The Government unveiled a number of bills at this year's Queen Speech aimed at 'levelling up' the country. However, levelling up must include inner city boroughs like ours. Hackney is the seventh most deprived local authority area in the country, but the Government is choosing to prioritise more affluent areas in its levelling up agenda. 

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Valerie’s law is a proposal named after a constituent, Valerie Forde, who was brutally murdered with her 23-month-old daughter, Jah-zara, by her ex-partner. Valerie’s law would mandate specialist cultural competency training for police officers, relevant government agencies, and domestic violence safehouse staff so that black and minority ethnic women affected by domestic abuse are appropriately supported.

 

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From 6 April people with biometric residence cards, biometric residence permits, and frontier working permits will have to prove their status online to work or rent in the UK. From this date, physical copies of these documents will no longer be accepted. However, many people struggle to use the online system. It is typical of the Home Office to have set up a system that does not understand the interactions that people will have to have whilst proving their status.

 

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I spoke in a debate about support for black victims of domestic abuse and urged the Government to support Valerie’s law. This proposal is named after a constituent, Valerie Forde, who was brutally murdered with her 23-month-old daughter, Jah-zara, by her ex-partner. Valerie’s law would mandate specialist cultural competency training for police officers, relevant government agencies, and domestic violence safehouse staff so that black and minority ethnic women affected by domestic abuse are appropriately supported.

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After a recent IT refresh a local tech business, Logixal, asked for help in distributing over 100 pieces of high-quality PCs, monitors, mice, and keyboards. I put them in touch with Hackney youth groups and organisations that work with young people, including the Gascoyne and Morningside Youth Club, Evergreen adventure playground, the Pedro Youth Club, Mouth That Roars, and Tropical Isles.

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A real pleasure visiting Olive School this morning to see their new permanent site and listen to some excellent poetry from the pupils.

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We all have so much to thank the NHS for. Hackney's NHS heroes went above and beyond for us during the pandemic, working through extraordinary and difficult conditions. The NHS Parliamentary Awards are your chance to help recognise this dedication.

See below for a list of the ten categories I can submit nominations for. More information about each category can be found here.

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Pensioners on a low income may be eligible for extra support through Pension Credit. This is separate from your State Pension and may entitle you to further support such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, and help with heating costs.

 

However, only 70 per cent of those eligible for Pension Credit claimed the benefit in the financial year 2019-20. I have written to the Government to press for an update on what is being done to encourage uptake.

 

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President Putin invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked, unjustifiable, and aggressive act. The Government has announced a package of severe sanctions in coordination with our international allies. 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.

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