The Public Accounts Committee published its report on NHS mental health services today. Currently one-in-six adults have a mental health problem. The Government has pledged parity of esteem, which means mental health is given equal priority to physical health with equal access to services. There is some progress in recruiting more mental health professionals but this has been outstripped by the huge increase in demand for mental health support. Too many people are still waiting too long for the treatment they need.

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The Public Accounts Committee looked at the Asylum Transformation programme, which is the Home Office's plan to deal with the 173,000-case backlog in asylum claims. We also took evidence on the accommodation provided for asylum seekers. At the same time, the House of Commons was voting on the Illegal Migration Bill.

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I met with the CEO of Peabody this week and pressed him on repairs, cladding, and support for leaseholders. I’m also organising a walkabout Peabody estates with residents and representatives from Peabody so watch this space. I regularly meet local housing associations to discuss issues raised with me by constituents – please get in touch if ever you need my help.
 

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Co-op fortnight began this week, so I was really pleased to lead a debate on how local government can promote co-ops and alternate businesses. Co-operatives are businesses that are owned and controlled by its members and which, if they make any profit, invest this back into their members and the community they serve. There are really good examples of these businesses in Hackney and our Labour and Co-op Mayor, Phil Glanville, is really pushing co-ops to be part of the economic solution to issues in Hackney.

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I questioned the Schools Minister on the removal of asbestos from schools (see here). It is vital that we remove this poison from our schools. The Minister hinted that asbestos is now taken into account when schools bid for capital funding. I’ve followed up on my question with a letter and pressed him to clarify.

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I challenged the Government about why it is dragging its feet on leasehold reform. Leasehold is a feudal system that sees some residents face punitive charges they have little to no control over. I've been meeting with residents who desperately want to see their properties become commonhold. I'll keep pressing the Government to move on with this. We need leasehold reform now.
 

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