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Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Migrant centre, free speech and Covid

PUBLISHED: 08:30 03 October 2020

One of the new aspects of lift we have become familiar with this year. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Images

One of the new aspects of lift we have become familiar with this year. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

They have the right to live and work in the UK but cannot claim benefits for themselves or their families.

Many people with NRPF have lost work due to the Covid-19 crisis, but without the safety net of benefits they face destitution and homelessness.

Hackney Migrant Centre (HMC) provides free legal advice and support to people who face problems due to their immigration status. Its case workers find solicitors to take on their cases and support people into more secure housing. Its volunteers help people access health and other services and provide practical, emotional and financial help to people with no other means of support. As a volunteer, I see how important HMC’s work is to many people in Hackney and beyond.

Hackney Migrant Centre urgently needs funds to continue this work. That is why I will be joining the London Legal Support Trust’s 10k Challenge and walking with Hackney Migrant Centre on Saturday, October 3 to raise money to support its services.

Your readers can support this vital work by sponsoring our team at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HackneyMigrantCentre20



The Tories, all through the Black Lives Matter summer of protest: “The left are against free speech and want to cancel culture and erase history”, writes Sasha Simic, Stoke Newington, full address supplied.

Boris Johnson, mid-way through September 2020: “Our country is a freedom-loving country.”

The Tories, at the end of September 2020: “English schools are banned from using anticapitalist material in teaching and anticapitalism is to be classified as an extreme political stance.”

Test and Trace has had a difficult start, but the launch of the new app will play a vital role in stopping the spread of the virus, writes Jennette Arnold, London Assembly member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

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With cases quickly rising across the capital, we are now at a crucial juncture and we need as many Londoners as possible to sign up to the app for it to work effectively.

Businesses also have a key part in this and must download and clearly display the NHS QR code in their premises.

In the meantime, it is important that the government are robustly held to account over their efforts to resolve the major issues we have recently seen with testing capacity.

We have lacked test information in London for weeks, which has caused huge worry for all of us in local and regional government, writes Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader and London mayor candidate.

The news that Public Health England has added London to its list of areas of concern, using estimates from other data, shows what a crucial time this is and how all our actions can make a difference.

The 10pm closing time for bars and restaurants has already led to crowded scenes on public transport that worry me greatly. My strong advice to Londoners is to avoid going out in the next few days unless you have to, and find other ways to see friends and family.

Like you, I am sad, tired and weary after six months of a gruelling national crisis but we’re in a dangerous moment, lacking data and tests, and we must work together as a city amid rising signs of infection.

I have called repeatedly for a universal and unconditional system of income support so that no-one needs to face a choice between poverty and taking risks with their health.

Over the coming days we can act, whether or not the government does. If you have a choice to reduce exposure or put off risky activities, it could make all the difference.


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