Stone Warns: Coronavirus Does Not Discriminate By Immigration Status 

Far North Liberal Democrat MP, Jamie Stone, has joined a cross-party effort led by Labour MP for Coventry North, Taiwo Owatemi, which is demanding that the Government temporarily remove the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ immigration status. 

People with this status are unable to claim Universal Credit. It is also unclear whether the Government’s job retention scheme will apply to them. 

After signing the letter, Mr. Stone said:

Everyone deserves to be protected from this coronavirus pandemic regardless of their immigration status”

“Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate based on immigration status, so why should the Government? They need to provide clarity and quickly."

"They have worked collaboratively with all parties so far, so I am hopeful that they will listen to this cross-party plea."

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Stone responds to HIAL decision

Following the news that HIAL will reserve fights for emergency cases only amidst Coronavirus outbreak, Mr Stone said:
"This is a responsible action to take. I support HIAL's decision. It underlines how serious the situation is and the fact that Highlands' airports will still be available for serious medical cases is very good.
"I shall be seeking assurance that these emergency flights will cover Maternity services in the Far North."

Stone wages war on Wetherspoons amidst Coronavirus

Far North Liberal Democrat MP, Jamie Stone, joined 95 other MPs yesterday to demand that JD Wetherspoons billionaire boss, Tim Martin, guarantees his worker's wages. After the letter went viral, Wetherspoons conceded and announced they would pay their staff.

Mr Stone signed the letter after several constituents working at The Alexander Bain in Wick contacted him to complain. Since Wetherspoon's made a u-turn on paying staff wages, it has been announced that they will not be paying suppliers during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

This is a tragedy for distilleries in the Far North. Responding to the news, Mr Stone has launched an online petition, which asks those in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross to sign a joint letter to Tim Martin asking that he pays suppliers. 

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Stone: Govt must support Charities!

Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has today signed a cross-party letter led by Stephen Doughty MP asking for the Government to step in and support charities amongst the Coronavirus outbreak. 

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has predicted that charities will miss out on a minimum of £4.3bn of income over the coming 12 weeks. Without this vital money, many charities of all sizes will be forced to close.

The cross-party letter calls for 

  • Emergency funding for charity work alleviating pressure from the NHS 

  • Confirmation that charity workers will be eligible for the 80% of wage fund

  • Confirmation that charities are eligible for similar business interruption measures 

Speaking on the letter, Mr Stone said:

“Charities provide essential support in the Far North. These organisations shouldn’t have to close their doors and consider redundancies as a result of the pandemic. Any Government support for businesses should be extended to charities too."

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Stone joins cross-party effort to support self-employed 

Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has signed two parliamentary motions to support self-employed workers in the UK amidst the Coronavirus crisis. This follows Mr Stone's letter to Chancellor earlier this week, asking for more support to be provided to the self-employed.

Fellow Liberal Democrat MP, Tim Farron, and Owen Thompson, SNP MP for Midlothian, have both tabled early day motions in the House of Commons today in support of the Federation of Small Businesses’ #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign, which raises awareness of the current lack of provision for self-employed workers.

After signing the motions, Mr Stone said: 

"The Government really must do more to support the self-employed. I am prepared to continue working cross-party in order to ensure that the self-employed are not left behind. 

"My colleague, Tim Farron, has come up with a great idea to create a Self-Employed Income Guarantee. MPs need to keep working together and share these practical suggestions with the Government. They have been really collaborative thus far, so I am hopeful that they take up these suggestions and bring in the changes that self-employed people so desperately need.

"I will continue to do whatever I can to keep the pressure up and deliver for my constituents."

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Stone succeeds in mission to extend MOT

The Government has granted car owners six-month exemption from MOT testing during the coronavirus outbreak. 
This comes after Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, submitted a named day question to the Department for Transport (DfT) asking to suspend the MOT system earlier this week.
Commenting on the achievement, Mr Stone said:
"I am thrilled that the Government has seen sense and extended MOT testing. I am glad to have been at the forefront of this campaign after relaying the concerns of my constituents at the highest levels of Government. 
" We should do whatever we can do to encourage people to self-isolate at home. Extending MOT testing during the outbreak is one small step in the right direction!
"I would ask that constituents continue to get in touch with me about their concerns, whether they're big or small As today's news shows, change is possible!"

Stone Leads Cross-Party Effort To Scrap VAT on Energy Bills

Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has secured cross-party support for his letter to the Chancellor calling for a moratorium on VAT on energy bills through the coronavirus crisis. 

The letter comes in the wake of figures from Uswitch forecasting that households could see bills increase as much as £195 a year as a result of spending more time at home to self-isolate.

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross said:

"Right across the UK people are desperately worried about how they will make ends meet in the face of this crisis. Many already find themselves out of work, on reduced pay or having to rely on Universal Credit. Ensuring people using prepaid meters are not cut off is a first step, but there are many who will need further assistance.

"The very least the Government can do is offer people a break from VAT on energy bills - this would be a quick and effective step which will immediately assist some of the poorest in our society. It will at least partly alleviate the additional financial pressure created by the need to stay at home."

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Stone speaks up for Disability rights

Far North Liberal Democrat MP, Jamie Stone, is part of a cross-party campaign calling out the detrimental impact of the Coronavirus Bill on the rights of disabled people.

The Bill currently relaxes the duty on local authorities to meet the social care needs of disabled people, risking leaving them behind at a time of crisis. 

Mr Stone joined other MPs to urge Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, to reconsider the removal of safeguards and protect the safety and rights of disabled people.

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Stone: Suspend MOT system amid Coronavirus Crisis

Today Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has submitted a named day question to the Department for Transport (DfT) asking to suspend the MOT system. 

The DVSA has suspended MOTs for all heavy goods vehicles for up to three months from 21 March. However, for car, motorbike and light van drivers, the Department for Transport continues to keep MOT testing in place, encouraging many people to break self-isolation

Mr Stone submitted the following question to the Department for Transport:
"To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending MOTs during the covid-19 outbreak."
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Ross and Stone warn visitors: Please stay at home! 

Far North MSP, Gail Ross, and MP Jamie Stone, have appealed to all caravan and campervan owners planning on visiting the Highlands to stay at home during the Coronavirus pandemic. They have written to the First Minister and Prime Minister to ask for a joined-up strategy to stop irresponsible tourism.
One issue of particular concern is that the Right to Roam legislation in Scotland could encourage irresponsible visitors to 'free-park' their mobile homes in the Highlands and spread Coronavirus to the Far North. 
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