SKIPTON MP Julian Smith is calling on people to pull together during 'the biggest health challenge our country has faced in a century'.

Mr Smith has pledged to do what he can to help individuals and businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic as it 'threatens both lives and livelihoods'.

He is also asking people to follow Government advice on staying safe, and also to help others more vulnerable than themselves.

"This is an extremely worrying time for everyone - in North Yorkshire, in the country and throughout the world," he said.

"The coronavirus is challenging everything we do and threatens both lives and livelihoods.

"This epidemic is likely to be the biggest health challenge our country has faced in a century and how we respond now is critical in ensuring we reduce its impact on our nation’s health and wellbeing as much as we possibly can.

"There will also be major economic challenges as businesses struggle to keep trading and as jobs are put at risk."

Mr Smith, Northern Ireland Secretary until Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffled his cabinet last month, said he wanted to make six key points to people in Skipton and Ripon as the country moved into the 'hard phase of the crisis'.

"As your MP I will do everything I can to use both my experience and my network in politics to ensure the issues you raise regarding coronavirus get heard and that action is taken wherever it can be.

"My office is now dedicated to doing everything we can to help people impacted by coronavirus. Whether it is sick pay or benefits, business continuity support or health support I will do everything possible to get advice to you and also get changes made to Government policy where needed or as circumstances change."

Mr Smith says he will support Mr Johnson and the Government through 'very difficult waters'.

"Coronavirus is the biggest challenge any Government has had to face in recent times and I will be doing everything I can to work with Government colleagues and with national business and community and charitable organisations to ensure the needs of those they represent are heard.

"If you are involved in a broader national organisation, in whatever area, please let them know that I am happy to speak to them at any time to understand their issues and to ensure that these are fully communicated to Government."

It is 'vital' that everyone follows medical advice, and washing hands for at least 20 seconds is 'key'.

"Social distancing has now become more important with major restrictions to social contact and travel," he said.

"It is very important that these new restrictions are followed and respected."

He also urges people to listen to daily updates on coronavirus health advice and the current situation from the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor.

"Please do everything you can to follow this advice and encourage every member of your family and your friends to do so.

"Up to date health advice is also available at Please keep checking it out and encourage friends and members of your family to do the same."

He says there are many excellent initiatives that already take place to support older and vulnerable people locally, and new ones have been developed over the last weekend.

"Please let me know about schemes or ideas to support people in your part of our area and my office will assist and help those behind them in any way we can.

"If a group isn't running please think about setting one up. Please also reflect on anyone who could need help as they stay at home more and protect themselves from the coronavirus."

For those who are able to volunteer, but do not know who to contact, he says his office will put them in touch with a volunteer group in their area.

"At a national level there will be a need for skills and help from North Yorkshire," he said.

"Currently there is a particular need for manufacturing skills to help build ventilators. If your company makes a ventilator or you think it may be able to learn how to do so or you or people you know could offer skills or help to make ventilators please contact the government's business department on 0300 456 3565 or email If there are other skills that you have that you think can help with this crisis or you know people who have them please let me know."

Mr Smith is also urging people to help those working on the frontline in healthcare and the NHS.

"Whether it is support for them and their families please help them when you can.

"If there are issues that health workers you know want to raise with me please encourage them to do so or please do so on their behalf."

He added: "The coming period will be one of the most challenging our country has faced. "Working together we will get through this crisis. But it will be a team effort and needs to be the number one priority for all of us over the weeks and months ahead. "I will do everything I can to support everyone who needs it across Skipton and Ripon and also to ensure that North Yorkshire skills and expertise help our country in one of the biggest battles it has ever had."

To get in touch with Mr Smith, To find out becoming a Red Cross Reservist, email: