Helen and the Dulwich and West Norwood Climate Coalition deliver petition to Downing Street ahead of COP26

The COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow next week is a last chance opportunity to secure the action needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and stop its most catastrophic effects.

Following our recent Dulwich & West Norwood Climate Coalition Conference, yesterday we delivered our letter to the Prime Minister signed by 100s of local residents and many community organisations, asking him to secure the strongest possible global agreement to act on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Photo credit: Fiona Freund

 

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Stop Fire and Rehire

Fire and rehire is when an employer introduces new contracts for staff with lower pay and weaker employment rights and threatens to sack staff who refuse to sign up. It’s a disgraceful practise and it should be illegal.

My colleague Barry Gardiner is introducing a private member’s bill in Parliament today to ban the pernicious practise of fire and rehire. I fully support this bill.

I’m attending the funeral of our much-loved friend Duncan Chapman today so I can’t be in Parliament to vote for the bill, but I have been paired, so my absence won’t affect the result.

I hope the Bill succeeds - if it doesn’t, a Labour government would outlaw fire and rehire, it needs to stop. #stopfireandrehire

 

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Southwark Pensioner's Parliament

I was delighted to take part in an excellent Southwark Pensioners’ Parliament with Harriet Harman today.

It was great to see everyone in person and online and to have the opportunity to speak about our work and answer questions. Thank you to the fantastic William Booth College for hosting.

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Black History Month at the Black Cultural Archives

I was delighted to join the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at Black Cultural Archives to celebrate the launch of the Black History Tube Map.

The map is a brilliant collaboration between BCA & Transport for London which gives new visibility to generations of inspirational Black Britons who have helped shape our national story.

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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 >>

https://youtu.be/-txDH_C5SM8

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