Coronavirus edition: community petition delivered to parliament 
10 July 2020 

Community petition presented in parliament

Last Tuesday was an important day for the town when a small number of us took your community petition from Luton to the heart of government in London where it was delivered to local MP, Rachel Hopkins, who presented it on your behalf to Parliament.

The petition, calling on the government to support the council by providing emergency funding of £50m to make up for the devastating loss of income from the airport which funds vital services across Luton, was organised by Fiona Martin and had accumulated over 10,000 signatures.

Fiona, who works for local organisation the Luton Irish Forum which receives funding from the council’s airport company, said: “This isn’t about the politics, we provide vital services to the most vulnerable, this is about how we can best protect and support our people. Today our voices will be heard, it shows if we work together we can make things happen.”

Fiona’s petition shows that the grass roots people of Luton care deeply about this town and recognise that without this money they are the ones who will suffer. 

The next day, Rachel Hopkins also raised the issue of emergency funding for Luton in Prime Minister’s Questions, ensuring pressure is maintained on central government and bringing our situation to an even wider audience.

A reminder of Luton’s coronavirus guidelines

With government guidelines changing frequently it is as important as ever to remind you that Luton still has a higher infection rate than many other areas which is why we provide local guidance. We all have a part to play in combatting the disease so please follow the guidance, have a test and self-isolate, if necessary. 

Public Health experts in Luton are still recommending you:
  • stay at home as much as possible
  • if meeting up with others, do so outside
  • keep a 2 metre distance from people outside of your household at all times
  • wash your hands regularly
  • get tested and self-isolate if you have any coronavirus symptoms, however mild

Local outbreak control plan

Sadly, the town of Leicester has been in the news because of a surge in coronavirus cases resulting in specific lockdown measures. Here in Luton we have prepared a rigorous plan to protect the health and wellbeing of our population by preventing and managing transmission and outbreaks of COVID-19 within the town.

It has been developed and will be delivered in close partnership with our communities.  Among the aims of the plan include preventing the transmission of Covid-19 by providing easy to access testing and engaging with local communities.

You can view a summary of the plan here.

The plan is based on the following principles
  • the needs of the community
  • focused on prevention
  • delivered through community engagement
  • engages Luton-wide and across wider partners
  • managed with local resources and knowledge

Of course it is our earnest hope that by adhering to the guidelines and taking care to adopt social distancing measures, the very highest standards of hygiene and self-isolation when appropriate, that we never have to put the plan into practice, but we are grateful to those partners and experts who have prepared it for our protection.

Glass collections

We are pleased to say we have begun glass collections again, but this is now on a 4-weekly basis. To check when your glass bin will be collected go to our bin collection day page on the website or go to your app store and search “Luton bins”.

We appreciate that many of you will have built up a backlog of glass over the period of lockdown so please bear with us if we cannot collect everything you put out and try and save it for our next visit. Alternatively you can take it to one of our tidy tips or to the nearest bottle bank.

Financial grants for young people

Perhaps now more than ever it is vital to help the young people of this town as they plan for their futures post-coronavirus.

The Rotary Youth Trust for Luton is able to give awards to young people to help them with their careers or to realise their ambitions within the spheres of culture, education or sport. In these difficult and challenging times support for the young people of the Borough of Luton is even more important.

If you know, or are yourself a young person, they would love you to apply for an award. Follow this link for full details and the application form.

Emergency budget

On Tuesday 14 July the council will be holding a meeting to agree the emergency budget we unfortunately have had to prepare due to loss in income from the airport and the failure of government to respond to our pleas for help.

Councillors are regrettably looking at approving £22m worth of service cuts that will affect each and every one of us in the town.

The meeting can be followed by the public live on Skype for the many of you who wish to watch this important meeting. You can also read the documents beforehand to gain a fuller grasp of the choices facing your elected councillors. 

Please be assured that we will continue to make the voice of Luton heard in government and whatever the outcome, we will do all we can to protect the vulnerable and needy of our town.

Have a great weekend.
Hazel Simmons, Leader Luton Council