Busy week in Hackney, Westminster, and Brighton for the Labour Party conference.
I challenged officials from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy over the collapse of energy suppliers and the steep hike in energy prices. This sharp rise in prices is on top of the increase in National Insurance and the £20 per week Universal Credit cut. It means households are being hit hard and the Government must step up with a plan to address this. See here to watch my questions in full.
This week MPs debated the Government’s National Insurance tax rise, and the £20 cut to Universal Credit. Both will hit the poorest hardest. The Government says the National Insurance rise is to raise money for social care, but there is no plan and no detail about how it will do this, nor is there a clear sense of where the money raised will be spent. My colleagues and my committee will continue to press for clarity.
The Government continued its habit of making headline announcements whilst providing scant details – this time on social care. The headline is an increase of 1.25 percentage points in National Insurance. But there’s no detail or plan for care workers, nothing on stabilising the social care market that has been rocked by COVID-19, and nothing on financial support for local authorities. See here to watch in full my speech calling out the Government.
I was out and about with local councillors on the Kingsmead Estate this Saturday and heard from family after family about their housing situation. Too many people in Hackney live in severely overcrowded accommodation and many more cannot afford local private rents or even think about buying their own home.
I spoke out on this in a debate this week and pressed the Government to urgently increase the supply of affordable homes. See here to watch my speech in full.
The Government confirmed plans for the further easing of lockdown restrictions from this Monday 19 July. But, as ever, we got muddled messaging - this time on face masks. On the one hand the Government is encouraging the continued use of face masks in certain settings, but on the other hand it is removing the legal requirement to do so.
The Prime Minister announced the plan for the further easing of lockdown restrictions on 19 July. Subject to a final review of the data next week, from Monday 19 July face masks will no longer be mandatory, all businesses still closed (such as nightclubs) will be able to reopen, and there'll be no social distancing requirements. See here for further details.
The Delta variant is spreading fast with infection rates in Hackney as high as last November.
If you have not already received your COVID-19 vaccine, please book an appointment now - it's the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones. See here for the latest COVID-19 data in Hackney and see here to book your appointment.
See my weekly round-up below for an update on my advice surgeries in Hackney. I am piloting Town Hall surgeries but prioritising personal cases, particularly those who have struggled to contact me and other services online during the pandemic.