Saturday, 4 April 2020

Tory and Plaid leaders to join join coronavirus Cabinet team

I must say I was rather amused , with this headline fro the Left Foot Forward Blog

 Left-wing Welsh Labour invite Tories to join coronavirus Cabinet team

They begin by saying The Labour-led Welsh government have asked the Conservatives to join a key Cabinet group planning the administration’s coronavirus response.The move was announced on Wednesday by First Minister Mark Drakeford – a left-winger seen as an ally of Jeremy Corbyn.

I thunk those in Wales who have been under "Welsh" Labour  through the whole period of devolution would struggle to see any signs of Jeremy Corbyn's vision in the Welsh Government, which may be why he hardly mentioned  it whilst he was attacking the Scottish Government under the SNP which has been far more proactive on social issues.

Anyway they  go on
The Cabinet COViD group meets weekly, receiving reports of the latest developments from the chief medical officer, the chief executive of NHS Wales, the emergency co-ordinating centre and the Welsh Local Government Association. 
Indeed it is not actually a Cabinet   more of Council of State.
 In a statement, the First Minister told Assembly Members: “In recognition of the uniquely serious position we face, I have invited the leaders of the Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru to join that group. I’m very grateful to both Paul Davies and Adam Price for accepting that invitation.”Paul Davies AM – leader of the opposition Tories – told the chamber: “I’m of course happy to take part in these discussions…[though] should they interfere with the scrutiny of the Government’s work then I’ll have to reconsider my role in attending them.”
But it was ADam Price the Plaid leader , and for me the shrewdest inclusion who had the biggest say. 
Joining the team, Adam Price AM said the pro-independence Plaid Cymru would always seek to work “co-operatively and constructively with others” – particularly in a time of “unprecedented crisis”.
Mr Price said his membership of the group would be an “invaluable forum” for his party to raise “valid questions and real concerns” with the Welsh Government and would be offering “practical ideas and solutions” as well.
The Plaid Cymru Leader said this would not “hinder nor hamper” his nor his party’s ability to scrutinise but would “further facilitate” such scrutiny, adding that Plaid Cymru’s priority would always be the “well-being of the people of Wales” and ensuring the country overcome the crisis.
Of course this may be a ploy by Mr Drakeford  to mute criticism of his piss-poor  response to the current crisis , seemingly slowing themselves s to be bullied by Tory Ministers in Westminster , though it will be unlikely  both Paul Davies and especially Adam Price , ar unlikely going to be tied by collective cabinet responsibility 

For us LFF point out.
While the COVID Cabinet group does not have any formal voting powers, the move to involve other parties by Welsh Labour reflects the scale of the crisis.
There is a limit of 14 ministers written into the Government of Wales Act – meaning a formal ‘government of national unity’ in Wales would involve sacking Welsh Labour AMs to make way for a Conservative or Plaid Cymru member. Welsh government figures say it wouldn’t make any sense to have that upheaval during a crisis.
In awkward timing, Jeremy Corbyn has used his first ever Telegraph interview to urge the next Labour leader – widely tipped to be Keir Starmer on Saturday – not to join a national unity government amid the coronavirus crisis.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman responded to the Labour leadership vote closing, in response to a question from Left Foot Forward.
“The PM will want to have good and cooperative relationship with the leader of the opposition when they take up their post,” the PM’s spokesman said – noting that Labour worked closely with ministers on the emergency coronavirus legislation which was passed swiftly before recess.

With both Labour and the Liberal Democrats who have been somewhat leaderless , through out the crisis and the latter now delaying their contest for a year , even if they were to discount making political capital of the Westminster Governments equally piss-poor response , there seems  a reluctance to offer an alternative .

Here's hoping that who ever emerged as Labour leader this afternoon will put together a team that is prepared to point out the failings of Prime Minister Johnson especially in the regards to testing and protecting those on the front line with Personal Protection Equipment.

Like the Welsh Labour Government , the Westminster Government. to which it seems in thrall , need to take a leaf out of Ms Sturgeon in Scotland and provide not just slogans but proactive leadership.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Lying, incompetent or duped?

It seems that  either the Welsh Government are Lying, incompetent or have been duped..

Wales Online report that.

