update
The toll of fatalities across the country has obviously been shocking and our hearts go out to all those families who have been affected. Across West Sussex the numbers have been lower than the national average and we should pay tribute to the fantastic planning and hard work by all our NHS and care staff. Worthing Hospital worked well with the County Council to make sure that as many critical care beds have been available as possible to deal with Coronavirus admissions. As a result bed occupancy at Worthing is below 60% and it is important that those people who need to go to hospital for non-Coronavirus conditions continue to do so. Hospital staff have been provided with sufficient PPE for some time although there were difficulties with supply in the early days.

There has been a  lot more concern recently about the pressure on care homes where we obviously have a lot across the county given the demographics of the population.  I have spent a lot of time speaking to care homes and dealing with local health managers and the Sussex Resilience Forum to make sure these supplies get through. Given the concern over the number of deaths in care homes it is also important to make clear that anyone requiring hospitalisation for a Coronavirus condition can access it which is why it has been so important to make sure that our hospitals have not been overwhelmed by Coronavirus patients as has happened in other European countries. The NHS has proved tremendously resilient in the circumstances. Local GP surgeries have also been operating below capacity in many circumstances and working well too.

As regards the important question of testing we now have 4 main testing centres across Sussex including the Amex stadium at Falmer and at Bognor. As at yesterday we have the capacity to conduct 1300 tests a day which will produce results within 48 hours. Yesterday only 950 tests were actually taken up and now of course testing eligibility has been greatly extended to include all staff and residents in care homes and many other key workers as part of the drive to facilitate 100,000 tests a day nationally. In addition we have had 4 mobile testing units locally run by the army which are being used most to visit care homes where it is more problematic to visit the testing centres. This is on top of the home testing kits which can be booked online. We will need to have a proper analysis of what worked well and what could have been done a lot better after the immediate crisis is over but for the time being in Sussex our frontline services are coping very well.
BBC Video Diary
I was due to be on BBC Politics South East at the end of March but given the sudden escalation in the lockdown, I was unable to be on the show. One feature that was salvaged however was my video diary - I had been filming myself carrying out the day-to-day roles of an MP however this very quickly morphed into a ‘Coronavirus Diary’, detailing what I was getting up to in Westminster and around the constituency. You watch it by clicking the picture above.
Adur and Worthing COVID-19 Business Grants
A big shout out to officers at Worthing and Adur Councils who have worked tirelessly to process the many applications for grants and other help under the Treasury’s business support schemes.

Over £20m has been paid out by Adur and Worthing Councils to local business under the COVID-19 Business Grants. The team at the Council have been doing a fantastic job in an incredibly stressful environment and have delivered (as of last Friday):

- Received 2,193 registrations (up 244 since last week)
- Approved 1,765 registrations (up 1,036 since last week)
- Paid 1,697 businesses (up 1,004 since last week)
- Paid out £20,915,000 (up £12,200,000 since last week)
New Bishops for Horsham and Lewes
Following the announcement from Downing Street yesterday, I welcome the news that the next Bishop of Horsham is to be The Revd Ruth Bushyager and the next Bishop of Lewes is to be The Revd Prebendary Will Hazlewood. You can read more HERE.
Southwick Bank
Barclays have launched a new initiative in Southwick to keep the last bank in town open - I visited the branch in early March and it’s a campaign I fully support. It will explore the opportunities of working more closely with communities, understanding how customers use a physical bank in 2020 as opposed to purely online banking.
VE Day - 75th Anniversary
Amidst all the current gloom, next week we will be celebrating a very important anniversary but unfortunately in  rather more low-key way than previously planned. If anyone has raised our spirits during this crisis then it is the absolutely magnificent veteran Captain (now honorary Colonel) Tom Moore.

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday 8th May, individuals and communities from across the UK will come together during key moments to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the entire Second World War generation. From British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces, to evacuees and those who served on the home front. As we face some of the most challenging times since the end of the Second World War, now more than ever it is important to come together and unite, just as communities did 75 years ago.  

The revised programme will include: a two-minutes' silence at 11.00am; a moment of reflection and prayer led by the Archbishop of Canterbury; the broadcasting of extracts of Sir Winston Churchill's VE Day speech, followed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales reading an extract from his grandfather King George VI's diary from 8th May 1945; and, finally, Her Majesty The Queen will address the nation.
 
