Consumer debt is now rising at a faster rate than it did in the run-up to the last financial crisis, reaching a record £214.2 billion this year. Whilst for some people their debt is affordable and manageable, for 8.3 million people (and rising) it has become a problem. This week, I hosted the launch of a free, non-profit service called Debt Hacker, aimed at helping people who’ve been pushed into unmanageable debt by irresponsible lenders and forcing lenders to change their ways by hitting them in the pocket. The announcement over the weekend that the Chancellor intends to explore zero interest loans to help people trapped in debt is welcome and long overdue. But unless the Tories acknowledge the fact that it is their austerity measures and their failure to crack down on exploitative employment practices that have helped fuel this crisis, they’re not going to solve the real problem millions are facing each month.
I don’t believe there should be a border in the UK when it comes to the basic human right to abortion and to equal marriage. I was proud to be one of the 108 MPs who signed Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn’s NC7 amendment this week and was delighted it was voted through. Whilst this vote was only one step, it is one that brings equal rights to Northern Ireland that bit closer.
I hosted a Parliamentary rare disease breakfast meeting where we looked at how we improve the system for accessing treatments for rare diseases and discussed the impact of Brexit on access to medicines and crucial collaborative research. I also met with a delegation of pensioners from Hornsey & Wood Green as part of the annual National Pensioners Convention lobby of Parliament.
Finally, I’m appalled by the tragic anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh over the weekend and have been in contact with local Jewish community leaders in Hornsey & Wood Green to extend my heartfelt thoughts and offer support with any practical and safety concerns they have. Seven out of the eleven people who died were alive during the Holocaust and have seen where this hatred can lead. It is beyond comprehension that they should lose their lives in such a senseless, hateful manner. The scourge of anti-Semitism is on the rise once again and we must all work together to defeat it.