Pharmaceutical giant Roche has flatly refuted a claim by Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford in the Senedd that it had struck a deal to supply Wales with Covid-19 tests.During the plenary session on Wednesday, which was conducted on the Zoom live video-calling system, Mr Drakeford named the multi-national Swiss pharma firm and insisted Wales 'did have a deal' with them.Yet Roche issued a statement afterwards to "maintain Roche never had a contract or agreement with Wales to supply testing for Covid-19".The confusion emerged as Plaid continued to put pressure on Mr Drakeford and health minister Vaughan Gething over why Wales had not been able to obtain more testing capacity itself.The first testing lab in Wales will come on stream on Monday next week as part of a deal with Roche brokered by the UK Government and covering all four nations of the UK.Whitehall sources previously told Sky News that Whitehall had taken charge after a row between England and Wales over the tests.During the plenary session, Mr Drakeford said: ""So, we did have a deal; it was a deal that we had; it was with Roche. We believe that it was a deal that ought to have been honoured."A spokeswoman from Roche Diagnostics said: “We maintain that Roche never had a contract or agreement directly with Wales to supply testing for COVID-19."Our absolute priority and focus at this time is to support the UK Government and NHS to scale up testing across the whole of the UK, including in Wales."As part of the centralised roll-out of testing, we will continue to speak to colleagues at Public Health Wales to move this forward as quickly as possible."
Though it seems that the responsibility for overseeing the production and distribution of testing kits to Public Health England for the whole of the UK.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price told WalesOnline that the Welsh Government should publish the written agreement between themselves and the company.
He said: "As the Government and the company are at loggerheads ministers should now publish the written agreement and explain the circumstances in which the deal collapsed. Nothing short of full disclosure will resolve the issue which has already negatively impacted Wales’s ability to test at an increased rate."In a statement he added: "Transparency is crucial in any democracy – particularly during a time of crisis. We therefore welcome the First Minister’s admission today that it was indeed the company Roche who were behind the collapsed deal to supply five thousand additional Covid-19 tests per day to Wales.
“However, we still don’t know why the deal collapsed in the first place. It is in the public interest that the Welsh Government and Roche tell us what exactly happened to make the agreement fail.
“We were told that starting today we’d be conducting six thousand tests per day. But because the deal fell through, only 1,100 tests will now be done a day – a loss of 5,000 tests. That’s a scandal."Health Secretary Vaughan Gething had previously refused to name the company with whom the deal had collapsed.In a statement a Welsh Government spokesman said: “Our absolute focus is on increasing the number of tests to protect frontline key workers and the most vulnerable and stop the spread of the virus. All home nations are working at a UK level to share best practice, work up solutions and to validate new tests. Decisions on procurement will be informed by this process.”

The Welsh Labour Government have not come out of this well  even if emerged that they  had a deal and written contract with Roche, it appears that they are so powerless that there is probably be unable to do anything about it.

I doubt that such a deal with the Scottish Government  would have been broken, partly because Scotland has far more powers than Wales and above all a separate legal system.

Could it be that Roche , did not fully recognise that they were dealing with a legislature and not simply a part of the Westminster government.

Some might see this as an argument to abolish the Senedd, and let's face it iis a question we will need to answer.

But to me it shows that unless Wales get parity with Scotland , then we are going nowhere  when it comes to dealing with International firms, who seem to not fully recognise we exist.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

March Fools

Why if it has been played as a patsy by the Westminster Government or rather the English arm of the NHS, do not the Labour Welsh Government  open  up about it.

Wales Online report  that
The Welsh Government is facing questions after it failed to deliver a deal it promised for 5,000 coronavirus tests a day in Wales.
On Saturday, health minister Vaughan Gething admitted that an agreement it had drawn up for 5,000 extra testing kits a day had fallen through.
Mr Gething said at the time it was "disappointing" that a company the Welsh Government had a written agreement with was "not able to honour that agreement".
Pharmaceutical giant Roche is understood to be the supplier but denied in a statement ever having had a deal with Wales. It said: “Roche does not have, and has never had, a contract or agreement directly with Wales to supply testing for Covid-19. Roche has an agreement only with the UK Government to increase testing capacity across the whole of the UK. The UK-wide roll-out is b
eing coordinated centrally by Public Health England, including Wales.”
Though there has been some unsubstantiated claims  it was Perkin Elmer who have a plant in Llantrisant , but they would have had to have another reason to pull out
This centrally-coordinated deal will involve England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is likely to see fewer tests initially available in Wales.

