Newsletter 8 July

Apsana Begum

Welcome to my June/July newsletter! 

In this issue you will find out what I’ve been doing to take: 

(1) Action for Poplar and Limehouse 

(2) Action on the economy 

(3) Action on education and youth 

(4) Action on human rights and equality 

(5) Action on health 

(6) Action on housing, health and safety 

(1) Action for Poplar and Limehouse   

 

I wrote to Tower Hamlets Council to lend my support to the Save Brick Lane campaign. I believe that we must preserve our local traditions and disagree with largescale developments that would push local people from the rich and diverse areas that we hold dear. 

Data has shown that the vaccine uptake in Tower Hamlets has been worryingly low. I wrote to the Chief Executive of the Council in order to gain some insight as to how the council plans to tackle this and have continued to support vaccination efforts as much as possible.  

Having received my shot of the Covid vaccine this month, I encouraged all to attend their appointments. It’s important that we continue protect ourselves and each other. 

The potential closure of St George’s Leisure in Wapping is worrying. I have tabled an Early Day Motion on the dangers of leisure centres closing, as well calling for St George’s to stay open in my column in the East London Advertiser.  

I was delighted to attend SPLASH’s #PoplarHistoryWeek event celebrating the life and contribution of former MP and Poplar mayor Will Crooks, 100 years after his death, with his great grandson David Viner and Sister Christine at the Will Crooks Estate.  

(2) Action on the economy  

 

I participated in the #RightToFood day of action on 28th June – highlighting that it is unacceptable that whilst 25% of the UK’s wealth belongs to 1% of its population, there are 4 million children living in food poverty – this needs to end. 

I have made representations to the Government, along with other London Labour MP’s, to raise concerns over a planned review into bus passenger levels in July that many fear may act as the pretext for unwanted cuts. 

It has been very moving to commemorate the lives ruined by the Government’s decision to abandon 3.8m+ people during the pandemic. Too many people have fallen through the gaps and action must be taken to help them. 

(3) Action on education and youth   

 

This month, the Education Select Committee published a report regarding the attainment gaps between children of different ethnic backgrounds. As was widely reported, there was a claim that anti-racist terms such as ‘white privilege’ were having detrimental effects on students from ‘white working class’ backgrounds. This is a claim that I refute, and do so together with my Labour colleagues on the committee. 

I have raised concerns during other Education Select Committee sessions on several issues – including questions about the grading processes and unconscious bias.  

I was proud to co-sponsor an Early Day Motion tabled by Rebecca Long Bailey MP, regarding new statistics on child poverty in the UK. 

I tabled Amendment 63 to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill opposing Secure 16 -19 academies – the Tories’ plan to outsource and extend youth prisons.  

(4) Action on human rights and equality   

I continue to stand against all forms of racism.  
 
I was proud to sign a letter to the Conservative Whip, denouncing the behaviour of Lee Anderson MP, in his racist and divisive remarks about the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community.  

I tabled a parliamentary motion calling for refugees to be welcomed in the UK both during and after Covid-19. I was pleased that this motion gained cross-party support.  

The need to end detaining women at inhumane immigration detention centres is still extremely pressing. I was amongst MPs to sign Mary Kelly Foy’s letter to the Home Secretary calling for the decision to open a new facility in County Durham to be reversed.  

I have been pushing key civil liberties amendments to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – calling for measures to tackle violence against women, defending the right to protest, opposing measures targeting GRT communities and standing up against the disproportionality in the criminal justice system tipped against working class and Black, Asian and Minority ethnic (BAME) communities. 

(5) Action on workers’ rights 

I am actively supporting Barry Gardiner’s Private Members Bill, which would outlaw fire and rehire tactics, which are exploitative and undermine worker’s rights.  

I joined a local rally on 6th July organised to remember the effects of the fire and rehire tactics used against council workers last year.  

Unite workers at the Royal London Hospital took strike action against exploitative, private contracts given to Serco for those working in the hospital’s catering. I have issued my support for those taking industrial action. 

(6) Action on Health 

 

On the 4th July, we celebrated the NHS’s 73rd birthday. 

Working with parliamentary colleagues, I have continued to make representations to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock (and then Sajid Javid) as to why reorganisation of the NHS should be halted given, they represented huge risk to patient and worker safety in the health service.  

I have long opposed the Government plans to further privatise our health services and have been alarmed by the American health insurance company Centene taking over GP practices related to services in our area. Continuing with the campaign, I signed Jon Trickett MP’s vital Early Day Motion, that seeks to halt any takeover of the NHS. 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence and Abuse, of which I am chair, has launched a call for evidence for an inquiry into domestic abuse and mental health. On 7 July we started the process of meeting with experts and other

(7) Action on housing and health and safety   

In June, I was proud to attend a rally held by leaseholders, who were protesting the Cladding scandal. As this scandal continues to roll on, I will maintain my support for those living in unsafe housing, who should not have to pay to replace unsafe cladding that was not of their choosing. 

An article in The i newspaper quoted a message of support that I gave to those protesting in Whitehall against a lack of protection for renters who may face eviction due to the pandemic. 

The 7th July marked the first anniversary of the Bow crane collapse, which led to the tragic death of June Harvey. I have tabled a parliamentary motion to commemorate her death – along with calling for greater safety on building sites.