Welcome to my July Newsletter. The past month has been jampacked with political scandals, announcements, and anniversaries.
Please read below for a monthly round-up of my work as the MP for Lewisham East.
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Mortgages and Cost-of-Living Crisis
Across Britain, people are paying the Tory mortgage penalty. The Government has acted too slowly to support homeowners. Most mortgage holders are on fixed-rate deals. Over 1 million fixed-rate deals are due to reach the end of their term by the end of 2023. For these mortgage holders in Lewisham East it is estimated they will end up paying an extra £4,800. This is unacceptable.
In the Chamber, I raised the mortgage crisis and rising rents directly with the Prime Minister. I was far from impressed that he made no effort to properly answer my question. You can see my interaction with Rishi Sunak at PMQs via this link.
Victims and Prisoners Bill
During the past month I have participated in the Public Bill Committee of the Victims and Prisoners Bill. This is a stage of scrutiny that all Bills go through where MPs read the Bill line by line and propose amendments. I have tabled amendments on the Parole Board as well as calling for more scrutiny over the new powers given to the Justice Secretary under this Bill.
To learn more about this Bill and my work on it please click the link here.
Last month marked the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving at the Port of Tilbury in Essex. I am sure everyone reading this would agree that the Windrush generation have made an enormous contribution to our country. We owe them so much. Unlike the Tories who cannot be trusted to give the Windrush generation the respect they deserve, Labour has promised to fix the compensation scheme to give victims of the Windrush scandal justice.
It was fantastic to join in with the celebrations of the Windrush generations throughout Lewisham East. Back in 2018, I brought forward a motion ensuring that Lewisham Council celebrated Windrush Day every year. I was therefore delighted to speak at our fantastic Catford Broadway to celebrate Windrush Day. Well done to all those who organised this.
I am part of second Windrush generation. Mother and late father were part of the first Windrush generation. As we celebrate Windrush and this anniversary, I will be celebrating them.
Not only did we celebrate 75 years since the Windrush generation came to the UK, but we also recently celebrated 75 years of receiving healthcare free at the point of access via our wonderful NHS.
Growing up, my Mum would tell me of her pride in working as an NHS nurse. I was proud to work in the NHS myself. However, after wave after wave of healthcare strikes, it is clear 13 years of Conservative mismanagement must end.
Labour created the NHS. Our values are built into the NHS’s founding principle that everyone, wherever they live, whatever they earn, should get healthcare that is free at the point of use. To protect the NHS Labour will:
- Double the number of district nurses qualifying each year
- Train more than 5,000 new health visitors
- Create an additional 10,000 nursing and midwifery placements every year
- Double the number of medical school places
- Paid for by reversing the cut of the 45% additional rate of income tax.
Ticket Office Closures in Lewisham East
Last week I was deeply concerned to hear that the Government are allowing train companies, including Southeastern to go ahead with plans to close hundreds of station ticket offices across England over the next three years. Unfortunately, these proposed changes will mean ticket offices at Blackheath, Catford Bridge, Hither Green and Lee could cease to exist.
As a result, I wrote a letter along with Ellie Reeves MP and Vicky Foxcroft MP to the Transport Secretary on the future job security of rail staff currently deployed in rail ticket offices and what the impact will be on the safety and accessibility of the rail network for disabled and elderly passengers. You can read this letter here.
I am especially worried for the people who could potentially lose their jobs across the country during a cost-of-living. Rest assured I am determined to protest against these damaging closures.
Sickle Cell Sharing Event
Last week I was honoured to chair a Sickle Cell sharing event with NHS England London region, with over 100 people coming to parliament and many more attending online. The aim of the event was to celebrate the achievements with partners and colleagues and showcase the transformation of Sickle Cell services.
But I was keen to stress that much more work was needed to ensure the provision of sickle cell services delivers a high-class service for all. There is still evidence of serious care failings in acute Sickle Cell services alongside evidence of attitudes underpinned by racism. As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sickle Cell and Thalassemia I pledge to continue to campaign to address these concerning issues.
I am pleased they took on my recommendations for 5 specific priorities which centre on addressing:
- Trusts/ Emergency Departments meeting the 30-minutes pain relief requirement set out by NICE
- Mandatory Sickle Cell Training for Healthcare Professionals
- A medical alert by Emergency Services to Sickle Cell Teams when a Sickle Cell patient is admitted
- Address lack of staffing and capacity for Red Cell Exchanges
- Better engagements from Local haemoglobinopathy team.
Last month I called for and led a debate asking the Government to publish claimant information in county court judgements. Following the debate, I was delighted to hear that the Ministry of Justice confirmed they will bring forward these changes.
To read the debate and the specific measures that I was calling for, please click this link.
London Pride 2023
During London Pride it was a joy to be with so many constituents and Councillors at Lewisham’s celebration of pride. It was brilliant to march to advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. It is so important everyone can who they want to be. The LGBTQ+ community must be treated with respect.
Armed Forces Week
Last month it was Armed Forces Week. I therefore made a point to meet with the Armed Forces, veterans & their families. These are the people who help keep our country safe and they must be properly thanked. I am pleased that a Labour Government will aim to ensure:
- Better mental health support
- Ensuring troops have good homes
- Incorporating the Armed Forces Covenant into law
In June I also questioned the Government on problems relating to the Armed Forces Scheme. This is something I will be keeping a very close eye. You can watch my question using this link here.
London City Planning Application
This week I was pleased to hear that Newham Council listened to my and other Lewisham East constituents’ concerns by rejecting London City’s application to extend its operating hours on Saturdays alongside 3 additional early morning flights.
For years I have highlighted the impact of living under a double flight path for local people. During Newham Council’s consultation on the application, I wrote to Newham Council outlining my concerns regarding this planning application. You can read the letter I wrote to Newham Council using this link here.
Thank you for reading this newsletter.
I wish you all a lovely summer. My next newsletter will be sent to you in September.