Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Member of Parliament for Streatham (and parts of Balham, Clapham Common, Tulse Hill and Brixton Hill)
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Clapham & Brixton Hill

Bell’s Regular Newsletter – 10th December 2022

Dec 10, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

10th December 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*,

In this week’s Labour Opposition Day on tackling chronic NHS staffing shortages, I urged the Government to stop gaslighting NHS workers and pay them what they are worth. Twelve years of real terms pay cuts for workers across our health service have been a contributing factor to the recruitment and retention crisis it now faces. This dispute is about pay and the fact that some of the most essential workers in our society are now on poverty wages. But its roots lie much deeper, in the Tories’ consistent under-resourcing and under-valuation of our NHS and the people who keep it running.

Tackling the Crisis in our NHS Begins with Proper Pay for Staff Who Keep it Running (6th Dec 2022)

I was pleased to support Labour’s motion on the NHS workforce crisis, calling for an end to non-dom status as a means of pumping more money into training new NHS staff. If the Government were serious about tackling treatment waiting lists and ambulance delays, they would be funding the fair pay rise that NHS workers are asking for. Instead, as the Royal College of Nursing head for their first week of strike action in 106 years, the Government refuses to even meet with them.

Enough is Enough! Graphic, which reads "I Support the NHS Strikes"

Postal workers launched their first December day of strike action on Friday to call for fair pay rises and defend the postal service we all rely on. Instead of entering into negotiations in good faith, they’ve put new threats of job cuts and gig economy conditions on the table. After a year of record profits, if Royal Mail can’t operate without driving down pay and cutting jobs, then that’s just another good argument to take the service back into public ownership where it belongs, and as a majority of the country wants.

Solidarity with Shelter workers in Unite, who have also launched strike action this week over real terms pay cuts of 11%. It’s a bitter irony that some workers at the homelessness charity facing housing insecurity as a consequence of falling pay, with one member writing to me to explain how they were having to move out of London.

My latest South London Press column about the situation facing midwives

Holding the Tories to Account over Dodgy PPE Deals

This week, I voted for Labour’s successful motion to force the release of documentation around a highly suspect PPE deal, which earned a Tory Peer an estimated £29 million. This contract was signed off by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak and was worth £203 million in total. More than half of this money was spent on PPE that did not meet the required standards.

Whilst NHS staff were left struggling without adequate PPE, the Tories were busy helping those with party ties profiteer off vital medical equipment. They treated a public health emergency as a business bonanza for their nearest and dearest. We need an investigation to determine how much public money has ended up lining the pockets of Tory politicians, donors, and other people with close links to the party. We should be looking to hold politicians who brokered these deals accountable and recover money that was given to companies for PPE which did not meet the required specification.

Visiting Derwentside Detention Centre

As an outgoing member of the Women and Equalities Committee, I visited the recently opened Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre. This facility should never have been opened. We came away from the site with familiar questions about costs and conditions but it’s worth remembering that 85% of those held in such facilities are returned to the community – a statistic which raises questions about both the morality and efficacy of ever detaining people like this in the first place. The Government should be closing down detention sites, as Labour pledged to in our last manifesto, not ramping up the pointless use of cruel detention. But as the Tories crack down on migrants, the number of people entering the detention estate almost doubled in the year to March 2022.

Small Business Saturday

Bell standing with a local florist each holding a bunch of lilies. Councillors Andrew Collins and Alison Inglis-Jones standing next to them.

On Small Business Saturday, we celebrated the amazing small businesses that make up our local community. It was great to be out on Abbeville Road on Saturday afternoon with Clapham Councillors to check-in with local business owners. Labour has a plan to level the playing field for SMEs by cutting business rates for small firms, ensuring large companies pay invoices on time and giving SMEs a fair chance to win public contracts – instead of big Tory donor companies.

There are a range of issues that are causing problems for small businesses at the moment: from rising energy, inflation and reduced customer spending. But a survey last week found the single biggest issue causing disruption continues to be Brexit. This is no surprise given that small businesses have thinner margins to absorb supply chain shocks and fewer resources to cope with the additional barriers to trade that Brexit has imposed. Small businesses don’t want the bonfire of EU regulations that the Government is proposing; they want the freedom to trade with EU countries without the blue tape.

Streatham BID Christmas Light Switch-On

Bell in front of the Christmas tree and light display with Santa, Lambeth Mayor Pauline George and Streatham BID director, Louise Abbotts.

Last weekend, we declared Streatham officially open for Christmas. It was great to be with Streatham BID for a lovely event to ring in the festive season and hit the big red button on their amazing Christmas light display. Our small independent business community brings so much colour and character to our High Street. Please support them where you can this Christmas by shopping local.

In my time as an MP, I’ve been really impressed with Streatham BID’s work to upgrade our High Street and get more people shopping there. Every business with at rateable value of over £7,000 will have the opportunity to vote for its renewal in January 2023. I’d urge them to keep supporting Streatham BID and all its investment in our area through this difficult time.

Notre Dame Estate Walkabout

Bell talking to Notre Dame Estate residents whilst Councillors take notes.

I joined Notre Dame Estate residents and their councillors on a walkabout last weekend to hear about some of the issues they’re currently facing. We discussed ways to mitigate speeding on Worsopp Drive as well as their thoughts around the next proposed phase of the neighbouring Lambeth College redevelopment. I was concerned to hear about the noise from the site that residents have been experiencing, particularly where work has reportedly been happening outside of contracted hours. I will be raising theses issues with the relevant authorities.

Supporting Local Food Banks

Picture of Olena Zelenska addressing MPs in a parliamentary committee room, flanked by the Union Jack and the Flag of Ukraine.

There are more food banks in Britain today that there are McDonald’s. I joined local food bank volunteers at Tesco Acre Lane this weekend for a big donation drive to restock their warehouses over winter. In a wealthy country like ours, people shouldn’t be left relying on charity to feed themselves. It’s so important to support our food banks but also to remember that this can never be a substitute from working to end poverty and inequality, which are the root causes of hunger.

Find out how you can help local food banks this winter

Streatham Drop-In Christmas Party

Bell at a protest calling for safe routes. She holds a Stand up to Racism placard which reads: 'Migrants & refugees welcome here. Blame austerity, not migrants.'

It was lovely to be with The Streatham Drop-In Centre over the weekend for their Christmas Party, a good chance to thank the team for all they do for our local refugee community and extend a warm welcome to recently arrived families. I’m proud to live in one of two Boroughs of Sanctuary in London, where we are committed to giving refugees a warm welcome and helping them to rebuild their lives. Whilst the Government relentlessly fails and demonises people who seek safety in our country, groups like Streatham Drop-In are working tirelessly to give them a better start. They’re currently on the lookout for volunteers who can help them in this task.

Find out more about volunteering for the Streatham Drop-In Centre

As ever, if you have any questions about the work I’m doing as MP, please get in touch at this address:

Best wishes,

Bell Ribeiro-Addy,
Labour MP for Streatham

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