1) – GARDEN COLLECTION TO START – The collection of Garden rubbish will recommence on week commencing 13th APRIL. It has been requested that if possible any garden waste is kept in your garden until collections begin.
2) Briefing in light of the Foreign Secretary’s announcement that £75 million will be spent on rescue flights to help bring home UK nationals who are stranded abroad.
Additionally, I have included information provided to me by Barclays and Lloyds banks, as well as a message about local pharmacies.
Please note – Due to the extremely high number of emails we are receiving, we have to prioritise responding to the most critical of cases. We are trying to respond to each of you individually, however, there may be a delay to our usual timeframes. Many people are raising similar issues, which you will find have been addressed in the briefing below.
UK Nationals Overseas
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP today announced additional measures to ensure the safe return of UK Nationals stranded abroad.
The Foreign Secretary has been in correspondence with foreign counterparts and heads of state this week including nations with high numbers of UK Nationals abroad such as Australia, New Zealand and India.
The UK Government assisted in the safe return of over 150,000 British Citizens from Spain, 8,500 from Morocco and 5000 from Cyprus.
1,400 have been repatriated from high risk areas such as China and Peru.
The FCO has liaised with all major airline providers coming to a new agreement on returning UK Nationals.
British Airways, Virgin, Easy Jet, Jet 2 and Titan will be flying commercial flights to bring UK Nationals home.
If you are in a country where commercial flights are still flying, please book as soon as possible.
Airlines will allow you to transfer tickets, even between providers without charge.
There is a £75 million subsidies on the cost of flights returning back to the UK.
Much advice remains the same. Constituents abroad should try and return to the UK. Travel advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
You should remain packed and close to an International Airport. You can also follow your Embassy or High Commission on social media. The FCO has tripled its call centre operators which are available 24/7 at (+44) (0) 207 008 1500.
Please Respect our Pharmacists
I have spoken to local pharmacists about the challenges they face throughout the Coronavirus crisis, with pharmacies busier now than they have ever been!
I want to put a message of support out for community pharmacists and their pharmacy teams in the Vale of Glamorgan and call for respect towards them at this deeply difficult time.
I recognise the extraordinary work they are carrying out under extremely trying circumstances. As you would expect, there has been a surge in prescription requests and they are now very much on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.
However, I am disheartened by reports of verbal abuse against pharmacists from a small minority of the public.
Please, I ask everyone to respect the vital role that they are playing and appreciate that they are doing all that they can to ensure that we have access to the medicine we need, in the most trying of circumstances.
Thank you again to our pharmacists in the Vale for their critical role in this crisis. To everyone else, please be patient and respectful.
Above all, stay home, and play your part in protecting the NHS and saving lives.
Support from Banks
Barclays have informed me of additional measures put in place immediately to support customers during the pandemic:
All arranged overdrafts for personal customers are now interest free until 30 April.
Mortgage repayment holidays can now be applied for online using a form on a dedicated web-page: https://www.barclays.co.uk/coronavirus/mortgages/
They have waived the requirement for personal guarantees for loans up to £250,000 under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
Put in place arrangements to prioritise NHS Workers, starting with branch services.
These measures are new this week and build on the measures already in place.
Please be aware that, due to staffing pressures, there will be some changes to opening hours or temporary closures for some branches. Right now the vast majority of branches remain open.
Lloyds have informed me of the following measures put in place to support customers during the pandemic:
From 6 April personal banking customers will be able to access a £300 overdraft, interest-free.
From 1 April, the contactless payment limit for all customers will increase from £30 to £45. Customers using mobile devices (such as Apple Pay) can make secure contactless payments above this limit at many retailers.
Lloyds are offering customers with personal loans a payment holiday. More than 30,000 customers have already taken up this offer. Similarly, there will be no missed payment fees for customers with loans, as well as credit cards and motor finance, for three months.
Mortgage customers at Lloyds:
A payment holiday of up to three months for personal mortgage customers if their household income has been affected. In just over a week, more than 70,000 homeowners have successfully applied for one. This means they will temporarily stop paying all or part of their monthly mortgage payment, which will be added onto their mortgage balance and repaid over the course of the remaining mortgage term. Lloyds are also waiving any missed payment fees for mortgage customers for three months.
Anyone in the process of trying to buy a new home who has an existing mortgage offer with Lloyds will be granted an additional three months to complete their home purchase at the agreed rate.
The Bank of England base rate reductions totalling 0.65% will be passed on in full to mortgage customers of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, helping to reduce their monthly household outgoings.
Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.
If you would like to see more advice, please visit my website which has a Coronavirus page. This contains information on health, travel, help for businesses, among other things: https://www.aluncairns.com/coronavirus
I hope you found this helpful.
Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
Vale of Glamorgan