See my weekly round up for my take on the Government’s testing fiasco and the impact on Hackney. People have been turned away from the two walk-in centres in the borough. The Secretary of State undertook to look into the matter. The Government needs to get to grips with this quickly; it’s critical, particularly with a second wave looming.
This week the Government confirmed what has become increasingly evident over the previous months: it is one rule for them and another for everyone else.
I was astounded to see the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland admit that the Government was preparing to break international law. The UK Government is proposing to unilaterally rewrite previously agreed sections of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. When this comes before Parliament next week, I’ll be working with my Labour colleagues to stop this.
It’s great to see schools reopening safely but after six months of closure and remote learning, I’m concerned about the attainment gap between the richest and poorest students.
Students preparing for their A-Level and GCSE exams next year need extra time to catch-up on the months of missed schooling. I'm calling on the Government to look at slightly delaying the start of the exam season next summer. It is vital that students taking exams next year are not unfairly disadvantaged through no fault of their own.
The Government’s track record of muddled messaging and confused guidance continues. Click here to see my latest statement.
Also the Public Accounts Committee called out the Government's reckless and negligent approach to social care. And good news for ISS key workers at Homerton Hospital.
The Public Accounts Committee published a report this week calling out the Government for not considering, in its pandemic preparation exercises, that a pandemic would also have an economic impact. A competent government does not run a country on the hoof and it explains the many gaps in support in the Government's economic packages. I’ll continue standing up for the forgotten freelancers and self-employed. The Public Accounts Committee has called on the Government to write back by the 1 September with its plan for what it will do if there is a second spike.
Good news this week as the Government listened to my concerns about late night drinking in streets and parks, and backtracked on some of its proposed easing of licensing restrictions. No off-premises sales will now be permitted after 11pm.
This should help tackle some of the antisocial behaviour we’ve been seeing most weekends in Hackney parks like London Fields.
The Chancellor’s announced more spending but still nothing for the forgotten freelancers. These are the hardworking taxpayers who are falling through the gaps in Government support. I’ve been clear that surviving on zero income is not a solution – these people cannot live on air alone.
I secured a debate on domestic abuse and black women. Smaller specialist organisations often do not have the finances or resources to bid for larger contracts. This has resulted in the erosion of black and minority ethnic specialist services. These services provide a lifeline for women when they are at their most vulnerable. We need greater representation of the needs of black women at policy level. No decision that disproportionately affects black women should be made without them.
This week the Government has announced an easing of restrictions and licensing rules but it’s doing nothing to help local residents and councils left to clean up the mess. Local parks are fast-becoming mass beer garden free-for-alls with people urinating and defecating wherever they see fit and leaving behind mounds of rubbish. This must stop. And Government needs to help foot the bill for the policing and clean-up operations.
This week the Public Accounts Committee discovered that the Government never considered the economic effects of a pandemic during its 2016 pandemic preparations. It explains the many gaps in support, including for the forgotten freelancers, and why it is lurching from crisis to crisis.
I welcome Marcus Rashford’s excellent campaign shaming the Government into a U-turn so that vulnerable children do not go hungry over the summer.