Israel-Gaza urgent question

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Helen speaks in King's Speech debate on the conflict in Israel and Gaza

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Helen responds to the crisis in Israel and Gaza

Helen responds to the crisis in Israel and Gaza

In recent weeks we have been watching with horror the scenes of unimaginable human pain and suffering from the Middle East. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible conflict.

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Helen leads debate on the treatment of LGBT+ people in social care

This week, I’ve highlighted in Parliament the concerning issue of homophobic abuse in adult social care.  I spoke about the experience of my constituents Ted Brown and his partner of 49 years Noel Glynn.

Noel was placed in a care home in Croydon after developing dementia in older age. He then suffered abhorrent homophobic abuse from staff, who also refused to recognise Ted as his civil partner.  

No-one should have to fear that their sexuality or gender identity might result in such abuse if they need social care, but this is the reality many LGBTQ+ people continue to face. The government and the CQC must take action to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected in care and that care providers are held accountable when abuse occurs. You can see part of my speech here>>

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Helen introduces Bill to end the marketing of vapes to children

Last week I introduced a new Bill in Parliament to end the marketing of vapes to children. We are seeing a staggering rise in the number of children and young people who are vaping. Recent research suggests the number of children trying e-cigarettes has risen by 50% in the last three years.

It is already illegal to sell vaping products to under eighteens, but the marketing strategy of nicotine firms is clear. Vapes are being designed specifically to appeal to children and young people, with bright colours, cartoon mascots and flavours like gummy bears and cherry cola.  

Smoking remains a grave risk to health and e-cigarettes have an important role to play in supporting smoking cessation – but they aren’t harmless. Last year 40 children were admitted to hospital for vaping-related disorders, whilst teachers across the country are increasingly having to manage the impact of nicotine addiction in the classroom.

The government has promised action on the marketing of vapes to children, but they have been reluctant to deliver the legislative change that is needed, perhaps unsurprising when we see that they are accepting donations from a company which makes vaping products designed to appeal to children.  If this government won’t act, a Labour government will.  You can see part of my speech here>>

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Helen questions the Minister on the quality of childcare

I've met with nurseries and childminders from across the country who are desperately worried about how the early years sector will scale up to meet the government’s planned expansion of childcare. The government’s only suggestions so far have been to relax the number of staff caring for children and the qualifications of staff – plans which experts believe could undermine the quality of care.

High quality early years education is essential in improving life outcomes and breaking down the barriers which hold children back as they grow up. Early years staff already work hard to provide the best quality of care but they need a government which puts quality at the heart of the system. You can see my question from yesterday here>>

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Save our ticket offices

The government announced plans last week to close thousands of ticket offices at stations across the country.  The train operating companies have now launched a rushed consultation exercise, giving passengers just 21 days to respond.

The plans will see the ticket offices in all but one of Dulwich & West Norwood’s train stations closed, leaving passengers unable to access help to purchase tickets.  One in eight tickets are still purchased from a ticket office, where staff are also a useful source of travel advice and assistance.  These plans have not been the subject of any equalities impact assessment, but they will have the greatest impacts on disabled passengers and older people.  Staff are worried about what this means for their job security.


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Helen calls on the government to protect bereaved families from tenancy guarantor schemes

In May, a first year university student from my constituency tragically died by suicide. He had already signed a contract with a private lettings agency for accommodation for his second year with his parents acting as a guarantor. Despite knowing of the devastating circumstances, the lettings agency are shamefully pursuing the bereaved family for rent payments.

In addition to the devastating loss of their son, my constituent’s parents now face severe financial hardship. Today I called on the Deputy Prime Minister to act to ensure bereaved families are protected from this cruel practice >>

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Helen speaks in debate on Tory mortgage premium

9,400 households in Dulwich and West Norwood are facing a mortgage cliff edge this year as fixed term mortgages come to an end, facing an average increase in payments of £6,300 a year as they negotiate new deals.

At the same time, private renters locally are seeing their rents continuing to spiral to wholly unaffordable levels, often accompanied by the threat of a section 21 eviction if they refuse to sign up to the higher level of rent. 

My constituents are already facing sharp increases in food and energy bills, and I know how worried many people are about how they will keep a roof over their head.  

The Prime Minister’s shameful response to this crisis is to tell people to “hold your nerve”. It was the Conservative Party’s recklessness which has driven interest rates to record highs and now they are refusing to act.

Without robust action, families across my constituency are facing the risk of insecurity and homelessness. Labour has set out a comprehensive plan to provide real help to homeowners and protections for private renters. You can see my speech in Parliament here >>

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Windrush 75 in Lambeth

Last Thursday, 22 June, was the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks.

It is an incredibly important anniversary for my constituency of Dulwich & West Norwood which includes Coldharbour Lane where many of the passengers who had found temporary accommodation in the Clapham South Deep Shelter went to the Labour Exchange to find work, Somerleyton Road where many found homes to rent and Windrush Square which was named for the 50th anniversary.

In commemorating the arrival of the Windrush, we also remember people from the Caribbean, Africa and the wider Commonwealth who came both before and afterwards and the immeasurable contribution they have made to our economy, culture, communities and public services.

We cannot commemorate Windrush Day without also remembering the racism and injustice so many of the Windrush pioneers and their descendants have faced, and continue to face.

We have had a wonderful few days of events in my constituency and it was also a real privilege to host an event for constituents with connections to the Windrush story in Parliament.

But as we commemorate we also remember and commit to the work that must still be done to ensure justice for the victims of the Home Office scandal which denied so many Windrush generation pioneers and their descendants their identity as British citizens.

Thank you to everyone who made these brilliant events happen!

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