Stay safe and keep others safe too
We know many are concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and that these will be challenging times for many local people and businesses. We want everyone to stay as safe as possible. Everyone is advised to stay up-to-date with the latest NHS health
advice at nhs.uk/coronavirus and follow those recommendations to help keep everyone in our communities as safe as possible - particularly those whose health is most vulnerable -
and to limit the burden on our NHS. Age UK also offer some useful guidance.
Spread only kindness
Wash your hands. Follow official advice to limit physical contact and the spread of infection. But we must also think of those in poor physical or mental health, in poverty, living with disabilities, loosing vital income, and those who are routinely socially-isolated or without a secure, safe home. To help Newcastle’s communities build their resilience, we are notifying our members of the Mutual Aid community groups where they can join forces with others in their neighbourhood to receive help if needed, or to offer support to others (for free) if they are able to (use our postcode checker to find which ward you live in). Many of our members are helping to such coordinate community activities. Do bear in mind that Mutual Aid groups are not able to offer medical advice or professional care or services, and users should stick to usual precautions to protect their wellbeing and property (for example, not allowing strangers into their homes nor giving out financial information). The Newcastle Community Foundation’s Response and Recovery Fund are seeking donations to help support a range of community organisations across Tyne and Wear in the wake of this crisis.
Despite the increased isolation many will sadly experience, it’s important we stay connected to one another as best we can. To minimise health risks, we will not be knocking on residents’ doors face-to-face for the time being, and we have cancelled our gatherings and litter-picks for now. We hope locals will of course still keep in touch with us - as well as their friends and neighbours - by email, or on Facebook or Twitter. We will also be moving local party meetings online to Zoom.
Green thinking’s needed to tackle this crisis – and to avoid future ones
As well as being challenging, a crisis is a time for people to rise to the occasion and to remember what’s most important in our lives. Our campaigners and members got into politics to make a difference, build a better society and protect the vulnerable. We all need an inclusive and compassionate kind of politics, and strong communities, now more than ever.
Greens realise that fighting this crisis means developing an economy that works fairly for everyone, and we’ve got the ideas to make this happen. The Green Party have long been calling for a better-funded NHS and a basic income for everyone – to help stop anyone falling between the gaps in the benefits system and to reward unpaid caring work. We’ve also pushed for policies to give renters better rights and to support local businesses. At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, Greens called on the government to agree a Solidarity Pact to protect those most vulnerable – including a suspension of evictions and a freeze on rents for those who lose their incomes, making sure food reaches older or vulnerable people, proposals for support for small businesses, asking for a temporary basic income and an end to benefit waits and sanctions. We hope you will write to your MP asking them to support these measures. There are signs that the government may be beginning to take these ideas as seriously as they must, although it’s potentially concerning to see legislation tabled to alter statutory duties for care for vulnerable people.
Right now, we have to focus on the health and welfare of the public as number one priority. The postponement of May’s local elections means we can concentrate our efforts on helping in our communities on the ground. But Greens will not lose sight of a brighter future – with a more compassionate government, more funding for critical local and national services, and a safe environment for better health for everyone. Instead of spending billions to bail out the likes of multinational airlines which worsen climate breakdown, going forward we will need to be creating green jobs, and helping small businesses to recover. Now more than ever there is need to clamp down on air pollution, which worsens the impact of coronavirus. Doctors are telling us that the climate crisis is also a health crisis, so we must continue to press for urgent action on the climate and nature emergencies if we are to avoid more disease outbreaks and other natural disasters ahead. Our experience right now is showing us why that is so important.