Whitehall sources told Sky News that Roche appeared to want to prioritise the bigger of two orders - one requested by the NHS in England.
Mr Gething has admitted that from this week, the testing capacity would be only be 1,100 tests instead of 6,000.
Mr Gething said that from mid-April another 4,000 antigen tests would be used in Wales every day as part of a "four-nation deal" announced by the UK Government involving Thermo Fisher Scientific, Amazon, Boots, Royal Mail and Randox.
There remain questions about what the deal was, who was involved and how it collapsed.
On Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government "believed we had an agreement that should have been honoured".
The following day, his health minister Vaughan Gething said that deal falling through was having a major impact on testing.
He told the daily press conference the hope had been there would be "about" 6,000 tests a day in Wales from April 1 but because a deal fell through the testing level is now 1,100.

 The Welsh Government has refused to name the company but said there was a "clear agreement" for the unnamed company to "come in to Wales to set up the infrastructure required".Mr Gething said there was a written "exchange and agreement for a team to come into Wales" to improve testing capacity however, he said the company were unable to fulfil their agreement.He said he would not be commenting at this time on what had happened: "Our focus has got to be on providing more routes and tests that we have got."We've diversified the people were working with, the offers of help we've had from different organisations including the university sector and the NHS."You will see an increase."But those tests we were due to have would have made an earlier difference for us."My time right now has to be on getting things right for today and tomorrow and the big challenge we know is coming through the doors of our health and social care system here in Wales."The company themselves, made a decision they weren't able to agree with us."Roche said: "Our company has long been a trusted partner to the NHS, working to transform healthcare for patients."We are currently working in partnership with Public Health England to scale up clinical testing for COVID-19 throughout the UK. A new Roche Diagnostics test is being piloted at two hospital trusts while wider plans are designed and developed for roll-out across the country, including in Wales."The roll-out of this additional testing is being, and has always been, co-ordinated by Public Health England and there has never been a separate agreement for Wales.
Nation Cymru add that.. 
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price has called on the Welsh Government to be “honest” about why the agreement between themselves and an unnamed private supplier to provide an extra 5,000 Covid-19 tests a day collapsed.The Welsh Government said it was “disappointing” that the company had not been able to honour a “written agreement”.But Adam Price said it “beggared belief” that the Welsh Government was refusing to say why the deal collapsed or who the company was.Mr Price said it was in the “public interest” for the Welsh Government to be honest with the public and to “provide urgent answers” on what happened and why.Plaid Cymru said some sources had suggested the UK Government was part of the reason the deal collapsed.“Having blamed a company for failing to deliver on a vital agreement to provide an extra five thousand Covid-19 tests, it beggars belief that the Welsh Government is refusing to say why the deal collapsed and who the company was – especially if the actions of the UK Government scuppered the deal as some sources have suggested,” Adam Price said.“It is in the public interest for the Welsh Government to be honest with the public and to provide urgent answers about what happened – and why.“We were assured by Vaughan Gething that by tomorrow six thousand tests would be done per day. Now, because the deal fell through, we’re looking at only 1,100 tests being done a day. Wales will be even further behind on vital testing than we already were. Precious time has been lost and countless lives may now be at greater risk.“Testing is one of the best weapons we have to defeat this pandemic by tracking and tracing the spread of the virus, and ensuring frontline health and care workers are protected and can go back to work.“The Welsh Government shouldn’t be ‘disappointed’, they should be furious
Amongst all this a hero has emerged in an Aberystwyth Teenager Lloyd who has provided us with daily updates and who has put our own Government to shame..
With Coronavirus deaths in the area of the Anurian Bevan Health Board 'mirror those in Italy' as a huge spike in numbers makes the Welsh region the UK's worst hotspot after London. Can  we trust Public Health "England" to coordinate testing

This means it has the highest concentration of confirmed Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people outside London, The Times reports. 

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board should be prioritised for testing , but it seems that the Welsh Governemnt have been prevented from seeking to do , by their London Masters
They were taken for March Fools and tghe peoplke of Wales deserve better.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Tesco ET AL should prioritise delivery spots for elderly and vulnerable.

