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Updates on this weeks stories

January 13, 2021 7:04 PM

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1 Foreign workers in the NHS

On Monday we brought you the news that Christine Jardine's Private Member's Bill to give NHS workers the right to remain in the UK. https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2021/1389429/help-foreign-nhs-staff

Sadly, today, the Tories killed that hope by cancelling all sitting Fridays until the end of March and with it debate on all private members bills.

Christine's Bill proposed that all health and social care staff from outside the EU would be granted indefinite leave to remain, enabling them to avoid the hellscape that is our immigration system and granting them rights enjoyed by British citizens.

Christine ( pictured above) vowed to fight on, though:

Like the rest of our wonderful NHS and care staff, hundreds of thousands of people from other countries are on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic, putting themselves in harm's way to make sure we get the care we need.

The UK should say, loudly and unequivocally, that those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it. That's what my Bill would do, and I am deeply disappointed that the Government is not even letting it be debated in Parliament.

I am not giving up. I will urge Ministers again to make Government time available to pass this urgent legislation, which has cross-party support.

The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.

As Christine pointed out, the Government could make this change at the drop of a hat. But a Home Office run by Priti Patel is unlikely to do so.

2 Free school meals see https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2021/1389488/are-we-really-the-worlds-5th-richest-country

The government has been forced into a U-turn over free school meal provision during lockdown, and it has emerged that its guidance on what should be in food parcels is strikingly similar to images circulating on social media that the prime minister described as "unacceptable".

Guidance written by the Department for Education suggests "general principles for putting together" parcels, and according to Labour it bears close resemblance to images seen on social media,

Guidance issued last Friday "strongly encouraged" schools to adopt a "food parcel first approach". It insisted this should be the approach at schools where kitchens were open, adding there were "significant benefits" to offering food parcels, including "the confidence that a nutritious and varied range of food is being provided".

New guidance issued on Wednesday morning, however, removes all mention of a "food parcel first approach" and says "schools have the freedom to decide on the best approach for their pupils", including lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher schem