4 - 8 May
I hope you and your families are well. As we come to the end of the seventh week of lockdown, we’ve seen positive reports again of the numbers of those infected reducing. However, there is still grave concern for elderly residents who live in care homes or in the community, and some way to go before we can feel reassured that we are really on the right track. So, it’s essential that we keep following the Government’s and NHS England’s instructions - stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.
We are expecting the Government to announce changes to the lockdown regime on Sunday, which will come into force over the coming days and weeks. Despite this, it is essential that the test and trace regime is available to as many key workers as possible and to those residents who are in elderly care homes and/or discharged from hospital.
This week we have seen some significant announcements from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about walking and cycling in the capital, and we’ve already taken measures to implement improvements to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in our borough. There is a clear move away from people’s willingness to use public transport and this will have a profound effect on transport services in London and could see a significant shift away from the use of buses and rail, with people walking and cycling more. What we must do is guard against everyone jumping into their cars!
Last week, I mentioned the announcement made by British Airways of 12,000 potential redundancies. There have now been further announcements of job losses from airlines affecting Heathrow and Gatwick. All of this adds to the precarious nature of the international airline industry. It is almost certain this will have a dramatic effect on employment in the borough and west London, with thousands upon thousands of jobs either directly linked to Heathrow or in the supply chain. I have written to Alex Cruz, Chief Executive of British Airways, asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the redundancies, along with both of our local MPs Seema Malhotra, Feltham & Heston, and Ruth Cadbury, Brentford & Isleworth.
Tomorrow, 8th May, marks Victory in Europe (VE) Day, 75 years since the end of the Second World War, remembering many of that generation who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. During the war, the country and communities came together, as they have now in London and in Hounslow. We have shown wartime courage, and I have seen tremendous community spirit show itself right across the borough as we all look after each other in this time of crisis.
As last week, I would also like to wish our Muslim residents a Ramadan Mubarak. I understand how difficult it must be not to be able to celebrate Ramadan at your mosque and with family and friends and stay safe.
The Council continues to provide support to many thousands of vulnerable residents so if you are aware of a relative, friend or neighbour that you think needs help, please visit the coronavirus section of our website which contains lots of information on support available.
We continue to support businesses through the grant schemes available from Government. Again, business support information can be found on the Council’s website and I’m pleased to say that the Government has now offered financial support to those self-employed residents and we will be processing those requests for financial assistance in the coming days and weeks.
We know the weather is going to be good for the next couple of days, but turning cold on Sunday with an easterly wind. Please try to enjoy yourselves, but keep following the Government’s guidance and if your visiting on our parks for your local daily exercise, stick to the rules to keep yourself and others safe!