Last week i tweeted this

As Tesco, ASDA etc Home Deliveries now have full delivery spots . They should reserve slots some for those on high risk who have been ordered to stay at home. Proof can be shown on delivery.

It seems that I might have underestimated the problem

Wales Online report that.

Vulnerable people have criticised the Welsh and UK Governments as they cannot access an online register service to allow them to register for priority supermarket delivery slots.The UK Government has created an online register so people can register to say they need extra help during the coronavirus outbreak. Yet people in Wales cannot register.
With click and collect and online delivery slots in short supply, the register is being used by supermarkets to prioritise those who are classed as "extremely vulnerable".It is open to those elderly people and those with underlying health conditions who were advised to stay in their homes and avoid face-to-face contact for 12 weeks before lockdown was brought in.A spokesman for the Welsh Government told us that vulnerable people here would be able to request a free weekly food box from their local authority.But we were contacted by the carer of a six-year-old with leukemia who explained why being able to access priority supermarket delivery slots was also important and urged the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to ensure people here can access the register.The family, who asked not to be identified, would qualify if they lived in England."There is no opportunity for Welsh patients to get on that list. There is no register here and no where to ask for help from. Online shopping has disappeared," they said."These patients are so vulnerable they might not survive coronavirus."They would also put a massive pressure on the NHS if they did become infected. For their benefit and the benefit of the country they have been told to stay in for 12 weeks with no plans to help or support them. In some areas they are locked inside their homes literally frightened for their lives."
Clearly we need a register  , in Wales or use of the one that is seemingly only avilable in England, but it may be useful, to inquire how effective it is working across the boarder
Philip Pearce from Bridgend told BBC Wales: "It's ridiculous. How am I meant to get my shopping delivered now? I have always had it delivered but now I'm expected to pick it up. This can't be right."Age Cymru said it was "vital" for people in Wales to be able to sign up.Its chief executive Victoria Lloyd said: "Many older people have told us that they have to wait for up to three weeks for a delivery while others were simply thrown out of the registration process.Retired nurse Beverly Harrison-Wood, 63, from Cardigan, Ceredigion, told BBC Wales the earliest delivery slot she has been offered with any of the major supermarkets was mid-April.Mrs Harrison-Wood, who has rheumatoid arthritis, lives with her husband, 69, and her 85-year-old mother, said they had about a week's worth of food left.She said: "There's no chance at all of getting a delivery..."Unfortunately we can't [sign up for priority] as it's available to England but not to Wales, which is annoying."Grace Gardener@gardenerinwales
How do I register my 91 yr old dad as a vulnerable person in Wales? Why is it different here? This is no time for devolution. One nation the UK should act as one. @AthertonNWales @BBCWales @fmwales @AndrewRTDavies499:02 AM - Mar 26, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy54 people are talking about thisWe have repeatedly asked the Welsh Government what their plans to help these people are.The response on Monday was that people who have been identified as extremely vulnerable can get council support.A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "From tomorrow (31 March), all those people who have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer asking them to shield themselves for 12 weeks because they are extremely vulnerable, will be able to request a free weekly food box delivery from their local authority, if they do not have support from friends or family."

In an updated statement, they added: “The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs met representatives from the retail sector again today to discuss a range of issues, including the support they will be able to provide as the pandemic continues.“Retailers have committed to continue to work with the Welsh Government, including prioritising food supplies for people who are shielding, the elderly, other vulnerable people and our NHS and care workers, as well as providing extra support for food banks.”In Scotland, advice and contact details are available to "arrange for food and medicine deliveries, and other support services".
Frankly I son't see why my original idea , of prioritising Time Slots could not be brought in, without a bureaucratic system as I said proof of prioritycould be made on delivery. 

However it must be remembered many of the elderly and vulnerable may not have ONLINE Access and I wonder how they are coping.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Nicola Sturgeon has a net score of +54 , Boris +17 for their handling of the virus.

Despite the Salmond trial  and infighting over when to call the Second Independence referendum (although the coronarvirus may have ended an immediate poll) The SNP are set to win a record number of seats in the next Holyrood elections according to the latest opinion poll.
The Panelbase study for the Sunday Times predicts Nicola Sturgeon is on course to lead her party to a landslide with 70 seats.
Such a result would give the SNP a clear mandate to demand that Tory leader Boris Johnson allow another independence referendum and set up a potential constitutional crisis with the Prime Minister having vowed not to sanction IndyRef2.

