Following the murder of Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck in Wood Green, I asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on Monday if he would consider a special fund for children at risk of school exclusion. I am pleased he’s agreed to meet to discuss this further. It’s crucial because youth workers regularly talk about the “PRU to prison pipeline” of disengaged young people in pupil referral units getting into a cycle of trouble and urgent action is needed to change that.
I’m delighted that the ‘National Gallery 27’ have won their battle for basic workers’ rights. One of the 27 is my constituent and I’ve been supporting them throughout their tireless campaign to be recognised as workers not freelancers. It’s an important ruling for all ‘gig-economy’ workers, but particularly for those in the public sector. This Government should be showing leadership and acting to prevent workers paid from public funds being exploited like this, yet instead the NG27 were dragged through the courts. It’s another reason why I have little faith in any Tory Brexit promises on workers’ rights.
I took part in a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday about the worrying effect on the solar industry of the closure of the feed in tariff. The scheme was a huge success and its closure has led 30 to 40% of firms contemplating closure and international figures considering pulling out of the UK market. It’s the wrong approach at a time when we should be encouraging investment in renewables and moving away from our reliance on fossil fuels. In my interventions I highlighted the impact on small businesses and on schools, where the overheads tend to be greater. I also asked what the Government is doing to ensure more solar installations on Government buildings. I believe they could be doing much more and it’s yet another example, like the NG27 case, where the Government is not leading by example.
I held a busy advice surgery on Friday and marked International Women’s Day with some of the women residents at Sylvia Lawla Court. (I’ll be holding my own event in Parliament on Monday night to talk about the impact of austerity and universal credit on women headed households.) That afternoon I met with the new Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Haringey to discuss the impact of Universal Credit, rising levels of street homelessness, the worrying practices of bailiffs and the importance of the voluntary sector to serve Haringey.
I also lent my support to Plastic Free Crouch End’s mass unwrap to increase awareness of avoidable plastic use in supermarkets and work to prevent it.