Royal Mail Delivery Office closures - update

As you may be aware, Royal Mail has announced the planned closure of its delivery offices in West Norwood and East Dulwich. This would mean residents having to travel to Penge or Peckham to collect undelivered parcels, oversized letters or Recorded Delivery post.

 I am clear that these plans are totally unacceptable and are part of a damaging asset stripping agenda at Royal Mail which puts profit before the needs of residents. 

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Helen joins new group to tackle knife crime

Last month I attended the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime chaired by Sarah Jones, the newly elected Member of Parliament for Croydon Central.

Violent crime, including knife crime, is going up under this Tory government and at the same time the number of police has been cut by more than 20,000 as always happens with Conservative governments. Every single life lost to knife crime is a tragedy for the family and friends of the victim and the wider community and much more must urgently be done to reduce it. I know from speaking to local residents in Dulwich and West Norwood that this is something that they are very concerned about.

Over the coming months, the new group will examine the factors contributing to the increase in knife crime and the most effective ways to address it - including neighbourhood policing, youth work, education, mental health services and a range of other areas.

We will make recommendations and call on the government to take urgent action to keep our young people safer. 

 

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Westminster Hall debate: Letting agent fees speech

Last week in Parliament I spoke about the urgent need for comprehensive reform of the housing private rented sector and for letting agent fees to be scrapped.

You can read my speech below or watch it at: goo.gl/5cy47X 

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Westminster Hall debate: New housing design speech

Last week in Parliament I spoke about the government’s lack of leadership on design or build quality for new housing and outlined the action that is urgently needed.

You can read my speech below or watch it at: https://goo.gl/KKEBjr 

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Advocacy Academy comes to Parliament

Standing up for young people in Dulwich and West Norwood is a key priority for me.  I want to see every young person in our area achieving their full potential and participating fully in our community life.  That’s why I’m proud to be the Patron of The Advocacy Academy, which supports and empowers young people from a diverse range of backgrounds in South London to become campaigners and advocates for the issues they feel passionately about and the change they want to see.

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GP Practice Closures

Since being elected in 2015, I have consistently raised the issue of access to GP appointments on behalf of my constituents, as so many people tell me that it is very difficult to get a timely appointment when they or their family members need one.  GP practices are the bedrock of our NHS, providing a wide range of vital services, and preventing many patients from having to attend A & E.

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Fair funding for local schools

Over the past 20 years, the quality of education in London has been transformed.  Almost all of the schools in Dulwich and West Norwood are good or outstanding.  As a parent of primary aged children in a local school I see every week how our local teachers and support staff deliver a brilliant education in an area where there are high levels of deprivation, high numbers of children with English as an Additional Language and special educational needs. 

The government is putting our excellent local schools at risk, with a change in the funding formula which will see money taken away from our local schools to give to schools in other parts of the country.  I am campaigning along with local parents and teachers and Lambeth and Southwark Labour councillors against this change. I’ve spoken about it in the House of Commons, and you can watch my speech here, and I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening – the text of my letter is below. 

Please make your voice heard against these damaging cuts.  You can respond to the government’s consultation before 22 March 2017 (search for  ‘schools funding consultation’ for the online link), or write to the Secretary of State and copy me in.  Together, we must fight these damaging cuts.

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Theresa May's Budget Failure

Last week’s budget was a key test for Theresa May’s Conservative government and by almost any measure the Tories failed this test.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Text of a speech I made at the Imperial War Museum to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017:

Holocaust Memorial Day is an important day in our calendar, and my view, it is growing in importance.  It is a moment to stop and remember the very worst that human beings are capable of; to live for a moment once again with the devastation of that fact; to be humbled by the actions of those who were courageous enough to take a stand; and to make a new commitment that we will not allow it to happen again.

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Rail Fail

Hundreds of local residents have contacted me to express their concerns about both the current performance of local train services run by Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink (the latter two collectively run by Govia Thameslink Railway), as well as proposals from Govia Thameslink Railway which would see key services via West Dulwich and Sydenham Hill withdrawn altogether in 2018.

Please help me in campaigning on this issue by sharing your experience of using local train services here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DaWNRailFail 

I have written to Charles Horton, the Chief Executive of GTR, on behalf of local residents on a number of occasions to raise the impact that the unacceptable level of service is having on local residents. I have also written repeatedly to Paul Maynard MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport and his predecessor, to call for the Government to set out what steps they are taking to hold GTR, and the associated franchises, to account.

I am a founding member of the newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Southern Rail and have signed an Early Day Motion which urges the Government to strip GTR of its franchises as soon as possible. In my view suburban rail services should be transferred to Transport for London (TfL) to run, and I recently called for this during a debate in Southern Rail in the House of Commons, setting out the impact that the current failures are having on my constituents.  You can watch my contribution here: http://tinyurl.com/HHSouthernRail1216 TfL has a proven track record and much higher levels of customer satisfaction. I am dismayed that the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has indicated that he does not wish the transfer to TfL to happen, particularly as a leaked letter indicates that this is for narrow partisan reasons. I have written to Theresa May to insist that this issue must be considered again by the government given that Mr Grayling has clearly prejudged the issue. 

The current situation is completely untenable. Please be assured that I will continue to campaign on a cross-party basis alongside other MPs from London and the South-East for change to be introduced to our rail services as a matter of urgency.

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