I called out the Chancellor for delivering another smoke and mirrors Budget this week. The promises of extra money unravel when you look into the details. There is no money for the properly affordable housing that so many families in Hackney need and the school settlement is not enough to make up for past cuts. The money given to government departments will have to cover pay rises now that the public sector pay freeze has been lifted – but this has not been funded so schools, the NHS, and local government still face financial pressures. There is also no additional money to support those impacted by the cladding scandal. See here to watch my speech in full.

The Public Accounts Committee published a report calling out Test and Trace for failing to stop chains of COVID transmission and for failing to prevent further lockdowns (twice) despite an eye-watering £37 billion budget. Test and Trace is now being wrapped into the new UK Health Security Agency. It is vital that lessons are learnt so that there is a robust contact tracing system ready to deliver when needed. See here to read the report and here for a summary.

COVID-19 cases are once again at a very high level in Hackney and in the UK. Scientists and public health experts are calling for the Government to pivot to plan B for managing COVID. This means the return of compulsory masks and a return to working from home when possible. I support these calls as it is vital we do everything possible to prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed. Please wear a mask when in enclosed public spaces and please take your booster vaccine if you are over-50 and received your second dose five to six months ago.