Schools are now thankfully back in action, but I want to take a moment to thank every single teacher in The Two Cities who have done an amazing job over the challenging past few weeks in keeping our children learning. I recently joined Hampden Gurney pupils for a virtual Q&A - and boy did they put me through my paces!
This Thursday (4th March 2021) is World Book Day - which is all about encouraging children (and adults) to read. In this episode I'm joined by Cassie Chadderton who is the Chief Executive of this important initiative, and David Shelley who heads up leading UK publishing group Hachette UK. We discuss our favourite reads, why it's never too late to pick up a book, and why the UK excels in publishing.
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) recently published a report that found 57% of black, Asian and minority ethnic people said they would take a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 79% of white people. One reasons for this is a number of rumours being spread about the vaccine within some BAME communities. I recently sat down with representatives from the Bengali community in Pimlico to discuss the vaccine and the rumours being spread about it..
London’s hospitals are under a lot of pressure from Covid right now. One of the Capital's hospitals for instance normally has 44 intensive care beds - today they are ventilating over 120 patients. Jeremy Cordingley, a consultant in intensive care medicine works at St Bartholomew’s Hospital - he joins me in this episode to explain what they’re dealing with. We can help them by staying at home.
Central London is struggling without its office workers supporting their coffee shops, sandwich bars, pubs and theatres. People need to feel safe using public transport and we need to encourage them back to work even if it’s for part of the week. I brought together some of our major employers in the City and the West End, who between them have tens of thousands of staff, and we discussed practical solutions. Thanks to Linklaters, Landsec, Hippodrome, Brookfield, British Land and New West End Company for taking part.
Our fantastic and vibrant city of London needs all the support it can get from visitors and returning workers as it gradually recovers. Joining me to discuss the Central London economy are: Sir Nick Kenyon from the Barbican Centre, Ruth Duston from Cheapside Business Alliance, and Gareth Banner who runs the Ned in Poultry (where we record this episode).
Covid has put our theatres and cultural venues in a perilous position. As things stand, 70 per cent of theatres and cultural venues will run out of cash by the end of the year. If these theatres and venues do not survive, the entire West End ecosystem is at risk of collapse. Theatres bring in visitors who stay in hotels, visit bars, eat at restaurants and go shopping. In this episode, I'm joined by the Royal Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, Society of London Theatre, UKHospitality, and Heart of London Business Alliance - and together we've drawn up a West End recovery plan.
Did you know 98 per cent of businesses in the City are small and medium sized firms? They, along with the banks and larger companies, are going to be crucial in leading the whole of the UK to recovery once we beat this pandemic. Pleased to be joined by Catherine McGuinness from the City of London Corporation to discuss this and more. Once again, please forgive the sound quality as I’m recording these remotely to keep everyone safe at this time.
I’m proud to see Westminster pulling together to look after vulnerable and isolated people as we get through this horrific COVID-19 crisis. I’m pleased to be joined by Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster Council, to discuss some of the challenges the community is facing - as well as how you can get involved in the huge volunteering effort. Forgive the audio quality, these episodes are being recorded remotely to keep everyone safe and we are getting the info out in as real time as possible.
Did you know we only test our newborn babies for 9 diseases in the UK, compared to 30, 40 or even 50 diseases in countries like Italy, Portugal and America? We are lagging behind - and if we don't act now, we risk our children becoming the sick kids of Europe, at risk of severe disability or even death. Join me as I talk to Georgina Morton from Archangel MLD trust and Bobby Gaspar, Professor of Paediatrics and Immunology at UCL about what we need to do.