Welcome to my January/February 2023 newsletter, with updates on some of my work in Parliament and in the constituency.
As the year began, the Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer gave an important speech in East London about why Britain needs a change. For a new Britain, and for hope. His message was clear: the Labour Party is ready to govern. You can watch the full speech here.
The Labour Party have a serious plan for growth and wants to see all our nations and regions benefit from and contribute to the skills, jobs and growth of the future.
Last week I voted to protect the right to strike.
Tory failure has led us to the worst strikes in decades. Now instead of resolving them, the government want to force through anti-worker legislation to fire nurses and teachers.
It’s utterly disgraceful. Labour strongly opposes this fundamental attack on working people’s freedoms – and we’ll repeal it.
I also voted to increase neighbourhood policing, while Government MPs voted against. After 13 years, the Conservative legacy is criminals being let off while victims are let down. The next Labour government will rebuild neighbourhood policing, delivering a package of 13,000 extra neighbourhood officers and PCSOs, putting police back on the beat.
I also spoke about the issue of A&E delays in Parliament. I raised the case a constituent had told me about his wife who is a cancer patient, who was treated in the corridor and waited many hours for a bed. The target is for 95% of patients to be seen within four hours at A&E as it was under the last Labour Government, but the Health Secretary has admitted this has fallen under the Tories to around 76%. The Tories have underfunded the NHS and left it without a strategy – Labour will deliver more doctors, more nurses, shorter waiting times, and better care.
I was pleased to arrange a meeting in Parliament with Hounslow’s Alan Watkinson OBE – Sir Mo Farah’s former PE teacher – and Robin Walker MP, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, ahead of a debate on school and community sport. Mo trained at the same athletics track in Feltham as I did when I grew up. Alan has a lifetime of experience in school sport and runs Sport Impact, working with 66 primary schools, 20 secondary schools and 80,000 children in Hounslow. He also co-founded the Schools Active Movement which is backed by the national Youth Sports Trust.
Inspired by his work, I spoke in Parliament on the importance of school sport, links between community sport and school sport, building confidence in sport, and the important link between good physical health, mental health and better education outcomes. You can read more in my column for the Hounslow Herald.
I was re-elected as Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Parks and Green Spaces. For every £1 that gets spent on parks, it brings in £7 in health and wellbeing and environment benefits, let alone the cultural and tourism benefits.
In Hounslow, we’re really lucky to have so many great parks and a team that works hard to keep them at a high standard.
But parks that are neglected can become hotspots for antisocial behaviour – and it matters that we continue locally and nationally to keep great parks at the heart of all our towns and cities for the wellbeing of children and local families. We are also calling on the Government come forward with a new updated Strategy for Parks that accounts for the challenges facing the parks sector.
With support from London Borough of Hounslow, I will be hosting Google Digital Garage’s Digital Skills Training Day. Join us for a day of free training workshops, peer networking sessions & 1-to-1 mentoring from Google Digital trainers. Digital Coaches from Google will be on hand to answer any questions related to growing your business – anything from building a website, to creating a Social Media strategy. Sign up here to book your spot today.
Heston Post Office
Heston Post Office Branch will be temporarily closing on 17th Feb 2023. This is very disappointing and worrying news. I will be meeting with the Post Office for more information about when they were aware of this change and their plans for the re-opening of the Post Office as soon as possible. Please get in touch by email if you have any other questions for the Post Office or through their Consultation Hub. I will keep the community updated on social media. Please note the alternative locations in the meantime:
- Brabazon Road Post Office, 160-64 Brabazon Road, Hounslow, TW5 9LP
- King Street Post Office, 16 King Street, Southall, UB2 4DA
I’ve had lots of representations from concerned constituents about the expansion of ULEZ. Whilst I share the goal of reducing pollution and increasing air quality to support the health of Londoners, I am very concerned about the economic impact the current roll-out plans will have on residents and small businesses in Feltham and Heston, and its disproportionate effect on lower income families and the self-employed who use their vehicle for work. This is particularly with the current cost of living crisis and the cost and supply side issues affecting how quickly people can transition to low emission vehicles.
That’s why I am reviewing the data and evidence and meeting with residents and businesses who have contacted me as part of a local consultation over the next few weeks. I have also met with two of the largest trade unions in the area, GMB and Unite, to discuss their concerns, and with London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport Seb Dance. I will be writing to the Mayor of London with your concerns and meeting with City Hall about this. If you haven’t emailed me yet, email email@example.com with your concerns.
In the Constituency
I was delighted to attend the unveiling of the new exhibition at Feltham Station featuring work created by Rivers Academy students in collaboration with illustrator Nicole Cowan. Thank you to Feltham Arts Association’s Creative Director Charlotte Skinner for leading on this initiative, and to Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cllr Farah Kamran and Deputy Mayor Adesh Farmahan, who also attended the unveiling. It will be there until April, so make sure you see it before it closes!
I was grateful to the Little Village team and volunteers in Hounslow for the visit to see the amazing work they are doing running a baby bank in Hounslow and in other areas across London. They are always in need of good quality good-as-new or pre-loved good second hand items for children aged 0-5, and particularly new borns and 3-5 years old. Please visit their website to find out what’s needed, where you can drop it off and how you can help or volunteer.
My team and I have been attending Hounslow Council’s Cost of Living Marketplaces where residents can get tailored advice and find out about the range of services and benefits available to them. From employment and training support and help with maximising benefits to dealing with food poverty or support managing debt, there is a wide range of support available at Marketplaces on everyday issues connected with the rising cost of living in a pressure free environment. You can find where and when future Marketplaces will be here.
We’ve been giving out my Cost of Living Booklet, which I’ve also been distributing to schools, libraries and some supermarkets, as well as recently giving them out at Berkeley Academy school gates with Cllr Malik.
Leading from the Frontbench
This month I led Labour’s response to the Economic Crime Bill. After years of Conservative inaction, this Bill was an opportunity to end Britain’s role as a magnet for dirty money. But to truly seize this opportunity, it needed to be amended to enforce proper action against criminals and oligarchs who seeks to abuse our economy, as I argued in the Times.
I defended Royal Mail in Parliament, arguing that we should maintain the Universal Service Obligation (USO) – the duty on Royal Mail to deliver to every address in the UK, six days a week, at a uniform price. The USO is a fundamental service commitment for citizens and for business. Labour is committed to the Universal Service Obligation and we will strongly oppose any attempts to weaken or abandon the USO. I also called for an inquiry into the mismanagement of Royal Mail, to ensure that it maintains the USO, ensures a fair deal for postal workers and improves service for consumers.
I spoke at the ‘Pay Small Business Promptly!’ Reception, hosted by TSB Bank and the APPG for Small and Micro Businesses. Small business is the lifeblood of our economy – but business owners in the UK are more stressed than those in any other European economy about late payments. Read about Labour’s plans to end late payments in my article for the Hounslow Herald.
I met with beauty industry leaders Millie Kendall OBE and Victoria Brownlie from the British Beauty Council in Parliament to discuss the vital contribution of the beauty industry to our local economy and the UK. The beauty sector is such an important sector which is all too often not seen for its contribution and potential for product development, manufacturing and exports. We have one of the best and most sophisticated beauty sectors in the world.
I was honoured to sign the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in Parliament to pledge my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honour those who were murdered during the Holocaust, as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.