Helen calls on the Minister to act to prevent the harassment of women and girls

In December, the Law Commission recommended that the Government should review the need for a specific offence to tackle public sexual harassment. This is a vital first step in ensuring that the vast scale of these offences can be properly recorded and those who harass women and girls in our streets and public spaces every day can be prosecuted.

The Prime Minister is as out of touch on this issue as he is on everything else and has indicated that he believes existing laws are sufficient despite the overwhelming evidence of widespread harassment, the frustration of so many women at the lack of action and support and the recommendation of the Law Commission. Last week, I called on the Minister for Women and Equalities to commit to a review so that action can be taken without further delay. You can see my question here>>

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Royal Mail Survey

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding Royal Mail’s appalling local service. Residents in many areas of Dulwich and West Norwood constituency have been experiencing severe delays and missing parcels and post in recent weeks.  It is clear that Royal Mail have not had robust contingency plans for sickness absence over the busiest time of year, and services have been stretched far too thinly.  Our posties are working flat out, but they are being let down by the management of Royal Mail.

This disruption has serious consequences for residents and I’ve heard appalling stories of important and irreplaceable documents being lost, medical appointments missed, and bills mounting up because they haven’t been delivered.  I am continuing to raise these issues with Royal Mail and with Ofcom, and to call on Royal Mail urgently to invest in our local services to restore reliability as soon as possible.

Services have been particularly disrupted in the SE22 postcode area, compounded by the decision to close the SE22 delivery office on Silvester Road in 2018.  Along with local Labour councillors, I led the protests against this decision at the time, warning that it would prove impossible for reliable services to be maintained for SE22 residents if staff were based on Highshore Road.  Sadly we have been proved right, and we continue to campaign for Royal Mail to open a new delivery office in a location which is accessible to SE22 residents.

Along with local Labour councillors, I have created a survey to gather evidence on the experiences of local people of postal delivery services, to help us to demonstrate the extent of the problems to Royal Mail and the government. Please tell us about your experience here

 

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Helen challenges the Minister on Downing Street parties during lockdown

Ruby Fuller was a remarkable young woman and former Head Girl at Charter North Dulwich secondary school, who lived by the motto ‘Live Kindly, Live Loudly’.  Ruby tragically died from cancer aged 18 on 15 May 2020. As a result of the tight lockdown restrictions in place at the time, Ruby’s friends were unable to say goodbye in person and only ten people were allowed to attend her funeral.

On the day that Ruby died, the Prime Minister and his wife sat in the garden at 10 Downing Street enjoying cheese and wine with colleagues, and Just five days later we now know that more than 100 staff were invited to a party, encouraged to bring their own booze. Such events were unequivocally in breach of the Covid regulations at the time, which so many people across the country, including Ruby’s family, adhered to despite enduring unimaginable personal grief and distress. 

The Prime Minister was too cowardly to show his face in the House of Commons today to answer questions about the parties in his home, so I asked the Minister he sent to represent him, what he had to say to Ruby’s family and friends >>

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Helen visits the Norwood and Brixton Food Bank

Food poverty in our local area is shockingly high directly because of this government’s shameful policies, including the £20 a week cut in Universal Credit. I’ll keep challenging this unacceptable approach, which is leaving more and more of my constituents unable to make ends meet.

The staff and volunteers at Brixton and Norwood Foodbank are working harder than ever to ensure no-one goes without food and other essentials this winter.

Last week, I visited the foodbank to see their extraordinary efforts. You can see a short film from my visit and learn how to support the food bank below.  Please do support our local foodbank if you can >>

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Hondo Tower - December 2021 Objections

I have been contacted by many constituents who are concerned about the planning application for a 20 storey tower on Pope’s Road in Brixton submitted by Hondo Enterprises.

This application will be decided by the Mayor of London and I have written to the Mayor on behalf of my constituents to set out my objection to this application.

The proposed tower is more than twice the height of other local buildings.  There is no planning policy justification for such a tall building in central Brixton, which would dominate the skyline and overshadow existing homes and businesses. 

The design of the building is bland. It does not celebrate or enhance the identity of Brixton, and it is not designed to the highest possible environmental standards.

I urge the Mayor to refuse this application. It isn’t good enough for Brixton.

You can read my full letter here>>

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Helen calls on the Minister to work with the Mayor to save TfL services

There is now just one day until Transport for London’s emergency funding runs out.

London is the only capital city in Europe with a public transport system so overwhelmingly reliant on passenger fares to operate. 

Not a penny of the Vehicle Excise Duty paid by Londoners being spent on London’s roads or public transport. The reduction in passengers throughout the pandemic has led to a dramatic fall in revenue and this is now putting London’s public transport at risk.

The Mayor of London has been working hard to engage government Ministers to provide the support TfL needs, but the Government has only ever given piece meal temporary packages with terms which punish Londoners reliant on public transport.

The Government must stop playing politics with TfL and urgently work with the Mayor and agree a package which works for London to save tube and bus services, which are vital for London’s economy and vital for tackling climate change.

You can see my question to the Secretary of State for Transport here >>

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Helen challenges the Minister on the delayed SEND review

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Helen leads debate paying tribute to the work of King's College Hospital throughout the pandemic

The work of King’s College Hospital’s staff throughout the pandemic has been extraordinary. Despite overwhelming pressures, the care and commitment of the staff at King’s ensured some of the best Covid-19 patient outcomes anywhere in the country. As well as the compassionate care King’s provided for local people, the hospital contributed hugely to the national Covid-19 response through vital research and innovation. I am so very grateful for all of their work.

Staff at King’s are already working hard to clear the backlog in treatment caused by the pandemic, but this work needs to be properly supported by Government. This must include on-going support to help burnt-out staff recover from the pandemic and sustained long term investment to upgrade hospital facilities and equipment. Today, I paid tribute to the tireless work of staff at King’s and urged the Government to commit to the additional resources needed to recover from the pandemic.

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Helen calls on the Minister to give a pay rise to social care staff

The Adult Social Care sector is facing an urgent staffing crisis with more than 100,000 vacancies across the country and staff who have been burnt out by the pandemic leaving the profession for better paid work in retail or distribution.  This has terrible consequences both for the NHS and for vulnerable people who cannot access the care they need.

Urgent action is needed now to stem the loss of valued social care staff. Yesterday, I asked the government to fund an immediate retention bonus and a permanent pay rise for social care staff. You can see my question here > >

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Health and Care Bill

I am so grateful to our NHS and social care staff for their tireless work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been on the frontline, often risking their own health to care for our loved ones. A decade of Tory cuts and neglect left our health and care systems unprepared for the pandemic. Staff now face an incredibly difficult winter trying to clear record waiting lists whilst Covid-19 rates remain high.

It is shameful that in the middle of the biggest crisis the NHS has faced, the Government is rushing through an unnecessary top down reorganization in the Health and Care Bill. The Bill will do nothing to solve the NHS workforce crisis  and will open the NHS up to increased privatisation by allowing profit-driven businesses to sit on local NHS boards.

The Bill also fails to deliver desperately needed reform of social care. The sector needs long-term sustainable funding and to be put on a parity of esteem with the NHS. More than 2 million people who are eligible for care are already not receiving any help at all with vacancies in the sector continuing to grow. Staff need a proper pay rise and the opportunity to build a career in social care.

The Bill is an unnecessary distraction from the urgent problems facing the NHS and social care sector. I will be voting against the Bill and will continue to call for the support our health and care staff need.

 

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