The constituency forecasts puts the SNP on a thumping 51 per cent with the Conservatives in second place and unchanged since the last poll in November on 26 per cent.
Support for the Labour party in Scotland has slumped five points to 14 per cent.
The survey has the Lib Dems on six per cent – down two per cent – and the Greens on three per cent – up one per cent.
The regional vote also shows rising support for the SNP with the party up 10 per cent to 48 per cent, the Tories unchanged on 26 per cent, Labour on 13 per cent, and both the Lib Dems and Greens on six per cent.
If the figures were repeated at the election in May 2021 the SNP would get one more seat than they managed in their historic 2011 victory that saw the party form the first ever majority Government at Holyrood.
The poll of 1023 people - which took place between March 24 and 26 - shows a small increase in support for independence with 49 per cent saying they would vote Yes, an increase of two per cent.
The looming threat of Brexit and Sturgeon’s leadership during the coronavirus crisis appears to have helped boost the SNP numbers with the party leader rated as having a net score of +54 for her handling of the pandemic while Johnson was +17 and Donald Trump -55.
I suspect a diffrent picture in Wales with the Senedd  not being seen as proactive as Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister all but  invisible partly due to being ignored by the London media' including the BBC.
A situation which will get worse a sthe BBC Breakfast program drops the short input from BBC Wales.
A situation whih will not improve as the BBC drops breakfast local news bulletins.
The decision clearly has come from the HQ and BBC Cymru/Wales have no say in it .
But to be honest the Welsh Labour Government have not helped the situation by its failure to even be seen to provide the leadership Ms Sturgeon has given in Scotland.
Following the UK government lead may be the easy options , but I for one do not have faith in the Boris Johnson Government , whose slow response and failure to seek cooperation with the European Union is making the crisis worse. 

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Are Unionists using the coronavirus crisis to damage devolution settlement.

One of the first things this Blog relies on when I start writing it in the morning about 6-7 is the regular Welsh News segment on the BBC Breakfast program .

So it was disturbing to read this on Nation Cymru

The BBC has been criticised after announcing that breakfast news bulletins from BBC Wales would no longer be shown on BBC One.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said the decision was “shocking” and needed to be “overturned immediately”.
BBC Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies, however, defended the decision, saying audience figures were higher in the afternoon and tough decisions needed to be made given depleted staff numbers.
The BBC also announced that they would be broadcasting the Welsh Government’s daily news conference live on BBC One Wales, from Monday 30 March.
The daily press conferences – between 12.30 and 1pm – are convened for the First Minister, Ministers and Public Health professionals to update on the current Coronavirus situation.
Health is a devolved issue in Wales meaning that the response to the coronavirus pandemic is being spearheaded by the Welsh Government
“The announcement that breakfast news bulletins from Wales will no longer be included on BBC One Wales is shocking,” Adam Price said.
“The lack of coverage of our country by British broadcasters is already an issue without this during the COVID-19 crisis. The decision needs to be overturned immediately.”
BBC Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies, however, wrote on Twitter that they were being forced to cut back because of the coronavirus forcing staff into self-isolation.
“Hundreds of my colleagues are working incredibly hard to sustain programming round the clock in the most challenging conditions we’ve ever faced,” he said.
“Each day they deliver 14 hours of live news across radio and tv in two languages – and full online services. I’m proud of them all.
“Staffing levels at the BBC have been affected across the UK, and we have to make hard calls about priorities. The audiences at 1.30, 6.30 and 10.30 are significantly higher.”
The announcement comes as BBC Wales sees unprecedented demand for its news output. More than 700,000 viewers are tuning into BBC Wales Today each day with the Newyddion team on S4C also attracting their biggest audiences of the year., the corporation said.

