My latest monthly e-newsletter has just gone out to thousands of homes across Hornsey & Wood Green. You can read a copy below or online, with all the pictures, here. If you’d like to receive my e-newsletters, and you don’t already, you can sign up here.
Welcome to my January newsletter
All month my inbox has been bursting with fury that the Prime Minister and his Downing Street team partied as the British people made such painful sacrifices. In Parliament, I spoke about Alison, an intensive care nurse at the Whittington who had to watch her own Grandma’s funeral on zoom. Now, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner says there is evidence of “serious and flagrant” lockdown-breaking at the heart of Government. It is unthinkable that Boris Johnson could continue in post. He has lied repeatedly and shown utter contempt for the laws he himself set. His continued presence is a national distraction at a time when the cost of living is soaring and families are struggling this winter deciding whether to eat or heat their homes. He must go. In some parts of Haringey, up to 30% of residents are facing fuel poverty. Please sign and share our petition calling on the Government to intervene and protect families against rising gas and electricity bills this winter.Rachel, who went nine months without being able to see her beloved mother in a care home, another resident who had to go through cancer treatment on their own, another whose mum suffered a brain tumour and was found collapsed at home alone. The list goes on and on.
Insecurity in the private rental marketappalling case locally where I’ve been helping residents who faced eviction notices or huge 40% rent rises after their block was sold to a new landlord. The Tories promised to ban “no fault” evictions in their 2019 manifesto, but two years on we’re still waiting. I’ll keep pushing the Government to bring forward the Renters Reform Bill and give tenants the security and standards they deserve. Watch my full speech and the Minister’s response on my website. Building Safety Bill Despite repeated promises by the Government to make buildings safe and protect leaseholders from the costs of remediation, four years have now passed since the tragic fire at Grenfell tower and hundreds of thousands of people are still living in unsafe homes. Labour repeatedly tabled amendments to the earlier Fire Safety Bill to try to force the Government to honour its promise that costs will not be passed onto leaseholders. Disappointingly, these were rejected. I am very glad that we’re finally now seeing some progress, but they don’t go far enough. Any plan must also cover non-cladding issues, for my constituents, such as those in Eclipse House, who are facing huge bills to rectify defects including gaps around fire doors and inadequate external wall insulation. No leaseholders should be facing costs for rectifying essential safety measures that weren’t their responsibility and no tenant should be left anxious that the home they live in isn’t safe. I raised my concerns to Mr Gove in Parliament – you can watch my question here. Elections Bill I voted against the Elections Bill and am so disappointed that this backward, Trumpian Bill that weakens our democracy has been pushed through by the Tories. It will make it harder for millions of people, especially working class, disabled, older and Black, Asian and ethnic minority people, to vote and it will reverse decades of democratic progress in the UK. It’s a “solution” for a problem that doesn’t exist and it is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise ordinary voters. It says everything about this Government that they have pushed it through.I was granted an adjournment debate on housing insecurity in the private rented sector, a massive issue for over 17,000 households privately renting in Hornsey & Wood Green. It came out of an
Covid-19£4.3 billion lost to fraud. The Government’s own Minister for Counter Fraud, Lord Agnew, resigned over the shambolic way this has been handled and Labour forced an Urgent Question to challenge the Treasury on their criminal waste of taxpayers’ money. I’ve been pushing for more support for businesses affected by the move to Plan B during the busy Christmas period, improved sick pay and a much speedier roll out of improved ventilation in public buildings like schools. I also urged the Health Minister to do more to support clinically vulnerable people who have been left feeling forgotten by this Government. I highlighted the example of my constituent Lara, who has been waiting for over two years for a double organ transplant. She’s had one transplant offer sadly refused by her hospital because they couldn’t find an ICU bed, and in the meantime her life is incredibly restricted due to her clinical vulnerability. NHS waiting lists are the highest since records began and rather than concentrate on bringing them down the Tories are squabbling amongst themselves about a leader who isn’t fit for office. Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill My inbox has continued to burst with emails from constituents concerned about the Crime & Sentencing Bill, currently in the Lords. I’ve voted against it at every possible opportunity because the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right that should never be taken away because those in power don’t like it. Labour will continue to press the Government to scrap these poorly thought-out proposals when the Bill returns to the Commons.A Chancellor that can take £20 off the poorest families, hike taxes for low-paid workers and exclude millions of self-employed people from COVID support schemes, appears to just shrug his shoulders at
Climate Change & Environment UpdateClimate Change update is available on my website. I was pleased to attend the Woodland Trust’s Parliamentary Reception shortly before Christmas. As Vice-Chair of the APPG for Woods & Trees, I’ll always defend the role trees play in tackling the impact of climate change. I’ve responded formally to the consultation to Ban Plastic in West Wipes and you can too. We use 11 billion wet wipes a year in the UK but 90% of them contain plastic. The impact on our planet and our wildlife is devastating. Click the link and fill out the online survey before 12 Feb.My latest
In the community:
If you’d like to speak to me at one of my regular advice surgeries, held by telephone and in-person, find out here how to book an appointment.
You can also keep up-to-date on my work in Parliament and in the community on Twitter, Facebook or through my website at www.catherinewest.org.uk. Best wishes,Catherine Catherine West MP Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green Shadow Foreign Minister – Asia and the Pacific