Helen speaks in Environment Bill debate

The Environment Bill is the first of a raft of legislation needed because of Brexit. The Tories have promised again and again that Brexit won’t result in any drop in the environmental standards and protections we have derived from the EU, yet they are refusing to include non-regression clauses which would guarantee this in the Bill. I spoke in the Second Reading debate this week on the many aspects of the Bill, including air pollution, plastic pollution & biodiversity recovery which are too weak at present and need to be strengthened to ensure that the Bill is an adequate response to the climate and ecological crisis.

 

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Helen challenges the Government on accommodation for autistic people and people with learning disabilities

This week the Equalities and Human Rights Commission announced that it is taking legal action against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for the failure to move autistic people and people with learning disabilities into appropriate accommodation. This is unprecedented, and the failures that have led to it truly appalling. I challenged the government to apologise to more than 2,000 families whose loved ones are trapped in inappropriate hospital accommodation and to take action now to stop this failure. You can watch here >>

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Helen speaks in debate on the Windrush Compensation Scheme

When Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948, around 200 of the passengers found temporary accommodation in the Clapham Deep Shelter, and came to Coldharbour Lane in my constituency to find work at the Labour Exchange. From there many settled in the Brixton area, becoming an integral and highly valued part of our community. The scandal of the UK government’s treatment of many Windrush citizens has had a devastating impact on many of my constituents – residents from Commonwealth countries for whom the UK is home, many of whom came here as British citizens, who were denied their status by the Home Office. I’ve seen the devastation that this injustice has caused at first hand, for constituents who have been deported, denied the right to work or claim benefits or access healthcare.

Since the Windrush Scandal came to light, it has become clear that the government’s response is wholly inadequate. My constituents are finding it far too difficult to claim compensation and the government has done far too little to make the scheme accessible. As a result, the government is compounding the injustice that Windrush citizens are suffering. This week I spoke on the Windrush Compensation Scheme calling for both urgent action and emergency legislation to end the injustice Windrush victims face and to allow access to the compensation they deserve. Windrush victims and their families have suffered enough, the breach of trust in the Home Office has been profound, and the government must now listen and act to provide justice and rebuild trust.

Many Windrush citizens have turned to organisations they trust for help and advice, including the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) instead of the Home Office. BCA and other trusted organisations should not be expected to provide this advice for free. Since 2018, I’ve challenged the Government to provide funding to trusted local community organisations to support Windrush victims because this is key to ensuring that everyone who is eligible for compensation is able to claim, yet they have refused to do so. This week, I spoke in the Windrush Compensation Bill second reading debate. I highlighted the multiple ways in which the government continues to fail Windrush citizens, and called the urgent change our community needs. You can watch my speech here >>

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Helen speaks in Queen's Speech Debate on Adult Social Care

This week I spoke in the Queen’s Speech debate calling for urgent reform of our broken social care system, which has been failed by the Tories for a decade. In Dulwich and West Norwood, and across the country, far too many families are being failed because the social care system is stretched to breaking point.

Across the country Tory cuts mean that many councils, including Tory-run councils like Somerset, are struggling with stretched budgets and facing difficult daily decisions to cut care packages or to raise the threshold to qualify for support. The consequences are heartbreaking, with a million people who are eligible for care are not receiving any support.

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General Election 2019: Helen's Brexit pledge

During the 2016 EU Referendum I led the campaign for remain in Dulwich and West Norwood, working as hard as I have in any election in which my name was on the ballot paper. Since the EU referendum, I have been the strongest possible voice for the pro-remain views in our area.

I have always supported a People’s Vote with the option to remain as the only democratic and responsible way through the Brexit crisis. I voted for a People's Vote in December 2017 when only 23 MPs voted for it and have consistently supported amendments to hold a referendum before any general election.

In this election the Labour Party is clear: Labour will give the people the final say on Brexit with the option to remain. Labour will hold a confirmatory ballot with remain on the ballot paper within six months of taking office. No matter what form of Brexit is on the ballot paper, I will again lead the campaign to remain in the European Union in our area.

