Helen speaks in debate on the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in London

I’m so grateful for the work of staff and volunteers across Dulwich and West Norwood to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible. The vaccine now offers genuine hope of an end to the heartbreak, pain, restrictions and hardships of the pandemic.  However, it is as true locally as it is globally that none of us is safe until all of us are safe. 

Vaccination programmes rely on high levels of take up to be effective, but data from the roll out so far clearly shows that vaccine hesitancy is highest in some of the communities and occupations who are most at risk of coronavirus, including some Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and amongst social care workers.

Our local health care teams, Lambeth and Southwark Councils are all working hard to address vaccine hesitancy, and this is driving up the vaccination rate week by week, but this important is time-consuming to deliver and more funding from the Government is needed. You can watch my speech in Parliament here >>

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March 2021 Budget Speech

Frustratingly, I was too far down the speaker list in today’s Budget debate in the House of Commons to be called to speak, so I’ve published the speech I had prepared instead.  We need a Budget for a green, inclusive recovery, which rebuilds the foundations of our economy, recognises the immense sacrifice of Covid-19 key workers with a decent pay rise, provides the support to help our children and young people to catch up and the funding our NHS and social care sector desperately need.  Attempting to rebuild our economy on broken foundations means the cracks will soon open up again.  You can read the full speech here >>

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Helen writes to the Minister for Women and Equalities to call on her to ban LGBT+ conversion therapy

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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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