 Fifteen Welsh Labour MPs are urging UK ministers to state clearly when measures to deal with the coronavirus crisis apply to England only.
They warn "mixed messages" could mean people lose confidence in their actions and refuse to comply with their advice.
In a letter, the MPs highlight "confusion" over a business rates plan that did not specify Welsh ministers would have their own programme.
The UK government said it was working closely with ministers in Wales.
The letter, to the prime minister, was co-ordinated by Labour MP Chris Bryant.
They describe similar problems with an England-only NHS volunteering scheme.
It says many people have been left feeling "angry, anxious and exasperated" during the pandemic by the handling of some announcements.
Other signatories to the letter include Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi, Newport West MP Ruth Jones and Mark Tami, who represents Alyn and Deeside.
They write that they "warmly welcomed" the chancellor's announcement that tens of thousands of retail, leisure and hospitality firms would not pay business rates in the coming year.
But they say
 "at no point in his announcement did he make it clear that this was an England-only policy because business rates are devolved".
"As soon as the Welsh Government had clarity from the chancellor about additional funding for a scheme in Wales, the Welsh Government put in place a virtually identical policy, but it would have been better if this was clarified from the beginning," the MPs say.
"The same is true of the NHS volunteering scheme. We welcome it but we note that it never states that it is an England-only scheme, so constituents have been perplexed when they have tried to sign up."
The MPs warn: "The real danger is that such mixed messages mean people lose confidence in government's actions and refuse to comply with government advice."
I wonder however if there is a felling among Labour Unionist that this an opportunity to reverse the devolution settlemeny

LABOUR has called for the UK Government to ignore the devolution settlement and cut out the Scottish Government when tackling the coronavirus.

Speaking at Scottish Questions, Chris Elmore, the Labour whip, said funding for tackling Covid 19 should instead go direct to local councils.

The MP for Ogmore, who was standing in for the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, made the point during Wednesday's Scottish Questions in the Commons.

Elmore said: “The coronavirus has shown that local services have been decimated by the Scottish Government. They've passed on four times the austerity to local councils that they have received themselves.

“Would you agree with me that any additional budget resourcing should be passed to Scottish local councils to help bolster already under pressure local services?”

It was left to Alister Jack, the Tory Secretary of State for Scotland, to remind the Labour frontbencher of how devolution works.

Jack said: “Well, I do absolutely agree with him, but I must say, we've given an extra £2.7 billion in funding for Covid 19, over and above the budget measures announced this year. First of all an extra £1.3 billion in the comprehensive spending review then another £640 million followed on from that.

“And I think you're absolutely right. However, I have to stress that that is a matter for the Scottish Government under the devolution settlement.”

It is a exasperating to see on the above program that "Health Secretary Matt  Hancock "has  said he had also tested positive while for the virus along Boris Jounson with when he is only responsible for England.

Elmore  was presumably stating Labour Party Policy and whilst it is too early to come up with a conspiracy theory, among the Unionists and Westminster and Medium , they are clearly damaging the efforts of the Senedd simply by ignoring it 

I also find it For some reason the news that the Senedd’s  (Presiding) Officer) Llywydd Elin Jones has tested positive with coronavirus after ‘mild’ symptoms – and has told anyone with similar symptoms to self-isolate, has not been extensively covered by even the Welsh media let alone the UK .

Friday, 27 March 2020

The Financial aid to those affected with the crisis needs to cut the bureaucracy.

When I first heared that Universal Credit s a United Kingdom social security payment that was designed to simplify the benefits system . I thought that it was good idea

 It was to is replace and combining six benefits for working-age people who have a low household income: income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, and Income SupportChild Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit; and Housing Benefit.

But I also thought that it could help those like myself at the time who was moving from jobseekers allowance  and sickness benefit  and back as I had two major operations within a year to remove a tumour on my pituitary organ which whilst not Brain Surgery was pretty damn closee.

I involve a long time on the phone  giving the same information again and again  and then claiming Council Tax benefit again .

SO it thought Universal Credit great it wil mean just a simple change at my local jobcentre.

I never did go on to Universal Credit as I reached pensionable age before it was introduced in my region, but i understand that the bureaucracy is even worse.

Now we have thousands of people because of the coronavirus , either finding themselves unemployed, moving back into employment with a diffrent employer, or worse getting sick.

To be fair Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined a number of measures to aid those who have found themselves with no or much less  income , but  we already know that many are experiencing problems , when ringing to make such a claim, and many may not have access to claim online  and now with the likes of Libaries closing have no alternative outlet.

It is important that we cut the bureaucracy for those making a claim even if it sees a minority cheating the system.

These are unknown and dark times , hopefully we will pull through not only healthwise but financially as well.