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- 09 November 2017
I am supporting The Labour Campaign for Mental Health’s call to ring-fence mental health spending in the Autumn Budget. The Government has announced some additional funding - £1.4 billion over five years to deliver the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and £1.25 billion for the Future In Mind programme for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services - but this is only a fraction of what mental health services need to meet growing demands. Across England, for the second year in a row, over half of Clinical Commissioning Groups – the bodies that decide how money is spent locally - say they plan to reduce the proportion of their budget spend on mental health. This is unacceptable. The money needed to transform mental health services and save lives is just not reaching the front line. Waiting times are too long, people are not receiving the best care in the community and people are having to travel too far for in-patient services. On November 22, in his Budget, the Chancellor Ph
- 08 November 2017
After Parliament unanimously voted for the release of impact assessments conducted on the potential effects of Brexit on Britain’s key industries, the Government must publish them in full now. Anything less is ignoring the clearly demonstrated will of Parliament.
- 08 November 2017
Last month I was one of the joint signatories to a letter to the Department for International Development drawing attention to the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Minster has now responded and I am pleased to see that the UK will be providing another £1.9m in support, although obviously we also need further action from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to address the underlying causes of the crisis.
- 06 November 2017
The recent revelations about the schemes that the super-rich use to avoid paying tax are shocking; when we see people sleeping on the streets and public services being underfunded, I feel a burning sense of injustice that those with vast sums of wealth avoid paying their fair share. Massive credit must go to investigative journalists who invested millions of hours of work into this damaging expose, as well as my parliamentary colleagues, Margaret Hodge MP and Caroline Flint MP, who have both been incredibly persistent in pushing for greater transparency and tax justice.
- 04 November 2017
As a member of the Environmental Audit Committee I have this week taken part in two sessions where we questioned the junior Environment Minister, Therese Coffey, and Michael Gove, the EFRA Secretary, on the need to take action on the Circular Economy and reducing waste, particularly of disposable packaging such as plastic bottles and coffee cups. Here’s a video explaining how a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles would work.
- 03 November 2017
I’ll be voting for Seni’s Law today to stop the inappropriate, dangerous and traumatic use of force in Mental Health Units.
- 03 November 2017
I was in Parliament to support Jim McMahon’s Votes at 16 Bill and it was very disappointing to see it talked about by Tory MPs. This means the Bill will go no further in the parliamentary process. This often happens on a Friday with Private Members’ Bills and, as I have said many times, before, it’s time we reformed the process so that this can’t happen. There is no good reason why we can’t schedule a set time to debate each Bill, which a vote at the end of, say, 3 hours of debate. On a more positive note, however, Steve Reed’s #SenisLaw bill on the use of force in Mental Health Units, which was debated first, was not opposed by the Government and has therefore proceeded to Committee Stage.
- 02 November 2017
In 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s blanket ban on prisoners voting was unlawful. I was one of only 22 MPs - including Jeremy Corbyn - to vote against the blanket ban when it came before Parliament in 2011. Today, 12 years on, the Government has finally brought forward proposals to meet its obligations under the Hirst judgment - but all it has done is allow prisoners on temporary licence, ie those allowed out of prison to work, to vote. This will affect only 100 or so prisoners at any given time. In questioning the Justice Secretary on this in Parliament today, I said that imprisonment should be about deprivation of liberty, not deprivation of rights. There is no security risk in allowing prisoners a postal vote, and it could also be an important element in rehabilitation, impressing upon prisoners their role as citizens, who are part of, not outside society.
- 01 November 2017
At today’s Environmental Audit Committee I questioned Michael Gove, the Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the legal framework of environmental protection we will be left with after we leave the European Union. Worryingly, he was able to offer little reassurance that key environmental principles - such as polluter pays and the precautionary principle - will survive Brexit. Watch live here - http://www.parliamentlive.tv/…/f78595ec-6ffa-4344-88d6-e885…
- 01 November 2017
The Autumn Budget marks a major opportunity for a Government keen to rebrand itself as on the side of the ordinary person struggling to get by after enduring years of slow economic recovery and austerity. I, alongside my Labour colleagues, have repeatedly been making the case that the Government should put more investment into the economy to provide for people’s needs and to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. As recent economic indicators show slow growth, a fall in retail sales and a construction industry still in recession, and wages still often lower than they were in 2008, it’s clearer than ever that a change of tactics is needed in the way we approach the economy.
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