Displaying items by tag: Government
Pilgrim's Friends Society, which runs Christian care homes, said the government has been worse than neglectful in its care for elderly people for years. Successive governments have put the prospect of good social care plans in the 'too difficult to do' basket. The society was responding to a report which stated that the Government ignored care homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The evaluation of the readiness of the NHS and care homes for the Covid-19 crisis found they were just about able to cope, but it was a different story for adult social care. The report said, ‘Years of inattention, funding cuts and delayed reforms were compounded by slow, inconsistent and at times negligent government approaches to giving the support needed during the pandemic: discharging 25,000 patients from hospitals into care homes without making sure all were first tested for Covid-19, and continuing the patient moves even after it was realised that people could transfer the virus without ever having symptoms.’
MPs voted on 1 February 2018 to approve the renovation work at the Houses of Parliament, which will entail their moving out. The building is a safety risk for all those who work in it, and urgent action is needed. As well as the fire threat, it is vulnerable because of an antiquated sewage system and areas riddled with asbestos. Plans have been reviewed due to the impact of coronavirus on public finances. Although the move, if it happens, is expected to take place around 2025, we can pray for decisions being made now. Boris Johnson has suggested that Parliament could move to York while the Palace of Westminster undergoes renovation: see.
Research by Shelter shows 227,000 private renters in England have fallen behind on their rent, often as a result of job losses during lockdown. A March moratorium on eviction cases ahead of the coronavirus lockdown stopped people becoming homeless during the crisis. But this ends on 24 August, and landlords can seek possession of properties in the courts. Under the current court system, anyone accruing rent arrears of eight weeks or more can be automatically evicted, in addition to the risk of being subjected to a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction: landlords can evict tenants at short notice without a specified reason. Shelter warned, ‘Unless the government acts to protect renters in financial coronavirus difficulty, judges will be powerless to stop them from losing their homes once the ban lifts. Pray for landlords to have compassion for their furloughed tenants.’
45 days before the first coronavirus case was announced, a global health security index was published, showing how prepared countries were to tackle a serious pandemic outbreak. The USA was ranked best out of 195 nations. Days before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration urged his team to get ready for a pandemic that could be the worst since 1918. Warning of possible ventilator shortages, it stressed the importance of a coordinated response. However, the Trump team, ignoring the advice, shut down the White House office devoted to pandemic preparedness set up by Obama. On 18 January health secretary Alex Azar, a practising Christian, warned Trump of potential danger from the virus, but Trump called him an ‘alarmist’, saying it was just one person coming in from China. See
The prime minister's plan to spend £5 billion on rebuilding the economy after the coronavirus crisis has been met with scepticism by Rt Rev Martin Gorick, Bishop of Dudley. In a keynote speech in Dudley, Boris Johnson announced a new ‘opportunity guarantee’ to help the economy cope with the ‘aftershock’ of the coronavirus crisis. Bishop Martin said, ‘We need to pray not just for warm and expansive words, but we need to pray for cool calm thinking, planning and the real determination to deliver for the poorest communities, and especially for some of our young people.’ The Prime Minister acknowledged that it might seem premature to make a speech now about Britain after Covid, given events in Leicester, but said, ‘We cannot continue simply to be prisoners of this crisis. The country needs to be ready for what may be coming’.
A shopper grumbled while returning a loaf of bread to a rack - the price had jumped by a third. Nearby a half-mile queue of cars waited at an empty petrol station hoping for a delivery. Zimbabwe has an economic crisis. Basic goods prices rise weekly as the value of the Zimbabwean dollar tumbles. Inflation was 785.6% in April, and poverty is deepening. UN aid agencies reported that 7.7 million people, half of the population, require food assistance. A loaf of bread went up 36% last month, and last week a 22-pound sack of cornmeal jumped 30%. Fuel soared by 152% recently; a similar rise in 2019 sparked national demonstrations and deaths. ‘Things cannot continue this way. These people should just admit they have failed,’ said a Harare resident, referring to President Mnangagwa’s government which took power pledging to revive the economy. Pray for food aid to reach the hungry.
Boris Johnson has announced that the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will be merged. A new government department will be created. CSW is concerned as each department has a distinct, essential mandate. It said any proposed changes must not advance economic and security interests at the expense of poverty alleviation, humanitarian assistance, and the promotion of human rights The merger, to be made during a rise in global poverty caused by coronavirus and reconstituting the only department with a humanitarian focus, could be devastating. Another concern is that this announcement pre-empted the outcome of a defence, security and foreign policy review. CSW is urging the Government to await its conclusion before implementing any changes.
With effect from 4 July, where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, people should stay ‘one metre plus’. Churches may open for prayers, services, and weddings for a maximum of 30 people, subject to social distancing and no singing. Restaurants and pubs will offer hospitality with table service only and limited contact between staff and customers, who must give contact details on arrival. Hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites, and caravan parks can also reopen; people can stay away from home for the first time since March. Other restrictions for meeting indoors and outdoors are being eased, as long as businesses protect the public from risk of infection. Sadly thousands of sun-seekers flocked to the beach at Southend just one day after the announcement, completely disregarding all rules by sitting or standing close together on a packed beach. See
Our government has the responsibility to protect those in the health service risking their lives for our health. There are still doctors, nurses, care home workers, carers and others who do not have some essential personal protective equipment. Amnesty International say we are not safe until everyone is safe. Also migrant women who are victims of domestic abuse go without safety and healthcare. They are too scared to seek urgent medical care or help with safe housing, for fear of being reported to immigration authorities. Women’s Aid estimates that four out of five migrant women are turned away from refuges because they lack access to government support or funds. Pray for the Government to provide resources for everyone who needs them, no matter what their immigration status. Pray also for the police to catch the criminals stealing PPE to sell at inflated prices on the internet (see).
Faith leaders and the Government have met virtually and organised a ‘places of worship taskforce’ to determine a timeline for churches coming out of lockdown, including possibly allowing buildings to open at different times depending on their community and practice. Members of the group include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Imam Asim Yusef, Rajnish Kashyap from the Hindu Council UK, Jasvir Singh from City Sikhs and Daniel Singleton from Faith Action. They will consider whether forms of worship such as individual prayer might be permitted before they fully reopen.