I voted against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill at the first parliamentary opportunity. This bill was an opportunity for meaningful sentencing reform. There is an all-time record high backlog of more than 56,000 cases awaiting a hearing. Victims of crime are being asked to wait up to 4 years to get to court.
The Government allocated £37 billion for Test and Trace and yet despite the unimaginable resources thrown at this project, Test and Trace cannot point to a measurable difference to the progress of the pandemic. Taxpayers are not the Government's ATM machine. We need a clear plan and costs better controlled. The Public Accounts Committee will return to our investigation on this in the summer.
The big event in Parliament this week was the Budget and I challenged the Chancellor for its complete lack of vision. There was little in it for supporting people into affordable homes, it failed to properly grapple with the transition to a net zero carbon economy, and there was no long term plan for social care.
This week the Government failed to protect leaseholders from bankrupting cladding costs in the Fire Safety Bill. The cladding scandal is the biggest consumer and fire safety failure in a generation. I challenged the Government on this in my speech at the debate (see the video here and the transcript here).
Only 10% of the required personal protective equipment (PPE) arrived in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic. This put care home residents, frontline workers, and their families at risk. The Public Accounts Committee called out the Government on this in its report this week and I'll continue pressing on the issues with Government procurement.
The Public Accounts Committee published a report this week on the Government's plan for its long-term environmental goals. The climate emergency requires urgency. The Government must move on from aspirational words and start taking the hard decisions. I'll continue pressing. Read the report here.
This week the Public Accounts Committee scrutinised the Government's plans for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and ending rough sleeping by 2024. Still lots of work to do.
And I challenged the Minister for Schools over school closures and what plans there are to support pupils with catch-up learning. See my weekly round-up for more details.
COVID-19 infection rates are still very high in Hackney and in London. It's vital we remain vigilant against the virus and stay at home as much as possible.
It's vital we do not lose our vigilance against the virus. COVID-19 infection rates are still very high; we must all stay at home as much as possible in order to protect the NHS and help save lives.
Creative industry workers and businesses have been hit with the double whammy of Brexit and COVID-19. I'm organising a virtual creative industries roundtable with the shadow minister to discuss these issues and feed in examples to press the Government.
The creative industries roundtable will take place on Wednesday 3 February at 4pm. Please email email@example.com for further details and to register.
I have just been briefed by the Director of Public Health for London and senior NHS colleagues.
The rate of the virus is very high in London, which is now in a state of emergency. The COVID infection rate is over 1000 per 100,000 people which is much higher than at any time in the last 10 months. In North East London one in twenty people has the virus.
This weekend is critical.