Windrush 75

Thanks to all who came to my Windrush 75 reception in Parliament this week, a time to honour the Windrush pioneers & their descendants & continue the call for justice.

I was glad to welcome representatives from local community organisations, staff from King’s College Hospital & South London & the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts, youth organisations, faith communities and granddaughter of Windrush passenger & RAF Airman Sam King. Thanks to my Lambeth colleagues Florence Eshalomi MP and Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP for supporting.

Special thanks to Dawn Hill CBE, poet Jenny Mitchell, Lisa Anderson from the Black Cultural Archives, poet David Neita, Arthur Torrington from the Windrush Foundation and the brilliant students from St-Martins-in-the-Fields High School for Girls for inspiring us all.

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Helen questions the Minister on the gaps in the government's childcare plans

Over the three months since the government’s childcare announcement, I’ve spoken with many early years professionals in different parts of the country.  They tell me that the sector urgently needs a plan to develop the workforce and the premises needed to expand childcare, and the government’s plan to relax childcare ratios won’t deliver affordable childcare for parents or high quality early years education for children. 

Labour knows that the system is broken and in need of reform and we will set out our plans to deliver the change that is needed, starting with fully funded breakfast clubs for every primary school in the country >>

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Foster Care Fortnight

Foster Care Fortnight is an important time to recognise the vital, often lifechanging work of foster carers and to raise awareness. I was glad to meet with the Southwark Council fostering team at the Goose Green fair who were speaking to local people about the importance of fostering and providing information on how to find out more about it.

Foster families do amazing and rewarding work to provide stable, loving homes for some of our most vulnerable children. Unfortunately, there are currently not enough foster carers in the right places across the country. You can find out more here:

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Helen calls on the government to fix the leasehold crisis

Leasehold is the main form of tenure for people who own their own homes, but it operates on a feudal model which is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.  Our leasehold system denies leaseholders control over what happens in the buildings in which they live, and leaves them exposed to catastrophic costs with little recourse to redress when things go wrong.  The Tories have dithered and delayed for years and have failed to bring forward the reforms that are needed.

It has been clear for years that reform is needed and successive Housing Secretaries have promised reform without taking any action. Today, Labour forced a vote in Parliament calling on the government to implement the urgently needed changes as recommended by the Law Commission including ending the sale of new private leasehold homes and a crackdown on unfair fees and contract terms.

You can see my speech from the debate, including calling for action to support leaseholders on district heating networks, here>>

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Statement on closure of St Martin in the Fields School

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Helen speaks with Sky News about the housing crisis and Labour's plans for build new homes

We face an unprecedented housing crisis. Across Dulwich and West Norwood, people are facing soaring rents and the insecurity of knowing that they can be subjected to a section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction. The Renters’ Reform Bill is welcome but it is long overdue

We need urgent action to fix the housing crisis, building both new genuinely affordable homes which are desperately needed and homes to buy so that younger people can get on the housing ladder. Scrapping housing targets will simply reduce the number of homes being built even further.  The Prime Minister might be too scared of his own backbenchers to act, but Labour has a plan. You can hear me speaking with Sky News below >>

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Helen calls on the Minister to act to address racial disparities in maternity care

It is a disgraceful injustice that Black women in the UK are almost four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. The Women and Equalities Select Committee’s recent report laid bare the Government’s failure to act finding a lack of data, lack of funding for maternity services and an underplaying of the role of racism in this issue.

Last week, I asked the Minister when her government would wake up and act with urgency to close the gap in maternity outcomes >>

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Helen leads debate on small businesses in railway arches in Brixton, Loughborough Junction and Herne Hill

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Helen speaks in the Budget debate 2023

The Chancellor’s budget failed to address the reality of the Conservatives’ record in government. The UK has the weakest economic growth in the G7 and is the only country that will see negative growth. Households in Dulwich and West Norwood are facing the biggest fall in living standards since records began. The situation is dire and responsibility lies squarely with the Conservatives who have been in power for the past thirteen years.

The budget had little to say on the biggest issues facing my constituents. The Chancellor neglected frontline workers – nurses, doctors, railway workers, teachers and postal workers – who are demoralised, underpaid and burned out. There were no bold commitments to address the climate crisis or lower energy bills by insulating homes. Finally, there was nothing to say on the housing crisis.

Instead the Conservatives focused on yet another giveaway to the richest 1% of earners. Their priorities are all wrong, and a general election can’t come soon enough. You can see my speech from yesterday here>>

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Foreign Office questions - March 23

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