Helen speaks in debate on Education roadmap out of lockdown

Teachers and support staff in schools across Dulwich and West Norwood have worked tirelessly over the past yet to support children and young people through the pandemic both in schools and via remote learning. However, despite their hard work, the Government has been far too slow to provide support causing many children to suffer and fall behind. As schools prepare to welcome all students back next week, it is vital that the Government now provides targeted support to help children who have missed out on education to catch up, and mental health support for every child who needs it. You can see my speech in Parliament here >>

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Helen and other Lambeth and Southwark MPs write to the Chancellor ahead of the 2021 Budget

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Coronavirus Update - 25.02

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister published a roadmap out of lockdown. This plan sets out four steps to ease coronavirus restrictions over the coming months. Clarity on the way forward has long been needed and I know that the announcement will have come as welcome news for my constituents after an extremely difficult winter. However, I remain deeply concerned about the Government’s financial support for workers and businesses. I am contacted each week by residents who have lost their jobs and livelihoods and the timescale for economy recovery is uncertain and fraught with risk.  It is irresponsible of the Prime Minister to announce that restrictions on economic activity will remain for some time without confirming the on-going support for businesses and individuals whose income is affected at the same time, creating further anxiety and uncertainty.  You can read further details of the roadmap and my full thoughts here >>

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Helen visits Paxton Green Health Centre's Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic

This morning, I visited the Paxton Green Health Centre to see their Covid-19 vaccination centre. It was fantastic to see the calm and efficient roll out led by Dr Stephen Miller and Dr Rosemary Leonard, and the hard work of volunteer marshals welcoming patients. I know that the vaccine has brought great relief and hope for so many people across Dulwich and West Norwood.

In South East London, the NHS has started vaccinating people aged 65 to 69 and those who are clinically vulnerable (moderate against Covid-19). If you are in either of these groups, please continue to wait patiently to be contacted with an appointment.

If you are aged 70 and over, a frontline health worker, or clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk), you can book your vaccine online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119.  Whatever your age or level of risk, please take the vaccine when you are offered it.

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Helen speaks in debate on Local Government Finance

Our local councils in Lambeth and Southwark have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support residents and maintain core services. When central Government was consistently failing to deliver, councils have stepped up to deliver contact tracing and laptops for school children. Yet, despite promises that all of their costs would be covered, local councils are now facing a devastating shortfall in funding. The Government must recognise the importance of local government and deliver the long-term sustainable funding our councils need. You can see my speech last week below>>

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Helen writes to the Secretary of State for Education to call for urgent clarity on this year's exams

The Government’s lack of clarity on how this year’s GCSEs, BTECs and A-Levels will be graded this year is completely unacceptable and I know it is causing huge anxiety and distress for young people across my constituency. Without guidance on how teachers will assess grades and what content will be assessed, students are unable to revise over half term whilst teacher are unable to plan properly for the coming term.

It is deeply disappointing that the Government failed to learn the lessons from last summer’s exam fiasco. Whilst everyone hoped that schools would be able to safely remain open, it has been clear for months that exams may not be able to go ahead this summer.  The Government should have had alternative plans in place much earlier, to give clarity to students and teachers.

The Department for Education’s consultation on this year’s examinations has closed last month. It is essential that students are given clarity as soon as possible but Ministers’ responses to my questions in Parliament suggest that this will not be until the end of February. This is far too late, the on-going delay is taking a huge toll on young people’s mental health and risks damaging their future.  I have written to Gavin Williamson MP to urge him to publish the final plan for exams as soon as possible.  You can see my letter below>>

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Update on Southwark Metal's planning application for Windsor Grove

I have been contacted by many residents regarding Southwark Metal’s amended application for a metal recycling centre in West Norwood. It remains my view that this application is entirely inappropriate for Windsor Grove. The development will lead to a very high volume of heavy goods vehicles on a narrow cul-de-sac and the environmental and road safety impacts are unacceptable. I have written again to Lambeth Council to oppose the application, and I will continue to represent the views of local residents, schools and businesses on this issue.

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Helen questions the Minister on funding for Lambeth and Southwark's vaccine projects

Covid-19 has brought so much heart break and hardship across Dulwich and West Norwood, but vaccines now offer us a real chance to safely end the pandemic. It has been so uplifting to hear from many constituents sharing their positive experiences of accessing the vaccine, and of the successful start to the vaccines rollout locally.

Both Lambeth and Southwark Councils are working hard on projects to reach out to communities, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, who may be more hesitant about vaccines or have questions about their efficacy and safety. This work is vitally important to ensure that the vaccine roll out is fair and does not leave any group at increased risk from Covid-19 in the future.

Yesterday, I challenged the Secretary of State on the Government’s decision to exclude Lambeth and Southwark from a list of councils invited to bid for funding for outreach work to tackle vaccine hesitancy. This work is vital, and our local communities must not be left behind. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s very poor response below >>

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Royal Mail services in Dulwich and West Norwood

Residents across many parts of Dulwich and West Norwood have reported significant problems with postal deliveries since last year.  Although there have been problems in the East Dulwich SE22 postcode area since Royal Mail closed the SE22 delivery office on Silvester Road two years ago, these problems have worsened even further since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.  Since late 2020, residents in SE19 and SE27 have also experienced serious delays, with some problems in other postcode areas too.

I have been in constant communication with Royal Mail about these problems and it is very disappointing that they are still unresolved.  I am clear that the problems are not the fault of postal workers, who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and have been a vital lifeline for many people.  It is very concerning to hear that many postal workers have fallen ill with coronavirus and that sickness rates at Royal Mail have been very high.  I am grateful to every single postal worker for their vital work at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.  Notwithstanding the hard work and commitment of postal workers, there are serious problems at Royal Mail.

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Helen support's British Gas Fire and Re-Hire Strike

Earlier this week, I met with my constituent Richard who has worked for British Gas for over twenty years. British Gas are shamefully using fire and re-hire tactics to reduce pay, increase staffs’ working hours and water down their rights. I stand with British Gas workers and GMB Southern Region members on strike across the country. #StopTheBritishGasFire

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