My latest monthly e-newsletter has just gone out to thousands of homes across Hornsey & Wood Green. You can read a copy below. If you’d like to receive my e-newsletters, and you don’t already, you can sign up here.
Welcome to my March e-newsletter
As we mark the anniversary of the first lockdown, my thoughts this week have been with those grieving the loss of someone they love and those who have worked so tirelessly to keep our communities going through these incredibly difficult times. As we ease slowly out of the tightest lockdown restrictions, we need a public inquiry to learn the lessons of the last year. We owe it to all those whose lives have been turned upside down that these costly mistakes are never repeated.
I want to thank Dr Russell Hearn for vaccinating me at Wightman Road Mosque in Haringey earlier this month. All our local vaccination sites are doing an incredible job and I also visited Bounds Green Vaccination Centre recently to thank the team for all their hard work.
Remember Hornsey and Wood Green – when you get the call, take your vaccine – it’s free, safe, and effective.
If you are over 50, or clinically vulnerable, or have a learning disability, or care for someone clinically vulnerable or you are a frontline health or social care worker and you haven’t yet had the vaccine you can now book an appointment directly here.
I know some of you will have been concerned at the reports of a confirmed case of the Brazilian variant of Covid-19 in N10. There is an update on Haringey Council’s website here on plans for extra testing in the N10 area including door to door.
It’s important to be aware that there is no evidence to suggest this variant poses any more threat or that existing COVID-19 vaccines will not work against this variant. Please ensure we stop the spread by continuing to follow lockdown rules, staying home & getting testing when asked.
Labour secured a Parliamentary debate this month on take-up rates of the Covid-19 vaccine here in London. You can read my speech here where I urged the Government to do more to address health inequalities in the wider sense.
A budget that failed to deliver for Hornsey & Wood Green
This month’s Budget offered an opportunity to deliver the change we need to start building a better society. An opportunity to tackle the deep inequalities in our society that Covid-19 has lain bare, to build back greener and fairer, and to reward the NHS and care heroes who’ve given their everything through this crisis.
Rishi Sunak failed to deliver.
The amount of money this Government has wasted on Serco Test & Trace alone could have paid the salaries of 1.5 million nurses, yet this budget saw no mention of our precious NHS, schools and teachers. Where were the plans to tackle soaring waiting lists, to fix a social care sector on its knees and where was the help for the millions of families who’ve seen their incomes devastated by Covid-19?
With so many MPs wanting to speak during the Budget debate, my time was limited. But I used my speech to focus on two key areas – household debt and our transition to a green economy. Watch my speech here.
I also took part in the debate on financial barriers to self-isolation and again urged the Minister to scrap the means testing and ensure that everyone who needs it can afford to stay at home to keep us all safe. We cannot afford a stop start recovery as we come out of lockdown.
Here are some of the other things I’ve been doing this month. If you know anyone who would like to receive these updates, please share this link.
Tory crime bill does nothing to prevent violence against women and girls
I voted with my Labour colleagues to reject the Tory Crime Bill, which was a missed opportunity to tackle the violence against women and girls that has become endemic in the UK. It didn’t even mention women once in its 296 pages. Instead of listening and responding to the voices of the women gathering on Clapham Common, Priory Park and across the country, Boris Johnson’s Government has introduced legislation that seeks to criminalise peaceful protest and silence dissent. This divisive Bill could see someone “causing annoyance” jailed for up to 10 years and someone damaging a statue paying a higher price than someone attacking a woman. I’ll continue working with my Labour colleagues to see the changes that we need, not the draconian and shameful attacks on our liberties this government wants to introduce. Watch my speech in Parliament during the debate.
Inhumane conditions for asylum seekers
At Home Office Questions, I challenged the Minister on the appalling conditions reported in asylum seeker processing and detaining sites and asked what steps the Government are taking to respond to the findings of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s inspection of contingency asylum accommodation. The UK should be a welcoming and open country for those seeking safety on our shores and there must be provision to treat asylum seekers with dignity and house people in accommodation more suited to their needs. It’s particularly important with the public health challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Watch my question to the Minister here.
Leaseholders abandoned in Fire Safety Bill
On Monday night, the Tories voted against protecting leaseholders who through no fault of their own have found themselves facing devastating bills for fire safety works. It’s a disgraceful way to treat leaseholders who’ve already suffered so much – pushing them into further financial misery, possible bankruptcy and leaving families trapped in worthless homes. The Government should be pursuing the developers and the cladding providers who’ve created this mess – not those who’ve been the victims. I voted for the McPartland Amendment and am angry and disappointed that the Tories rejected it. Labour will keep doing everything we can to fight this injustice.
The Trade Bill came back to the Commons this week and yet again the Government opposed the Genocide Amendment, which would have blocked trade deals with countries that commit genocide. This isn’t the message we should be sending out to the world. The Foreign Secretary’s long overdue announcement of sanctions on Chinese officials in Xinjiang was welcome, but we can’t be a “force for good” if we turn a blind eye to atrocities to secure lucrative trade and investment.
Education Route Map
I took part in the Parliamentary debate about the Education Route Map in advance of 10 million teachers & children returning to the classroom on 8 March. It’s right that schools opened first but unacceptable that the last two months weren’t used to ensure teachers and support staff were vaccinated and to invest in creating “Nightingale” smaller classes. Nor is enough support yet in place to deal with the mental health problems that have dramatically increased in young people under the toll of the past year. I focussed my debate intervention on this mental health aspect as some 80% of young people say their mental health has deteriorated during the Covid crisis. You can read my full speech here.
Care Home visits
The impact of a year without hugs and family visits has been profound for so many people in care homes. During a recent Parliamentary debate, I pushed the Minister on what action was taking place to enable face-to-face family visits. I also urged the Government to do more to provide the funding and staffing to enable these extra visits and crucially to lay out their plans to address social care which they’ve been promising for 10 years now and which still haven’t been delivered.
Reminder: Census 2021
Sunday 21 March was Census Day and if you haven’t yet returned your form, it’s vital that you do. Census information helps to decide how services such as healthcare, transport and housing are planned and funded in each local authority area, so it’s extremely important to complete the census fully and accurately. For more information visit https://census.gov.uk
In the constituency:
Sign my petition: stop the eviction of Mary Feilding Guild residents
I’m absolutely appalled that the new owner of the Mary Feilding Guild has told the elderly residents they need to leave by the end of May. Sign my petition to stop the eviction. This is a shocking way to treat vulnerable older people, issuing eviction notices in the midst of a pandemic. I’ve met virtually with residents of Mary Feilding Guild to offer my support and on my website you can read my letters to the Care Minister, Haringey Council’s Chief Executive and the Charity Commission. I’ll be presenting the petition in Parliament after the Easter recess. Older people have endured a lonely year, often feeling helpless and ignored. These Guild residents should be able to remain in their homes and I’ll do everything I can to support them.
Tile Kiln Lane
I’ve had a number of constituents get in touch alarmed by works Thames Water have been carrying out in Tile Kiln Lane reservoir and conservation area and the impact on precious woodland, trees and historic wall. I’ve met with residents onsite and raised concerns with Thames Water to get the works put on hold whilst these are resolved. My website has a wider update on some of the work I’ve been doing in Parliament and locally to protect our mature trees.