10 days to ensure that Britain Remains in Europe

In ten days’ time, we will take part in the most important vote in a generation to decide whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union.  I am campaigning hard with local Labour councillors and party members for the UK to remain in the EU because of the many positive benefits this brings in terms of our economy, security, environmental protection and workers’ rights; and because I believe profoundly that we are always better off working through challenges and differences together.  There are many opportunities to campaign in Dulwich and West Norwood over the next ten days.  Please join me and other members of our local Labour Party in speaking to voters in our constituency, where support for the EU is high and we need to make sure that as many people as possible vote on 23 June.  The dates and times of campaigning sessions are here:

 

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Help Needed for Isaac's Bone Marrow Transplant

Over recent weeks, I have been working on behalf of Isaac Aganozor, who was diagnosed last year with Leukaemia. Isaac’s prognosis is not good - he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at St Bartholomew’s Hospital but is in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. Despite a full search of the donor register in the UK, the only option for Isaac is a bone marrow donation from his brother Patrick, who lives in Nigeria.

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Carnegie Library Update - April 2016

We have seen in Herne Hill over the past two weeks an extraordinary expression of support for a much loved and valued local facility, the Carnegie Library.  I have received almost a hundred emails and many tweets from constituents about Carnegie, and the strength of feeling has come as no surprise.  People have told me all of the things that they love and hold dear about Carnegie – a valued local library for both adults and children, the beautiful listed building, the wealth of activities that take place there, access to books and the flights of imagination, possibility and opportunity which flow from them, the quality of the light and the spaces inside, access to computers – particularly for young people who need space to study independently - and perhaps most of all, and capturing all of those things, the fact that Carnegie is a space which brings people together – young and old, from all backgrounds in a world in which such spaces and opportunities are increasingly limited.

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Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library in Herne Hill will close temporarily today.  Many local residents have been in touch with me about Carnegie and I know that there is a great deal of anxiety locally about the temporary closure and plans for the future of Carnegie.

I am absolutely committed to seeing the Carnegie Library retained as a library at the heart of our community and put on a sustainable financial footing for the long term.  I have set out below my understanding of the current situation and the important next steps in securing the future of Carnegie.

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Piecemeal and Regressive: my response to the 2016 Budget

Yesterday George Osborne revealed his hand as a cynical showman, a master of smoke and mirrors, and a failure on his own terms.  The statistics the Chancellor used in his speech to claim success on debt reduction disguise the central, critical facts – public sector debt as a proportion of GDP is not reducing at the target rate the government itself has set, and he has breached his own fiscal rule.

Look behind the headlines, and this is a budget that is fraught with hidden impacts.  Overall it will benefit the most affluent, at a time when so many on low and middle incomes are struggling. The British economy clearly looks weaker than it did in November, growth forecasts have been cut every year until 2020 and borrowing is now higher than predicted.

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Supporting Brixton Arches Traders - Update

I have been consistent in my support for the Brixton Arches Traders since Network Rail began consulting last year on proposals to terminate their existing leases in order to undertake a major refurbishment programme.  There is no doubt that the arches are in a poor state of repair and that work needs to be done, but it is extremely disappointing that at every stage, Network Rail have failed to listen and respond to the concerns that the traders have expressed and are continuing to progress a scheme which has the potential to have a devastating impact on Brixton town centre.  Network Rail recently submitted a planning application for the works they wish to undertake.  I have written to the Council to object the planning application.  Please see the full text of my letter below:

Brixton Railway Arches, Planning Application Objection

I am writing to make a formal objection to the planning application reference 16/00868/FUL submitted by Network Rail for the railway arches on Brixton Station Road and Atlantic Road.  I have met with many of the businesses who occupy the arches, and with Network Rail on a number of occasions during the preparation of the planning application, and I am concerned that the issues that have been raised by the businesses have not been adequately addressed.

