COVID-19 forced the closure of museums, galleries, cinemas, music venues, nightclubs, theatres, arts centres, archives and heritage sites from the 23 March 2020, with many not due to reopen until summer 2021. Even when they can reopen they are likely to have reduced visitor capacity. The Government’s answer to supporting these cultural institutions and businesses was the Culture Recovery Fund. This was a £1.57 billion fund of grants and loans designed to support only 75 per cent of these struggling businesses and organisations.
This week the Public Accounts Committee questioned the most senior Treasury officials about their contact with David Cameron and Lex Greensill. This is just the beginning of our work on lobbying and the Greensill scandal - we’ll be working closely with our sister select committees to pursue this issue. See here to watch a recording of the session.
This week I've been working with my frontbench Labour colleagues to press the Government over lobbying and the Greensill scandal. I challenged a Minister at an Urgent Question (see here) and I voted in favour of a parliamentary inquiry to get to the bottom of this. The Government's majority meant this initiative was defeated but the Public Accounts Committee will be investigating alongside other select committees. See my round-up for further details.
Throughout the pandemic there’s been too little transparency from the Government about how it spends our money.
I pressed the Minister over whether a six-week inquiry is enough to shine sunlight on the millions of taxpayers’ money given to organisations such as Greensill.
See this powerful film about mothers learning of their son's death.
Calling with information about knife crime may feel hard - but there are harder calls. If you ever have any information about knife crime, you can anonymously call Crimestoppers and help prevent further deaths.
See here for further information and to learn more about these mothers' stories.
The continued disruption to pupils’ learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant the Government cancelled GCSE and A-Level exams this year.
The Joint Council for Qualifications has now released a fact sheet with helpful guidance on the system that will be used to calculate grades for pupils impacted by the exams cancellation. There is also further guidance on Vocational and Technical Qualifications. Click the pdf document below for further details.