I visited local mental health arts charity ‘Studio Upstairs’. The Hackney-based charity runs art therapy sessions which support people with mental illness to explore their creativity. It’s celebrating its 30-year anniversary in December.
I visited Berger Primary School to judge the pupils Voice Box entries. Voice Box is a national joke competition run by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, created to raise awareness of the importance of key communication skills.
I asked the Economic Secretary to the Treasury about the Sale of Public Assets and whether they offer value for money.
The Public Accounts Committee, which I Chair, has been challenging the Governments selling of assets that could be of benefit to the public in the long term.
See my questions and the answers here.
November marked the centenary of women first standing in Parliament. I was the 275th female MP to be elected to Parliament in 2005.
The 209 Women in Parliament exhibition, currently on display in Portcullis House until February, showcases portraits of the 209 female MPs currently elected into Parliament. My photograph was taken by local Hackney Photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg at a bus stop in Hoxton.
The House of Commons and the House of Lords have both appointed members to a joint Committee to scrutinise the Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill. I am one of the 12 members of the Committee.
A major refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster is needed to protect and preserve the heritage of the Palace and to ensure it can continue to serve as home to the UK Parliament and provide a better service to the public. The Bill provides the oversight to the Restoration and Renewal Programme and the Committee has been appointed to scrutinise it.
Last week I spoke at a Guardian event on how we can protect the NHS from future cyberattacks, following the WannaCry attack in 2017.
The event brought together health service leaders and influencers to consider how best to protect vital NHS systems and services.
Last week I visited Blue Hut Youth Centre to listen to young people in Hackney talk about their fears, worries and aspirations.
A big concern of the young girls was youth violence and knife crime in London, they talked about how they want the Government to listen to younger generations and budget for more money to be spent on youth centres like Blue Hut.
Colleges in Hackney and their staff deserve better funding and fair pay so they can continue to support local people and the national economy.
This week I met with students from New City College, which now runs Hackney Community College, to talk about the Love Our Colleges campaign. The campaign highlights the vital importance of Further Education Colleges.
Cuts to further education funding have led to courses closing and a significant reduction of free learning hours for adult learners. Further education colleges cannot afford any more funding cuts.
Over 40,000 Hackney residents are EU nationals.
I am concerned that following Brexit, the Home Office will not be able to manage the number of immigration applications from EU citizens, given that it is already overwhelmed.
I recently asked a question in question time to the Department for Exiting the European Union.
See the Minister’s response here.
As many of you are aware, Universal Credit has rolled out in Hackney this month and replaces six other benefits with a single monthly payment. However, the introduction of Universal Credit is causing unacceptable hardship and difficulties for many people in Hackney and across the UK.
If you live in Hackney and need any advice on what Universal Credit will mean for you, visit the Hackney Council website https://www.hackney.gov.uk/universal-credit for useful advice.