President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine is a crime against peace. The Government has announced a package of severe sanctions targeting the Russian economy and the military and political elite. But the malign influence of corrupt Russian money in the UK has been clear for some time. The Government has been too slow to act against this dirty Russian money and it must urgently get its own house in order after concerning reports of suspect Russian donations to the Conservative Party.

Keir Starmer has made clear Labour’s unshakeable commitment to NATO and that Labour under his leadership will always move in lockstep with our allies to counter Russian aggression. See here to watch Keir pledge Labour’s steadfast support to the Ukrainian people. I’ve been in touch with Ukrainian citizens in Hackney to get direct feedback of the situation on-the-ground for ordinary Ukrainians. Hackney has a long history of pulling together and showing solidarity to members of our community whose families and loved ones face a dark future abroad. I know this crisis will be no exception.

The Public Accounts Committee published a report highlighting the £15 billion lost to fraud and error in the COVID-19 relief schemes. Remember the planned rise in National Insurance is expected to raise only £12 billion. Generations of taxpayers will be paying for this Government’s sloppy attitude to basic fraud-checks during the rollout of emergency COVID-related support packages. It's vital as much money is recouped as possible. See here to read the report in full and see here for a summary. 

And the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beer, of which I am a member, met this week with a Treasury Minister to discuss the Government's proposals on supporting breweries and the hospitality industry. Under current proposals the duty on draught beer served in pubs will be cut by 5 per cent. However, this will only apply to alcohol sold in containers of 40 litres or more. Many small breweries use 20 litre or 30 litre containers when supplying to pubs or other drinking establishments. I've been pressing the Government to address this issue. See my round-up below for further details.