Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has written to the Chancellor asking for more support to be provided to the self-employed during the Coronavirus outbreak.
This was prompted after several of Mr Stone's self-employed constituents raised concerns about their livelihoods during Mr Stone's telephone surgery last Friday.
Mr Stone's letter to the Chancellor coincides with a petition launched by the 'The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed' (IPSE) and the 'Creative Industries Federation', calling on the Government to create an emergency fund for freelancers.
In his letter, Mr Stone explains that the self-employed "may not own the property that they work out of" so "the Government's rate relief proposal does not help in any way".
Stone helps distilleries defeat hand sanitizer supply issue
Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has helped Distilleries in his constituency to secure a major rule change that allows them to produce hand sanitizer quickly, safely, and cheaply. This comes as a spike in demand for hand sanitizer has made it difficult for consumers to get hold of.
The owner of Dornoch Distillery, Mr Phil Thompson, contacted Mr Stone to ask if he could lobby HMRC to approve the World Health Organisation (WHO) Formula. After Mr Stone made representations to HMRC's Chief Executive, Jon Thompson, the WHO formula has now been approved.
This means that businesses like Dornoch Distillery Company can now legally sell sanitizer to the public at £1 per 100ml.
Stone: close caravan sites as a matter of urgency
Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has written to the Scottish and UK Governments asking for them to make it their policy to close caravan sites during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In his letter, Mr Stone said:
"The Highland Council has informed me that at present there is no agreed Scottish Government policy as to whether caravan sites should be allowed to continue to operate and accept visitors from other parts of the UK during the time of the pandemic.
"Clearly this causes concern for my constituents who live near caravan sites. Halting the spread of coronavirus is an absolute imperative if we are to minimise illness and the number of resulting deaths.
"The Scottish Government needs to decide on an appropriate policy as a matter of some urgency. And if caravan sites are required to close for the period of the pandemic, then an appropriate financial compensation package should be offered by the Scottish Government to offset the loss of income owing to closure."
"It is because of this last point that I am copying this letter the Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the end of the day coronavirus is no respecter of a border between Scotland and the rest of the UK. A consistent UK wide approach to halting the coronavirus is an absolute necessity.".
Today Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has joined a cross-party campaign for the UK Government to take more drastic action to discourage stockpiling.
The letter, composed by Abena Oppong Asare MP, asks the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to implement the following measures:
- Provide reinforcements for supermarkets nationwide to prevent people from overbuying food and essential items
- Centrally reduce opening hours for supermarkets to give staff sufficient time to restock during the crisis
- Introduce government-mandated hours of shopping specifically for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who are most at risk from contracting COVID-19
- Limit the quantity of staple goods and essential items people are permitted to buy during the crisis
- Ask the Prime Minister to address shopping habits directly in his daily press
Stone welcomes extension to over-75s eligibility for free TV licenses
Commenting on the news, Mr Stone said:
"I am delighted that sense has prevailed. This is an issue that has worried me greatly. I will continue to demand that the Government ensures this measure extends well beyond August!
“The over-75s should not have had to worry about their TV licenses in the first place, but I appreciate that the Government and BBC recognises the importance of the concession during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I will continue to call on the Government to ensure the BBC is not forced to demand license fees from the over 75s later on in the year.”
Stone: Suspend negotiations with the EU till COVID-19 subsides
Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has today co-sponsored a cross-party Parliamentary motion urging the Conservative Government to suspend negotiations with the EU until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Early Day Motion 294 urges the Conservative Government to “immediately request an extension to the transition period”; “to suspend negotiations with the EU until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides”; and to “work closely with other European governments in responding to the pandemic”.
Stone joins cross-party effort to protect social care workers
Far North MP Jamie Stone has signed a cross-party letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social care, urging him to protect social care workers employed on zero-hours contracts.
Before sending the letter Helen Hayes MP - the letter’s lead signatory - said:
“Currently, care workers on zero-hour contracts are not being granted the same access to sick pay as NHS bank staff and sub-contractors. NHS trusts have been advised to pay all staff in full in order to ensure that they self-isolate when necessary.
“Social care workers who are advised to self-isolate face the difficult choice of financial hardship or continuing to work and risk passing on the coronavirus to their patients. It is vital that social care workers have the same sick pay arrangements as NHS staff”.
After signing the letter, Mr Stone said:
“It is right that the Government do what they can to protect social care workers during this national crisis.
“It goes without saying that they should have the same sick pay arrangements as NHS staff, so they are not discouraged from self-isolating for fear of financial loss.
“I will continue to work with other parties and the Government to ensure we support all aspects of our health and social care system at this critical time.”