The big event in Parliament this week was the Budget and I challenged the Chancellor for its complete lack of vision. There was little in it for supporting people into affordable homes, it failed to properly grapple with the transition to a net zero carbon economy, and there was no long term plan for social care.
Today's Budget lacked any vision for:
- Supporting people into affordable homes
- Properly tackling net zero
- Finding a long-term plan for social care
- Addressing the problems with IR35, self-employment, zero-hour contracts, and other forms of working
See my full speech here.
If you, or anyone you know, needs to use the Foodbank, please note that vouchers must be acquired through referral agencies. Many of these organisations have moved their services online.
This week the Government failed to protect leaseholders from bankrupting cladding costs in the Fire Safety Bill. The cladding scandal is the biggest consumer and fire safety failure in a generation. I challenged the Government on this in my speech at the debate (see the video here and the transcript here).
The Craftivist Collective, established and run by Haggerston local Sarah Corbett, is a form of ‘gentle protest’ that combines activism with creating carefully crafted pieces of work.
Most recently, Sarah has been spearheading the climate craftivist project, which encourages sewers to create beautiful hand-sewn badges for MPs to wear and express solidarity with tackling the climate emergency in advance of COP26.
A judicial review this month found the Government had acted unlawfully by failing to publish on time the contracts for PPE procurement signed at the beginning of the pandemic. The Public Accounts Committee also called out the Government on its late publication of contracts. The Government’s response has been to selectively quote from a National Audit Office report by suggesting that the NAO concluded there was never a national shortage of PPE (when, in fact, the NAO was simply quoting what NHS providers had told it).
It is vital children have access to regular, nutritious, healthy food. In Hackney, too many children are forced to skip breakfast and turn up to school hungry. This is unacceptable and has a significant detrimental impact on children’s concentration and learning. I support the excellent work of the charity Magic Breakfast which works with schools in Hackney to provide healthy breakfast food and expert support. Find out more about their work here.
Only 10% of the required personal protective equipment (PPE) arrived in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic. This put care home residents, frontline workers, and their families at risk. The Public Accounts Committee called out the Government on this in its report this week and I'll continue pressing on the issues with Government procurement.
Business and workers in the creative industries have been hit with the double whammy of COVID-19 and Brexit.
It is vital the March 2021 Budget does not act as a cliff-edge with the large-scale withdrawal of all support for workers and businesses in this industry. I’ll continue working with my frontbench Labour colleagues to urge the Government to ensure support is targeted for those businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.