The Government needs to unveil a package of family support alongside its £4.9 billion fund for businesses to help them through the new lockdown, says Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Mayor Jessie Joe Jacobs.
With the Prime Minister announcing a new national lockdown on Monday 4 January, including the closure of schools, Jessie is calling on the Tees Valley Mayor to do more to champion our children asking him to back the Children’s Commissioner’s call for the Government to ensure all children have access to devices and wi-fi to ensure they can be properly home-schooled during the lockdown and to use the Combined Authorities business networks to lead a campaign to raise funds from local business to meet immediate needs such as the purchase of tablets and 4G data.
Jessie is also adding her support to the campaign to keep the £20 increase in Universal Credit so far the Chancellor has stated this increase was a temporary measure but the tightened restrictions shows that the increase will be needed beyond 31 March 2021. According to Action for Children, the Tees Valley has seen a sharp rise in households with children in receipt of Universal Credit from 15,625 to 22,860 – an increase of 7235 households between January and August 2020.
“The extra support to local businesses during the new lockdown is welcome – and something I have been campaigning for – but it’s clear that the Government must also do more to help families through this crisis.
“Our children are our future and every child matters. The Government is asking for education to “go online” but to do that every child needs to have a device and wifi. Without this, poorer children’s education will suffer in the long term and we can’t allow that to happen.
“The Tees Valley Mayor should also get behind our children, using the power and influence of the role to both lobby government and work with local business to find local solutions. We saw through the child hunger campaign how our local business communities stepped up to ensure Tees children don’t go hungry. It’s now time to come together to ensure our children also don’t go without an education.
“We need a real plan and resources to help families in the difficult time both regionally and nationally. This means cancelling the Universal Credit cut, providing rent and mortgage holidays and ensuring people are not pushed into debt.
I have heard from far too many concerned teachers and families to understand the Government needs to act to support Tees families, and they must provide that support quickly —