I am the strongest Remain candidate standing in Dulwich and West Norwood and am pleased that all five main Remain campaigns are recommending that Remain voters support me in the General Election, including the People's Vote campaign, Best for Britain, Remain United and #TacticalVote.

A vote for me in the General Election is a vote to stop Boris Johnson and for a People’s Vote in which I will campaign for remain.

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General Election 2019: Labour's National Education Service

We have brilliant schools in Dulwich and West Norwood, but they have suffered the worst cuts under the Tories and Lib Dems anywhere in the country. Our schools have on average lost £771 per pupil since 2010, and after nearly a decade of austerity our local schools face a shortfall of £10.9M next year.

As both a parent of school age children and in my work as a MP for the past four years, I have seen the amazing work our teachers and support staff do on a daily basis in our area despite overwhelming challenges and limited resources.

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General Election 2019: Labour's NHS Promise

Statistics published this week reveal the damage the Tories and Lib Dems have done to our NHS with the worst ever performance for A&E waiting and waiting lists for routine surgery now at 4.4million.

Our local NHS staff at King’s College Hospital and across Dulwich and West Norwood work incredibly hard every day to provide the vital care we all rely on, but they have been consistently let down by this Government, cutting budgets and increasing privatisation. King's now faces the worst financial crisis of any NHS hospital trust in the country, with more than half a billion pounds of debt. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement of paltry additional funding for the NHS is simply not enough to reverse the impact of a decade of austerity. Our NHS and its staff deserve better.

The Labour Party has announced a rescue package to protect our NHS for future generations. Labour would invest £40 billion to recruit 5,000 more GPs and 28,000 extra nurses, midwives and health visitors to end the long delays to appointments and treatments. We would rebuild crumbling hospitals and ensure that everyone has access to modern equipment to improve cancer care. Labour would invest in mental health care and put this on a parity of esteem with physical health services.

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General Election 2019: Helen launches her campaign

It is the greatest honour to have served as Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood in Parliament since 2015, during one of the most turbulent periods in recent memory. I am proud to represent our diverse, internationalist and outward-looking communities and I hope once again that you will lend me your support on 12 December to continue representing you in Parliament.

Ten years of Tory and Lib Dem austerity have devastated so many in our communities. In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing Labour's radical vision for transformative change in our country. It’s time for real change which only a Labour government can deliver.

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Helen speaks in debate on the Domestic Abuse bill

One of the reasons I am pleased to be back in Parliament following the Supreme Court decision last week, is that it allows the Domestic Abuse Bill to be progressed.  This important legislation, which has cross-party support, will ensure that the legal framework of protection for victims and survivors of domestic abuse is strengthened.  But we need to ensure that the new Bill is right in every detail. 

There is clear evidence of the link between domestic abuse and homelessness. Last year an estimated 23,430 families who were at risk of homelessness had experienced some form of domestic abuse, whilst one in five of Crisis’ women clients report that domestic abuse was the direct cause of their homelessness. In my work, I regularly support people attempting to flee or recover from domestic abuse but who are held back due to difficulties accessing secure housing. Under current UK law, being a survivor of domestic abuse does not automatically qualify someone for priority status for housing. Today, I called on the Government to ensure the Domestic Abuse Bill reforms this ongoing injustice and provides sustainable funding for local councils to provide secure housing for survivors of domestic abuse.

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Helen challenges the Chancellor on hedge funds betting on a no-deal Brexit

Today I questioned the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the scandal of speculators shorting the pound in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit. Recent evidence has suggested that several hedge funds and wealthy individuals have increasingly bet against the pound and British businesses, since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. Many of these funds have made significant donations to the Conservative Party and to the Prime Minister’s leadership campaign. Shockingly, instead of responding to scrutiny with transparency, the Chancellor simply refused outright to answer my question. It is unacceptable for the Government’s wealthy donors to be cashing in whilst small businesses across the country face the economic calamity of no deal.  

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