Coronavirus update for Argyll & Bute
Thank you to everyone who has been in touch over the last few weeks.
The amount of correspondence I have received by email, letter and phone has been unprecedented and I and my team have been working through all of this as best we can.
We have had to prioritise urgent casework including ensuring food supplies to those most in need, including our island communities; helping make sure PPE gets to frontline staff helping others, helping people stranded abroad and also doing what we can to help people who have lost their jobs or fear for the future of their businesses.
Keeping everyone safe has been the main priority and I am very grateful to everyone who is adhering to government guidance ‘stay home, stay safe, protect our NHS’. I know the lockdown is challenging for everyone especially when we can’t visit friends and loved ones, but this is having the right result.
It has been so good to see communities come together and help others and I would like to recognise the work of the many volunteer groups as well as individuals across the constituency, who are going above and beyond at this difficult time. It is also astounding to know that nationwide 75,000 volunteers have also signed up to the ‘Scotland Cares’ scheme.
I would also like to recognise the outstanding hard work of all our key workers including our NHS staff, teachers, refuse collectors, shop workers, food producers, postal workers to name just a few, who are helping to keep everything going.
Tourism, our hospitality industry and our food & drink sector are so important to Argyll & Bute and I have been doing what I can to support local businesses for whom this crisis is just devastating.
A lot of work has been done in a very short while by both the Scottish and UK Governments to support individuals and businesses. However, I know that some people are still falling through the gap including seasonal workers who have missed the furlough cut-off date set by the Chancellor, as well as larger businesses trying to access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme. I will continue to press him to re-visit the furlough decision so that no one misses out on vital support and to highlight issues where the banks can do more to support local businesses.
I am also working with the Scottish Government and our major retailers to find sustainable solutions so we can ensure reliable, affordable food deliveries to our islands and financial support to our world-class fishing and seafood industry.
A lot of work has been done and a lot of work is still to be done as we navigate our way through this crisis. I will continue to prioritise the needs of constituents who have been impacted in some way by the coronavirus crisis. I will also try my best to help those who have other issues as well so please get in touch if you think I can be of assistance to you.
I am not able to hold regular advice surgeries but you can get in touch by email and phone. I will also be available for online surgeries via Zoom.