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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Report on visit to Palestine, February 2023

I visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for five days in February 2023 as part of a parliamentary delegation organised by the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Balfour Project.

This delegation takes place 3-4 times a year to allow different British Parliamentarians to witness first-hand on a cross-party basis the humanitarian and political situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  I have been planning to visit ever since I was first elected to Parliament but had to postpone a number of times due to votes in Parliament, a worsening of the security situation and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The visit took place in a context of escalating tension and violence, and mass protests in Israel against the government’s planned reforms to the Israeli Supreme Court. 

I condemn the violence on both sides of this intractable conflict. Israelis have the right to live in peace and security, without the threat of Hamas rocket attacks; Palestinians have the right to self-determination, freedom and security too. 

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Politics Live - March 2023

The early diagnosis of cancer is essential in improving patients chances of survival. Yet under the Conservatives, the length of time cancer patients wait for diagnosis and treatment has risen every single year since 2010.

The Covid-19 pandemic placed immense pressure on our NHS, and has resulted in a backlog of undiagnosed disease.  I know how hard our local NHS teams are working to clear the backlog, but they need support from central government.

Labour has set out our plans to double the number of medical school and healthcare professional training places in the UK, to address the current workforce crisis and ensure there is a clear plan to meet future needs >>

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Helen questions the Minister on childcare costs

This weekend, I spoke to one of my constituents who is preparing to return to work after maternity leave with her second baby.  She told me she is facing a staggering £2,700 bill for childcare every month.

Spiralling childcare costs are an unbearable cost of living pressure for many families with young children. For the past 13 years, the Conservatives have failed to put children and families first. The upcoming Spring Budget is a vital opportunity for the government to help ease the pressure that many families are currently facing, but the Minister’s response was not at all encouraging.

Our childcare system is failing families, early years professionals and our economy.  Labour will build a modern childcare system supporting families from the end of parental leave to start of secondary school. You can see my question to the Minister here>>

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Helen speaks in debate on the affordability and availability of childcare

After twelve years of Conservative government, our childcare system is failing families and our economy. The cost of a full time childcare place for a child under two has risen by £2,000 since 2010, and according to one recent survey more than 6 in 10 parents now spend more on childcare than their domestic costs.

Parents, providers, the TUC and CBI all agree that urgent action is needed. But the government’s answer is silence, with no mention of childcare in the Chancellor’s most recent budget statement.

Labour will build a modern childcare system supporting families from the end of parental leave until end of primary school. The first step on the road towards this is our plan for fully funded breakfast clubs for all primary school children making sure every child starts school ready to learn. You can watch my speech in Parliament yesterday here >>

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Conduct of Met Police urgent question

The appalling crimes of David Carrick, committed while he was a serving police officer over a period of almost 20 years are utterly shocking and have further dented the confidence of women in the Metropolitan Police. 

For confidence to be restored, it is vitally important that there are consequences, not only for Carrick himself, but also for officers within the Met who had the opportunity to apprehend him much earlier and who failed to take seriously enough concerns that were raised about him. 

This week I pressed the Home Secretary on the urgency of this issue >>

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Helen challenges the Minister on support for childcare providers

Childcare is vital infrastructure. It underpins our economy by allowing parents to work and helps children grow and learn together.
Yet more than 5,000 childcare providers have been forced to close in the past year due to soaring inflation and energy prices. Many are now facing a cliff edge in April when the government withdraws support for energy bills. Further closures will make places harder to find and drive up prices even further for parents.
The next Labour government will build a modern childcare system supporting families from the end of parental leave to secondary school, but urgent action is needed to prevent a collapse in childcare provision this year. This week, I asked the Secretary of State what she is doing now to support providers>>
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The right to strike

The right to strike is a fundamental human right. Strikes happen when governments and employers won’t negotiate and workers feel they have no choice.
The Tories don’t want to negotiate with workers in our NHS and other public services who have been driven to their knees by Tory policies.
Instead the Tories want to restrict the right to strike.
I am voting against the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill today 
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Newham Early Years Conference

I was delighted to start the new Parliamentary term by joining 300 early years practitioners at the Newham Early Years Conference. It was inspiring to be in a room full of people committed to giving every child the best possible start in life. the best start in life.

I was delighted to be able to talk about Labour’s ambition to reform the early years sector to deliver high quality childcare and early year years education that works for children, parents and early years professionals.

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