Helen speaks in debate on Health and Social Care Levy

Everyone who relies on or works in social care has been waiting for far too long for urgently needed increased funding and reform. We need action to ensure everyone who needs care, both working-age adults and older people, can access the care they need; to address the staffing and funding crisis in social care, and to ensure everyone has a voice in their own care.

Last week the Government announced an increase in National Insurance contributions to raise money for the NHS and social care, a tax increase which will hit younger working people the hardest, including the same low paid workers who are the backbone of our social care system who will now face a cut in their take home pay.  But the Government has failed to explain how the funding raised will benefit social care, or when the social care sector will receive it, and it has failed to produce a plan for the reforms that are urgently needed. 

This simply isn’t good enough.  The Government has neglected social care for more than a decade, and now they are ignoring many years of considered cross-party work on options for reform in favour of a half-baked plan which will not deliver the change that is urgently needed. You can see my speech from earlier this week below >>

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Afghanistan Update

I am continuing to be contacted by many constituents whose loved ones are trapped in Afghanistan in fear for their lives. I have repeatedly written to Ministers and Government departments but have yet to receive any substantive responses. The Government’s response to the crisis in Afghanistan has been shambolic with no clear plan for the evacuation or for the processing of applications from people left behind. On Wednesday, I voted to set up a parliamentary inquiry to look into the Government’s actions, to hold Ministers accountable and to learn the lessons for future crises. The situation remains desperate for so many families, and I am clear that the government must do far more. You can see my recent question to the Minister below >>

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Universal Credit Opposition Day Debate

Today, I voted against the Government’s appalling cut to Universal Credit which is cruel, illogical and unnecessary. The cut will cost 5,092 families on low incomes across Dulwich and West Norwood £20 a week forcing them further into poverty and hardship. It will take away £13m which would be spent in our local shops, and will leave some of the keyworkers including care workers, shop staff and classroom assistants facing a terrible choice between heating their homes this winter or putting food on the table. 

The Government has had more than a decade to address the causes of poverty.  They should be raising the minimum wage to the level of the real living wage, tackling the cost of housing and childcare and putting an end to insecure work and zero hours contracts. #cancelthecut

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Health and Social Care Levy Bill second reading debate

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Helen calls on the Prime Minister to give care workers a proper pay rise

This evening, Parliament will vote on the Government’s plans to increase national insurance to provide additional funding for health and social care.

Funding is desperately needed, but the Prime Minister’s announcement gave no clue as to when the social care sector would receive it, made no reference to the structural problems in social care or the scandal of low pay for care workers, who now face a cut to their take home pay.

The social care crisis can only be resolved by addressing the staffing crisis in the sector – giving care workers a proper pay rise and improving their conditions at work. You can see my question following the Prime Minister’s announcement below >>

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Helen calls on the Prime Minister to get a grip on the crisis in Afghanistan

Many of my constituents are desperately worried about their loved ones in Afghanistan who were left behind when the evacuation ended last week and are now in grave danger from the Taliban. I have been raising these urgent cases with Ministers but the response from the government is completely chaotic. I called on the Prime Minister to get a grip on this crisis, but his response was just more flannel. My constituents whose loved ones are in fear for their lives deserve so much better than this >>


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Crisis in Afghanistan

I am grateful to the hundreds of constituents who have contacted me in recent days about the appalling events unfolding in Afghanistan. 

An urgent priority for me and my small team is, and will continue to be, supporting constituents who are stuck in Afghanistan or desperately worried about family and friends who are there.  If you or a family member needs help, please email [email protected] and I will do everything I can to support you.

I was in the House of Commons Chamber yesterday for the full seven hours of debate on Afghanistan.  I had hoped to speak, but the debate was oversubscribed, and I was very disappointed not to be called.  I have therefore set out below my thoughts on the current situation and the issues on which I will continue to press the government in the coming weeks and months.

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Exam results 2021

Today students across the country will receive their A-Level results whilst GCSE results will be released later this week. These students have faced an incredibly difficult time and significant disruption to their education during two important school years because of the pandemic. 

I am proud of all of the young people in my constituency who have worked so hard, despite the disruption. Congratulations to everyone who has received the results you hoped for in these difficult circumstances.  If you haven’t received the results you hoped for, please understand that these exam results will not be the single thing that defines you, and there will be other opportunities to pursue your goals and plans.

This year the Government replaced the disastrous algorithm used to calculate last year’s results, with a system based on teacher assessment, moderated by exam boards. If you are unhappy with your grades, it is important to speak with your school or college as soon as possible to begin the appeals process.

Good luck to everyone receiving results this week!

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Helen’s response to the Boundary Commission for England Consultation on new Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries

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Have your say on new Parliamentary constituency boundaries

The Boundary Commission for England has published its initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries and there is an important opportunity to have your say. You can find out more here: BCE Consultation Portal (bcereviews.org.uk)

What is the Boundary Commission for England and what does it do?

The Boundary Commission for England is an independent body established by Parliament to review Parliamentary constituency boundaries periodically.  The main purpose of the review is to even out the number of electors living in each constituency in England so that each MP represents similar numbers of residents.

This review is long overdue, as a result of a plan by the Government to reduce the overall number of constituencies which was abandoned at the last stage before implementation.  The review needs to happen, and the new constituencies will be implemented in July 2023.  General elections held after this date will be held with the new constituency boundaries in place.

What do the Boundary Commission’s proposals mean for Dulwich and West Norwood?

The current Boundary Commission proposals are bad for our area.  They abolish the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency, and split our area between four separate new Parliamentary constituencies.  This breaks long-held community ties, would result in several local communities being divided between different Parliamentary constituencies and could reduce the quality of parliamentary representation some communities have in the future.

Specifically, the proposals are as follows:

The Dulwich wards of Dulwich Village, Dulwich Wood, Dulwich Hill and Goose Green would join a new ‘Dulwich and Sydenham’ constituency, the rest of which is in the London Borough of Lewisham.

Herne Hill and Coldharbour wards would join a new ‘Clapham and Brixton’ constituency.

Thurlow Park ward would join a newly configured Streatham constituency.

Knight’s Hill and Gipsy Hill wards would join a new ‘Norwood’ constituency, the rest of which is in the London Borough of Croydon.

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