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. 

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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.

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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.

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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 for useful advice.

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Many people in Hackney rely on the London Overground service to commute to and from work. However, the London Overground service is frequently missing out stops in Hackney, in order to reduce delay times.  

I have raised this issue with Transport for London and asked them to state how they will address this problem. It is unfair that Hackney residents face long delays on a regular basis.

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Last week I asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) if it is prepared for Brexit.

Many businesses are not being informed on what they will need to do if we leave the EU. Defra acknowledged that it had sent out more detailed communications later than it should have.

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I recently hosted an event with Afruca, a charity set up to tackle the exploitation of children particularly from the African diaspora. This event focused on tackling modern slavery and human trafficking in Europe. We heard about progress to tackle modern slavery in Malta, India, Ghana and Nigeria. Afruca also used this event to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Anti-Trafficking Agency (NAPTIP). It is important that in Hackney we play a role in raising awareness of the issue of modern slavery. 

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There are many places of interest in Hackney that may not be so well known. If you would like to recommend a hidden gem in Hackney to feature please let me know.


Hackney’s floating church

I recently attended an event where the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, officially launched the St Columba community’s new barge. However, they have a more exciting addition coming soon: a permanent floating church coming in the summer of 2019.

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Last Saturday I hosted a coffee morning at Pembury Community Centre in Hackney Central. I was joined by the Mayor of Hackney, Phillip Glanville, and Councillors Caroline Selman, Vincent Stops and Sophie Conway.

Hearing your feedback and discussing local issues is very important to me. Please look out for my next coffee morning or roving surgery near you. 

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Last week I highlighted the Department for Transport lack of grip on the cost and delivery of decent rail infrastructure in this country, following a series of failures including cancellations of electrifications, HS2 costs and the delay of Crossrail.

The knock on effect of delays and failures affect my constituents and people up and down the country

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