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Merry Christmas from the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Party

Swale enters Tier 4 – the details from HM Government

Swale (as has the whole South East and London) has been put into Tier 4. These are the details:

Swale will be in Tier 3 after Dec 2

After national restrictions end on 2nd December Swale will be in the toughest category of Tier 3.
This means retail reopens, gyms reopen, and personal care services such as hairdressers and salons will reopen.

However, you cannot visit other people’s homes, pubs and restaurants will stay shut except for takeaway and indoor leisure will stay closed.
The rate of infection has decreased in the last week so please follow the rules to keep things going in this direction.

From Swale Borough Council:

The Government has announced that Swale will be placed in Tier 3 – Very High from Wednesday, 2 December. There is a guide to what this means on the website…/local-restriction-tiers-what-you… and the attached graphic summarises the main points.These include:• No meeting socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, including in private gardens or most outdoor venues• Not socialising in a group of more than 6 in other outdoor spaces – the rule of 6• Hospitality settings such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites and guest houses must close, with some exemptionsPlease see the website for the complete list of restrictions.Until 2 December, the existing national restrictions remain in place.

Labour Councillor Tony Winckless helps Milton residents with their Railway Noise Issue.

Local Residents with Tony at one of the unmanned crossing.

Tony met with local residents and the Press this week to pubilicise their campaign to reduce noise from the 2 unmanned crossings near their homes in Milton. The issue is that the train drivers have to sound their horns when approaching each crossing and some trains sound horns too long and at inappropriate times (after midnight, for example). Both Milton Councillors (Tony and Steve Davey) have written to South Eastern and have recieved a reply promising some reduction. The local residents are no organising an online petition to go to South Eastern to try to get a better resolution.

Statement by Swale Borough Council Leader, Labour Councillor Roger Truelove, on the Covid-19 Lockdown.

Press Statement from Leader of Swale Borough Council Roger Truelove:

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last message, and I’m pleased to see that the people of Swale have – with limited unfortunate exceptions – continued to observe the rules on staying at home and social distancing.

This is the most important thing we can all do to help bring this crisis to an end, and I hope we all continue to follow the guidance to say at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

It is now just over four weeks since we at the council began adjusting to the challenges brought about by the pandemic and by government expectations of the role we should play.

This has often been hectic and demanding and I want to repeat my thanks to our staff who have worked tirelessly over the past month.

I also want to pay tribute to the many volunteers in the community who are helping us to meet these challenges.

I would also like to thank my fellow councillors from all parties who are working with their local communities and coming together as a council.

Despite increased pressure, we are working hard to keep control of the increasing level of people presenting to us as homeless. Officers have been working to try to make sure no-one is sleeping rough on the borough’s streets.

Our community support hub is up and running to help those clinically extremely vulnerable people that the government has asked to shield themselves by self-isolating for 12 weeks. Most of these have a network of support that can help them remain safely at home by helping with things like shopping. For those that don’t, we can help them if they call us on 01795 417525.

We have now also made grants to local foodbanks and Citizens Advice Swale who are helping local people through difficult times, and we have brought forward our members grants scheme so that individual councillors can offer financial help to local community groups.

We have also contacted 2,600 local small businesses to help them apply for the grants of up to £25,000, and the first payments will be arriving in business accounts this week.

Our waste collection service is being maintained, and I am immensely grateful to the public for the support and understanding they are showing when there have been some delays. The wall covered in thank you messages at the depot shows the warm appreciation we all have for those who are continuing to collect our bins in difficult circumstances.

I know I speak for most of us when I offer my appreciation for the dedication of those working on the front line. Our health and social care workers, those who are working so hard in our supermarkets, delivery drivers, manufacturers, the list goes on. It is devastating when we hear stories of these good people being abused, through misunderstanding, ignorance or just plain jealousy.

It has never been more important to work with our partners – in the NHS, at Kent County Council and Kent Police – to keep people safe. The police were a tremendous help over the Easter weekend as we worked to discourage people from visiting our popular beaches and parks.

We are also receiving regular briefings from government ministers as they recognise the vital part being played by local councils in fighting back against this virus.

We are still a long way from winning this battle, and I know it’s incredibly hard for many.

Isolation, uncertainty and worry for the future are not uncommon. But among all this, I see incredible amounts of hope and reasons to be optimistic.

People are coming out of retirement to help the NHS and others are volunteering to help their neighbours and friends get food and supplies while they stay safe.

Parents are sharing ideas to help teach their children at home, and friends and relatives are checking in on each other to remind those that are isolating that they are not alone.

All the windows filled with children’s rainbows remind us that the sun can still shine, and the weekly clap for the NHS reconnects us with our friends and neighbours even though we must – for now – remain at a safe distance.

But, if we continue to do what we must, and remember why we are doing this – to stay safe, protect the NHS and save lives – we will, to quote The Queen, “meet again.”

Cllr Roger Truelove

Leader, Swale Borough Council