You can read more about this on my website HERE. If you are still holding various commemoration events, virtually at home, then let me know and I will be happy to promote them on social media under the hashtag #VEDAY75Adur/WorthingSalutesYou
Domestic Abuse Bill

It was a privilege to speak in the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill on Tuesday, back in the chamber of the House of Commons. There was a sense of déjà vu as we had already had the second reading of this Bill back in October, however it was prevented from becoming law last year when the General Election ended the session abruptly. The Bill introduces a new definition of domestic abuse in law; establishes a new Domestic Abuse Commissioner; brings in Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and gives people escaping violence at home new entitlements to housing amongst other innovations.

In 2019 173 women and 13 men were killed by a partner or former partner, over two-thirds of them in their own homes. Added to this is the hidden toll of an estimated 400 people who took their own lives who had attended hospital for domestic abuse injuries in the previous 6 months. Tragically this scourge has been compounded during the current Coronavirus lockdown which has already seen calls to domestic abuse hotlines double and the number of killings in the first 3 weeks double on the previous year’s average. Hence this legislation is more needed and more urgent than ever.

As former Children’s Minister I was always horrified that at least three quarters of child safeguarding cases were linked to domestic abuse and these two evils so often go hand in hand. Not surprisingly cases of child abuse have increased during the lockdown as social workers find it more problematic to do their important work, often remotely. I have therefore recommended amendments to the Bill which will recognise children often traumatised by being brought up in a home subject to domestic abuse not just as witnesses but as victims too. You can watch my speech by clicking the picture above. You can also see the report on Domestic Abuse from the Home Affairs Select Committee HERE.
Recycling Sites reopening
We are expecting guidance from DEFRA next week detailing when recycling sites will be reopening - West Sussex County Council are already planning how they can reopen sites with the minimum amount of risk to both staff and residents and preserve social distancing.

At the moment West Sussex sites - along with 98% of sites in England - remain closed. They are asking residents to store any waste that they would otherwise take to the sites at home until they can safely reopen - and are strongly advising against burring any kind of waste in gardens. Bonfires can affect residents with lung conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis.

I will update my social media and my website when further announcements are made.
FSB Support and Q&A with Coast to Capital LEP
The FSB will run a virtual support session next Wednesday (6th May) - updating on key messages and practical support being offered following the Coronavirus Emergency by the C2C LEP & Growth Hub to support businesses in the East Surrey, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove areas.

You can get more information and book HERE.
Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020 winner
This month we had some fantastic news that the Worthing based firm Rayner (the manufacturer of the world’s first Intraocular Lens) has been recognised for its excellence in innovation by winning the esteemed and internationally recognised Queen’s Award for Enterprise (QAE) for its RayOne fully preloaded IOL injection system, designed to create the smallest fully preloaded IOL incision during cataract surgery.

Later this year, representatives from Rayner will attend an exclusive reception at Buckingham Palace. You can read more about this HERE. Congratulations - fully deserved! 
easitAdur & Worthing
easitAdur & Worthing was launched in March, in conjunction with Adur & Worthing Councils' sustainability programme ‘Sustainable AW’. This delivers numerous discounted travel options from electric bike discounts to percentage discounts on bus and rail. For more information, click HERE.
Taking a break from filming in March to sanitise - young local Director Elliott Hasler is shooting a movie about Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel and I was honoured to play a small role - 1920's Home Secretary William Joynson-Hicks - in the upcoming film, Vindication Swim.
We had a good session with Priti Patel, Home Secretary, in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee and heard encouraging news about the extension of visa extensions for NHS workers and joint working with French on tackling apparent spike in illegal Channel crossings during lockdown period.
Yesterday was National Postal Workers day, and I pay tribute to all postal workers who serve our communities throughout the country. It was a privilege to deliver with Lee last February and at this current time they are going above and beyond to keep our country moving. Thank you!
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Copyright © Tim Loughton MP. All rights reserved.

This newsletter is published by Tim Loughton MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Contact details:
Email: loughtont@parliament.uk
Tel: 01273 757182
Write: 88A High Street, Shoreham-by-sea, BN43 5DB

Surgery details:
If you have a problem you think Tim could help you with and you would like to meet him to discuss it please ring 01273 757182 to book an appointment at one of his fortnightly surgeries.

Please visit www.timloughton.com for more information about Tim.

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Parliament · House of Commons · London, London Sw1A 0AA · United Kingdom