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- 07 December 2017
I was delighted to speak at a debate in the Westminster Hall on Deafness and Hearing Loss which, for the first time ever in a Parliamentary Debate, had a British Sign Language Interpreter and the debate can be viewed below. I state the need for accreditation of children’s hearing services and urgently requested that the Government removed the cap on Access to Work Grants to help support deaf people to get into work. At the same time, my neighbour Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West spoke in the main Chamber in a debate on autism and mental health. Both bring up the same theme of how we can make Parliament more accommodating to all, so more people feel equipped to get involved.
- 07 December 2017
Today in the Chamber, I raised the case of Ma’ale Adumim, a settlement of 40,000+ people built on illegally occupied Palestinian land, which Israel now plans to annex. This follows Donald Trump’s provocative and, indeed, dangerous decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which has emboldened the Parliament there into thinking they are able to get away with doing this. While I was pleased that Alastair Burt, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, said the British Government views the settlements as illegal, this has been said by successive governments for too long, without action to back it up; the Government must also condemn this annexation and work with allies to prevent further Israeli expansion. Trump’s action puts at risk the peace process and the possibility of ever achieving a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The case of Ma’ale Adumim was covered in the New York Times here -https://www.nytimes.com/…/the-sleepy-israeli-s
- 06 December 2017
It is fantastic to see that Time Magazine has named ‘the silence breakers’ – those who spoke out against sexual abuse and harassment – as its Person of the Year, despite Donald Trump’s false claim on Twitter that he would ‘probably’ receive the accolade for the second year running. Breaking the silence around sexual abuse and harassment, challenging it and holding perpetrators to account for their unacceptable behaviour, makes our society safer and more welcoming for everyone. Although I appreciate those on the receiving end of unwanted attention, abuse or violence may not always wish to speak out, it is a very positive sign that more women (and men) are coming forward. The change in culture around sexual abuse and harassment is long overdue, but it has been heartening to see so much progress on this front in recent months. Speaking up is just the first step: perpetrators must be held to account to make clear that sexual abuse and harassment will not be tolerated in any walk of life.
- 06 December 2017
I was astounded to hear David Davis tell the Eu Exit Select Committee this morning that the Brexit impact assessments by sector do not exist. This is despite the Brexit Secretary saying in December 2016 that 57 sector analyses were being carried out, covering 85% of the UK economy, and as recently as October this year, he told the Brexit Committee that these impact assessments exist in “excruciating detail”. Only David Davis will know what the truth is, but as the matter stands it appears the Government has done no sector-by-sector impact assessments on what is undoubtedly the biggest change to our economy and our society since the Second World War. There’s no Government assessment on the impact of Brexit on our aerospace industry, no assessment of the impact on our car industry, no assessment of the impact on agriculture, to name but three. Brexit would be challenge enough even for a government that was, to quote the Prime Minister, “strong and stable”. With Liam Fox, David Davis, Bo
- 05 December 2017
Yesterday the Government published a green paper setting out plans to help support children and young people with their mental health. Mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and conduct disorders, affect about 1 in 10 people within this group, Shockingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. The Government is now asking people for their views on the green paper. I encourage anyone who has experienced mental health problems, either themselves or through their friends or family, to submit their views as part of the consultation, which is open until 2nd March 2018. Together we can let the Government know what they must do to ensure those who need it are able to access the right help for their mental health, in the right place and at the right time.
- 05 December 2017
Yesterday the Government published a green paper setting out plans to help support children and young people with their mental health. Mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and conduct disorders, affect about 1 in 10 people within this group, Shockingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. The Government is now asking people for their views on the green paper. I encourage anyone who has experienced mental health problems, either themselves or through their friends or family, to submit their views as part of the consultation, which is open until 2nd March 2018. Together we can let the Government know what they must do to ensure those who need it are able to access the right help for their mental health, in the right place and at the right time.
- 05 December 2017
When Theresa May first came to power, she promised to deliver a “country that works for everyone, and not just a privileged few”. But a shock report published yesterday has shown that 400,000 more children are living in poverty than 4 years ago. And the resignation this weekend of all four board members of the government's Social Mobility Commission – with Chair, Alan Milburn speaking of "indecision, dysfunctionality and a lack of leadership" at the heart of her Government - has revealed just how hollow the Prime Minister’s words on the steps of No. 10 Downing Street were. Some people might have been taken in by Theresa May back then, but now she has been exposed. Warm words about improving social mobility and reducing child poverty, while cutting investment and continuing with austerity, won’t fool anyone. We need to do much more to raise the aspirations and life chances of all young people, regardless of background.
- 05 December 2017
Yesterday in Communities and Local Government questions I also asked the Housing Minister if the Government would act on Viability Assessments. Currently developers are guaranteed in planning law a right to make a “competitive” return, and they are able to use these Viability Assessments as a means of avoiding building their quota of affordable houses. In the last year Shelter's research revealed over 2,500 affordable homes have been lost due to this practice, 200 of which were in Bristol, and this loophole clearly needs to be closed.
- 04 December 2017
Please follow the link below to find out what environmentally-related work I’ve been doing in both Parliament and my constituency since the election. This has ranged from amendments to the Brexit bill, to improving recycling rates and marine conservation! If you would like to receive future instalments of my environmental newsletter you can sign up here - https://kerrymccarthymp.us16.list-manage.com/subscribe…
- 04 December 2017
In Communities and Local Government (CLG) questions today I raised the case of The Surrey Vaults, the Bristol music venue which was recently forced into closure following noise complaints from a recent development nearby. An increasing number of venues are under threat, and the Culture Secretary has told campaigners that she is in discussions with her CLG colleagues about introducing an ‘Agents of Change’ principle into planning law, to ensure developers have to take into account pre-existing businesses. The Ministers didn’t seem aware of any such discussions, but I am pleased to have been promised a meeting with the Planning Minister so that I can convince him of the need for action.
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