The Brixton railway arches are home to approximately 50 businesses in my constituency, and support approximately 150 full and part time jobs.  The majority of the businesses have been in the arches for a very long time, and the business owners and staff are drawn from a very diverse range of backgrounds.  The arches are integral to the identity of Brixton town centre, the businesses serve our local area extremely well, and they are a key part of the community in Brixton.

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Opposing Train Station Ticket Office Closures

Govia Thamelink Railway which now has responsibility for the majority of stations in my constituency is proposing to close the ticket offices at Gipsy Hill, Tulse Hill, West Norwood and Loughborough Junction, as well as Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye which are outside the constituency but used by many residents.  Many residents have contacted me to express their concerns about these proposals.  I think that it is entirely unacceptable for GTR to be cutting ticket offices when we are experiencing such poor rail services with daily delays, cancellations and overcrowding.  Please see below the full text of the letter that I have written to GTR today:

‘Modernising Stations’ Consultation

I am writing on behalf of my constituents to respond to the current consultation on the ‘Modernising Stations’ proposals.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to discuss my concerns with you at the recent drop in session for Members of Parliament.

As the Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood I represent residents and businesses across Dulwich, West Norwood and parts of Brixton, Camberwell and Crystal Palace. Of the stations at which it is proposed to close ticket offices, Loughborough Junction, Tulse Hill, Gipsy Hill and West Norwood lie within my constituency, while residents from my constituency also use both Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye stations.

Based on the feedback that I have received from many local residents I am opposed to these proposals.

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South London Cares

South London Cares is an extraordinary organisation working in my constituency and beyond, that links young people in our community with older people who would benefit from company, entertainment and an enriched social life. I recently wrote the following blog for their website.  Please get involved and lend a hand if you have time, it's a rewarding enriching experience for everyone:

As the new MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, I see every day the enormous strength and talents of so many people and groups from our local communities in my part of South London.

But I also know that there are many challenges facing our neighbourhoods. One of the less talked about aspects of the housing crisis is the weakening of the day-to-day support some older people receive as their families are dispersed because younger generations can no longer afford to live in the area they grew up in. The NHS and our local councils also face serious challenges when it comes to the resourcing of social care and support for older people.

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My views on Syria

I have received hundreds of emails about the situation in Syria asking for my views on the government’s proposal that the UK should join coalition forces and undertake airstrikes in Syria. I am grateful to everyone who has got in touch to share their views, both for and against airstrikes and those who have thoughtfully set out the complexity of the decision and the finely balanced nature of the arguments.

I attended the Prime Minister’s statement on Syria in Parliament last week, participated fully in the discussions and debates within the Parliamentary Labour Party, have been briefed by senior military officers and have listened carefully to the views of all of the local residents who have contacted me about this matter.  I am writing to set out my views and my voting intention.

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Why We Need to Support Our Solar Industry

The government is proposing to cut the subsidy for solar energy by a shocking 87% in one go.  This is an irresponsible decision to make at a time when reducing carbon emissions in order to address climate change could not be more pressing.  The solar industry supports 35,000 jobs in the UK, up to 20,000 of which would be threatened by this proposed cut. I have written to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change asking her to think again about cutting the support for solar energy.  Please see the text of my letter below:

Dear Ms Rudd, 

CONSULTATION ON THE SOLAR FEED IN TARIFF (FIT)

I am writing in response to the government’s consultation on the feed in tariff scheme, and specifically the proposal to cut the feed in tariff by up to 87%, coming after the decision in September to stop pre-accreditation.  I have received a very significant level of correspondence in opposition to these proposals from my constituents, from local and national businesses and also have very strong personal concerns about these proposals.

The growth of solar energy has been a huge British success story since 2010 and installation costs have reduced by over 70%.  The Feed In Tariff has underpinned this success, providing 700,000 homes with low-cost, carbon free electricity and helping to create 35,000 jobs, almost all of them in small and medium enterprises.  There is little disagreement that the Feed In Tariff can come down as the cost of installing solar continue to fall, but I have very serious concerns about the extent and timing of the proposed reduction

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