Emergency debate on the UK's International Development budget

Frustratingly, I was too far down the speaker list in yesterday's emergency debate on the International Development budget in the House of Commons to be called to speak, so I’ve published the speech I had prepared instead.  You can read the full speech here >>

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Windsor Grove and Southwark Metal's planning application

I have been contacted by hundreds of my constituents who are concerned about the planning application by Southwark Metals for a metal recycling centre on Windsor Grove in West Norwood. Thank you to everyone who has been in touch.

Windsor Grove is a completely unacceptable location for a metal recycling facility. The development would bring hundreds of trucks every week onto a narrow cul-de-sac with housing on one side and the local Royal Mail delivery office other, as well as on to other local roads.  There are several schools in the local area, and these plans would increase danger on our local roads.

I joined around 200 local residents, Norwood Action Group and Norwood Forum at the #ScrapTheYard protest yesterday.  Together with all the local Labour ward councillors, I have written to Lambeth Council to object to this application on behalf of local residents.  You can watch my short film about this application and read our joint objection here >>  

 

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Helen calls on the Prime Minister to support a global minimum rate of corporate tax

President Biden’s plan for a global minimum rate of corporate tax is a once in a generation opportunity to stop tax avoidance by large multinationals. Online giants, like Amazon, saw huge increases in sales over the past year but paid hardly any tax in the UK. They undercut British businesses who pay their fair share of tax and leave our high streets struggling. President Biden’s plan would mean an additional £13.5bn a year extra to invest in public services and make sure we have thriving high streets and town centres at the heart of our communities.

This week, the Labour Party forced a vote in Parliament calling on the Government to support this plan when the G7 meets next month. The Tories voted against this amendment, shamefully siding with tax avoiders over British businesses and communities. You can see my question to the Prime Minister, and his obfuscating non-answer here >>

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Helen speaks in the Queen's Speech Debate

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Helen leads debate on Social Care and the Covid-19 pandemic

Throughout the pandemic care workers continued to provide care and support to our most vulnerable loved ones, even as the virus brought devastation to care homes.   Despite the words of Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, there was no ‘protective ring’ around care homes.  Staff struggled for months to access PPE and Covid testing, and a shortage of tests meant that hospitals continued to discharge Covid-positive patients into care homes where they spread infection.  I have heard harrowing accounts from care workers of their grief and fear as they saw colleagues and residents contracting the virus. Yet so many went above and beyond the call of duty, leaving their families to move into care homes, to avoid the risk of bringing the infection in from outside, comforting residents who were unable to see family and friends, and going to great lengths to help residents to maintain contact through FaceTime or Zoom.  No-one should be paid less than the living wage for this work which requires skill, commitment and compassion. 

In 2019, Boris Johnson promised he had a comprehensive plans ready to go to reform the social care system. Almost two years later, and after more than a decade of detailed cross party work by select committees, all-party parliamentary groups, think tanks and others, there has been no progress at all.  We hear today just the briefest mention of social care in the Queen’s Speech, when it should be centre-stage.  This simply isn’t good enough, the Government must urgently work to build cross-party agreement on a plan for social care reform, a long term, sustainable funding settlement and a proper pay rise for social care workers.  I recently led a debate in Parliament on social care.  You can see my recent speech here>>

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Helen writes to the Foreign Secretary regarding the violence at Al-Aqsa mosque and the eviction of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah

I am deeply concerned about the escalating violence in East Jerusalem. The brutal attacks on worshippers in the Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan are wholly unacceptable. The evictions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah in breach of international law must stop. I have written urgently to the Foreign Secretary to call on him to engage with the Israeli government and work with international partners to end the immediate violence and re-start a meaningful peace process. You can read my letter below>>

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Statement on the planning application for Hardess Street/Wellfit Street/Hinton Road in Loughborough Junction

I have been contacted by many constituents in Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction about the planning application for a 29 storey tower and a 20 storey tower on Hardess Street/Wellfit Street and Hinton Road. I have previously opposed this development and I continue to believe that these proposals are wholly unsuitable for the local area. Along with local Labour councillors, Cllr Jim Dickson and Cllr Pauline George, I have written again to Lambeth Council to object to the development.

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Helen speaks in debate on Black maternal healthcare and mortality

Skin colour should have absolutely no correlation with maternal health, yet in the UK, the shocking reality is that Black women are over four times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth; women of mixed heritage are three times more likely; and Asian women are twice as likely.
 
The factors contributing to maternal mortality rates are complex. We know that far too many Black women feel that their concerns during pregnancy are not listened to, whilst low income and insecure work can force some women into unsafe situations. The racial disparity in maternal health must be urgently addressed and the Government must start by listening to the lived experience of Black women, Asian women and women of mixed heritage – not by publishing a report which denies the reality of structural racism. You can see a clip of my recent speech here >>
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Helen speaks in debate on asylum accommodation

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Helen calls on the Minister to support the work of London's Violence Reduction Unit

Under Sadiq Khan’s leadership, the London Violence Reduction Unit, established in 2019, has began important work to reduce violence, including knife and gun crime, in Lambeth and Southwark. This includes funding and supporting inspirational projects and organisations based in Brixton and other parts of my constituency.

Violent crime is preventable, but this can only be achieved by creating positive opportunities for young people and tackling the underlying causes of crime. This will not be quick or easy, and needs a long term strategy. Yet, currently the Government will only fund VRUs one year at a time making it impossible to plan long-term interventions. Last month, I called on the Minister to provide the multi-year sustainable funding needed for the VRU to succeed>>

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