North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has sent an open letter to his constituents regarding coronavirus.
He urged all constituents to follow the health advice that has been given by the government and also said that it is important not to panic in the days that lie ahead.
His letter reads as follows: -
A number of businesses have been in contact with me directly about the coronavirus situation and in particular its impact on business and families.
You will no doubt already be well aware about the general health guidance. We must follow the scientific advice being delivered to us through the experts and via the machinery of government.
Obviously general cleanliness, regular washing of hands and social distancing are all part of that advice. As is protecting these in the most vulnerable groups.
It is important not to panic and to follow the guidance, not just the news reports as they can be confusing.
There are some who have been frightened by what appears to be contradictory advice, in many instances contradictory reports of advice and it is understandable why that confusion must be cleared up.
With regards to business this imposes great strains and concerns especially on cash flow and the ability to pay wages in such an uncertain economic climate.
As your Member of Parliament, I am taking the following actions to help bring some clarity to the situation for local employers and those in employment. I am meeting senior government Ministers and officials and asking for specific actions.
I want government to take immediate steps at both National and local level to reduce and delay payments of rates, VAT and other major payments including moving the rates calendar of payments to a period when businesses can function again normally.
These measures would permit cash flow in business and help sustain employment in the short to medium term.
With regards to HMRC it is important that they adopt a measure of “time to pay” that will remove financial strain from companies in the short term. Whilst we all know government must raise revenue we must ensure that there is a base in the economy that can actually pay. A short to medium term delay in payments to government can be managed and must be done.
I trust that these and other measures will help at what is a very difficult and uncertain time for the entire community.
My thoughts and prayers are with our nation at this time of national and indeed international crisis.
What is important is that those in the media and in politics who wish to accentuate difference and division put that pettiness aside and we unite as a people.