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. 

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Every child deserves to start their day with a healthy breakfast. That is why I joined Emma Lewell-Buck MP in urging the Government to scale up school breakfast funding and make support to schools permanent. See more here.

 

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The Government recently announced an emergency authorisation of a previously banned pesticide that disproportionately affects bees. It is vital our farming practices are sustainable and protect bees – a vital species in our ecosystem. Luke Pollard, the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has been clear that Labour does not support this emergency authorisation and has urged the Government to think again.

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No worker removed from their frontline role should see their career suffer. This applies particularly to workers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who were removed from frontline duties for their own safety during this pandemic.

I pressed the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, on this (see above) and have recently received a letter in response to my question. Read the letter by clicking the pdf link below.

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A judicial review this month found the Government had acted unlawfully by failing to publish on time the contracts for PPE procurement signed at the beginning of the pandemic. The Public Accounts Committee also called out the Government on its late publication of contracts. The Government’s response has been to selectively quote from a National Audit Office report by suggesting that the NAO concluded there was never a national shortage of PPE (when, in fact, the NAO was simply quoting what NHS providers had told it).

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It is vital children have access to regular, nutritious, healthy food. In Hackney, too many children are forced to skip breakfast and turn up to school hungry. This is unacceptable and has a significant detrimental impact on children’s concentration and learning. I support the excellent work of the charity Magic Breakfast which works with schools in Hackney to provide healthy breakfast food and expert support. Find out more about their work here.

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The UK’s transition period with the European Union came to an end on 31 December.

Four and a half years after the Brexit referendum, and after three years of detailed negotiations, the UK Government finally agreed a deal on Christmas Eve.

Parliament was recalled on 30 December to vote on a hastily drafted bill which would give force to the deal in UK law. We had a total of five hours to debate and vote on this bill before it went to the House of Lords and then finally was given Royal Assent, in the early hours of 31 December.

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As I write, we still have no idea whether the UK will secure a trading deal with the EU after the 31 December or if we are crashing out with no deal. This past year was supposed to be the transition period in the Brexit process - the period of time in which businesses, consumers, and regulatory agencies had to adapt to the new UK-EU trading relationship. Instead there will be, at best, a few days’ notice. This is completely unacceptable and will mean disruption as businesses adapt to new arrangements.

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