The Wokingham Paper

WESTMINSTER DIARY: Matt Rodda

Matt Rodda
Reading East MP Matt Rodda

The easing of the lockdown is an important stage in the corona virus epidemic and we need to be careful and take gradual steps forward at this difficult time.

However, many people are understandably concerned, both for their own safety and for vulnerable friends and relatives. Clear and straightforward advice and information is very important to help guide us at this time and I hope that this can now be clarified.

I realise that people have different views and that some residents also have very specific questions about how the changes affect them and their family or work colleagues. I would be grateful if you could fill in my survey to let me know what you think about the easing of the lockdown and the way that the changes have been announced, or print it off from my website and send it to me at Matt Rodda MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A OAA.

Marking VE Day at home

I also wanted to say how moved I felt during the 75th anniversary of VE Day earlier this month. It is very important to commemorate the sacrifice of all those who helped defend the freedom we enjoy today and there were some wonderful displays of flags and bunting and socially distanced commemorations across Berkshire.

Tribute to key workers

There have been a number of other important developments which have been in the news in the last few days.

I want to thank our NHS and care staff, key workers, volunteers and many others for their incredible response to the crisis.  I also want to pay tribute to the local community for their support for vulnerable people and for maintaining the restrictions as the lock down continues, even with some easing. Together we are tackling this dreadful virus.

More support needed

I am calling on the Government to provide more support for our care homes and care provided at home, and I hope that ministers will learn from the local response, where NHS staff and councils have been offering high levels of help and support to care homes in the Berkshire West area  —the boroughs of Wokingham, Reading and West Berkshire.

Many residents and many people across the country rely on public transport and I am urging the Government to do more to make journeys safe at this time, by ensuring there are enough buses and trains to make sure social distancing can take place and that ministers offer other help and support. I am working with Reading Buses and the rail industry to raise issues and concerns, please contact me if you would like to raise any issues.

I have been calling for more PPE and for more tests, and for these to be carried out locally, to help speed up the increase in the number of people being tested. 
I want to thank all those who helped make ppe through local schools and volunteer groups, which I have been supporting.

It is important that the Government steps up the supply so that staff are properly protected.

On testing, I want to see a greater emphasis on making it easier to get to local centres, like the one at Reading University to avoid lengthy round trips to facilities in Oxford or West London.

Campaigning for our heritage

As a local MP I also spend a lot of time on campaigns and casework. I am following up my recent letter to the Prisons Minister  re: Reading Gaol and I am continuing to press her to rethink the Government’s plans to sell this vital part of our heritage to a commercial developer, particularly at a time when the hospitality sector is facing huge challenges.

I am also continuing to raise the issue of the response to the Grenfell Disaster. Hundreds of residents live in flats with dangerous cladding and there needs to be more funding for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue to be able to pay for more specialist officers to inspect buildings, such as the many lower rise flats in towns like Woodley and Wokingham.

My office is continuing to respond to a large volume of casework. I also hope that announcements this week on further support for businesses and employees will help, some support has been offered but it needs to go much further.

Please email me at: mattroddampcasework@parliament.uk

MATT RODDA IS THE MP FOR READING EAST, WHICH INCLUDES PARTS OF WOODLEY AND EARLEY

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