An open letter to the Prime Minister
Date Posted: Monday 23rd March 2020
Saturday 21st March 2020
Dear Prime Minister,
We write to you now, at the most pressing and urgent time within our living memories and with our responsibilities as frontline and supporting Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Our service users are amongst the poorest and least heard, many living hand to mouth and just about managing. The impact of the Coronavirus on the economy and social infrastructure is set to threaten these people with destitution, hunger and homelessness if not death, and that includes their children.
As you are aware those that are in insecure employment, self-employed, working in the care sector and other industries will be particularly vulnerable to the impact on the economy of the virus and we urge you to take remedial action to ensure basic income is provided to all.
In addition, women are predicted to bear the brunt of the downward spiral of our economy because they are over represented amongst particularly at risk parts of the workforce. It is also acknowledged that domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence will reach unprecedented numbers, with predictions estimating a rise of two to threefold.
Our Civil Society sector is at the forefront of supporting those in most need and working at double the pace to ensure transition to working from home for our staff is completed efficiently and effectively so that those who depend upon us are not left without a safety net.
Our CSOs are reporting immense strain, operationally and financially. We urge you to make available immediately, emergency funds for our sector to shore up our work and ensure local vulnerable families and communities do not lose the only safety net many of them have.
We commend the recently announced emergency fund in London and we need you, our Prime Minister, to do this too.
We are at the service of the poorest and most in need people in our country and we must be included in the emergency measures taken so that millions of Britons are not forgotten at this time of national emergency.
We appreciate that like the rest of our population, Parliamentarians are too under enormous pressure, and we understand that the current and ensuing emergency requires a whole country approach if we are to avoid disastrous and long lasting negative consequences.
We ask that you meet with us, by whatever appropriate means given the need for social distancing, to discuss how to implement a community emergency rescue plan for our local specialist civil society organisations.
Vivienne Hayes MBE, Women’s Resource Centre
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor (London), Policing and Crime
Baljit Banga, Imkaan
Dr Mary Ann Stephenson, Women’s Budget Group
Debra Allcock Tyler, Directory of Social Change
Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust
Tebussum Rashid, Black Training and Enterprise Group
Jo Todd, Respect
Eleanor Lisney, Sisters of Frida
Rose Ssali, SAWN & Mama Health and Poverty Partnership
Stef Martinsen, Barker Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre
Rosie Lewis, Angelou Centre
Cherifa Atoussi, Account 3
Toni Meredew, Women’s Development Trust
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Surviving Economic Abuse
Nicki Norman, Women’s Aid Federation of England
Karen Ingala Smith, nia
Dawn Jeffery, Welsh Women’s Aid
Gurpreet Virdee, Women and Girls Network
Shani Lee, London VAWG Consortium
Heidi Riedel, Woman’s Trust
Sawsan Salim Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation
Tracey Ford, JAGS
Sarah Hughes, Women’s Homelessness Expert
Nina Kelly, Strategic Communications Consultant
Beatrix Campbell OBE, Writer and Broadcaster
Eddie Lockhart, LGBT Community Organiser
Guy Shone, Explain the Market and Broadcaster
Sara Kirkpatrick, Respect
Amrit Wilson, Feminist Activist and Writer
Gita Sahgal, Human Rights Advocate
Ranjit Kaur, Women’s Rights Campaigner and Author
Annette Lawson, OBE Judith Trust and NAWO
Kathleen Moss, ACMA, CGMA
Jonathan Cooper OBE, Barrister
Alex Delaney, ROSA the UK fund for Women and Girls
Caroline Macdonald, OggaDoon PR and Media, West of England LEP Low Carbon Sector Group
Dr Sue Robson, Women’s Rights Activist
Cris McCurley, Lawyer and Partner Ben Hoare Bell
Professor Aisha Gill, EVAW and Professor of Criminology University of Roehampton
Professor Rosie Campbell, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and Professor of Politics Kings College
Dr Leonie Maria Tanczer, International Security and Emerging Technologies, Department of STeaPD UCL
Dr Fiona Vera-Gray, Assistant Professor Department of Sociology Durham University
Yvonne Field, Ubele
Kate Paradine, Women In Prison
Lisa Johnson, Women’s Aid Federation of England
Donna Covey CBE, AVA
Gisela Valle, Latin American Women’s Rights Service
Rena Sodhi, London Black Women’s Project
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society