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 – 14th November 2022

Nov 14, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

14th November 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*,

At 11am on Remembrance Sunday, Streatham came together in a minute’s silence to commemorate all those from our area who gave their todays for our tomorrows and pay tribute to those who survived. We remembered all the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in conflicts around the world. In their names, we will strive for a more peaceful world free from the horrors of war.

Bell standing with local Labour Councillors and a veteran who belongs to the Association of Jewish Ex Service Men & Women

I was also with elected representatives from across our borough in the morning to lay wreaths at Lambeth Town Hall and at the Commonwealth Memorial in Windrush Square with my colleagues Florence Eshalomi MP and Helen Hayes MP.

A trail of MPs, council officials and councillors walk past the Ritzy in Windrush Square to lay wreaths.

In the afternoon, I joined the Nubian Jak Community Trust at the Commonwealth Memorial in Windrush Square to commemorate the tens of thousands of Commonwealth soldiers who served, many making the ultimate sacrifice.

Bell bows her head at the Commonwealth Memorial, alongside Umar Mahmood, who helped lead prayers at the event.

It was great to talk to some of the soldiers who served in our armed forces today, including members of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women and Jamaican Ex-Military Veterans’ Association UK. These Remembrance Sunday events wouldn’t be possible without the committed efforts of our local community. Thank you to everyone who helped to put this year’s events on.

Bell talks to two men in military uniform by Streatham War Memorial, Streatham Common in the background.

Cambridge Union Debate on Reparations

Bell inside the Cambridge Union with others who spoke in favour of the reparations motion.

I was invited to participate in this week’s Cambridge Union debate on paying reparations calling for action to address the injustices and inequalities that are the legacy of slavery and colonialism. These arguments around reparations are often caricatured by the Right as handing over large sums of money for something that happened a long time ago. But the racism many of us face today have their roots in empire and reparations needs to start with simple things like fairer trade, returning stolen artefacts, and cancelling debts that have been repaid over and over. The fact that the Cambridge Union voted overwhelmingly for this shows that the call for reparations is only getting louder.

Urgent Question on Asylum Accommodation

Urgent Question on Asylum Hotels in Streatham (7th November 2022)

I took part in last week’s Urgent Question on asylum accommodation. Some of my constituents are facing cramped conditions, bedbug infestations and unsafe food in local bridging hotels. I asked the Government to review conditions at these sites, which the new Immigration Minister described to MPs as “luxurious”. The contractors who run these substandard facilities make huge profits whilst cutting corners. If they can’t ensure basic hygiene standards, then removing their contracts is the least we should do. But the Government seems happy to turn a blind eye. I’ll be following up on this.

Labour Opposition Days: Protecting Pensions

Graphic reading: Pensioners shouldn't pay the price for the Tory economic crisis. Protect the Triple Lock.

With the Government contemplating huge spending cuts, they have failed to yet rule out another real terms cut to pensions or benefits. By repeatedly u-turning on these issues, they are only adding to mounting financial worries for retirees, and especially the one quarter of London pensioners already living in poverty.

It’s a scandal that some retirees are already worrying about whether they can afford to turn the heating on or use the toaster. Another effective cut to pensions would add insult to injury. Abandoning the 2019 Conservative Manifesto commitment to the triple lock on state pensions for the second year in a row would leave over 9,400 pensioners in South London £868 worse off on average.

I voted to protect the Triple Lock on pensions as part of Tuesday’s Labour Opposition Day on the issue. This week’s vote was a chance for the Tories to offer some reassurance and allay some of the uncertainty and worry facing struggling pensioners. They didn’t even turn up.

Streatham Business Awards: Celebrating Streatham’s Small Businesses

Bell standing with Louise Abbotts, Streatham BID manager, in front of a Streatham Business Awards backdrop.

Last week, we celebrated the best of small business in Streatham. Local businesses have been there for our community during a period of real difficulty, supported brilliantly by Streatham BID. Small independent businesses have been left struggling to cope with the pressures of the pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living crisis. I remember those uncertain early days of the pandemic when we saw local coffee shops providing free coffee to NHS workers, local computer shops repairing laptops at no cost, and a local firm laser-cutting PPE for local care workers facing a total shortage.

Streatham’s small independent businesses have proved that they are not just the lifeblood of our local economy but the lifeblood of the community. It’s really saddening to see the continued closure of local traders, who are being driven out by rising rents, soaring energy bills and above all, the very real financial uncertainty facing our country. It makes it all the more important to celebrate their contributions and remember we must use them or lose them.

Visiting Sunnyhill Primary School

Bell standing in front of Black History Month display, holding up a picture one of the pupils has drawn of her.

Joining Sunnyhill Primary School for their Monday morning assembly was the perfect start to a last week. They shared their brilliant Black History Month song with me and asked me some great questions about my role as an MP. I was also really impressed by the artwork kids drew for this year’s Black History Month display. As I often point out in Parliament, teachers are making the effort to integrate Black History Month in a way that the government should be emulating. Black history is British history. It should be taught in our schools year-round.

Youth Work Week 2022: London Youth Awards

Bell presents the 'Creating a Better London' Award to the Youth Realities team.

It was great to kick off Youth Work Week 2022 at the London Youth Awards in a ceremony that brought our city’s youth sector together to celebrate the impact of youth work and the people who make it happen. I was proud to present the ‘Creating a Better London Award’ to Youth Realities for their work on building inclusive and safe spaces for young people from minoritised or marginalised groups. Youth Work gives young people the opportunities to gain confidence, learn new skills and find passions. But after a decade which saw youth services slashed by 70%, the sector is stretched thin. We need to invest more in our youth services and our young people.

Solidarity with Nurses and Tube Workers

Bell on the picket line at Brixton station alongside nine other people, holding an 'RMT: Official Picket' sign.

Last Thursday saw tube workers walking out on strike to protect jobs, work-life balance, and pensions. I joined striking workers on the picket lines at Brixton and Elephant & Castle. These Tube strikes are happening because of the Tories’ determination to ransom TfL over Covid revenue losses. The funding deal foisted on TfL this year mandated it to pursue pay restraint at a time of rising prices, waste time and resources on “driverless trains” and look to cut pensions. TfL needs to do as tube workers are asking for: shelve its plans to cut station staff jobs, withdraw its threats to existing agreements and commit to not attacking the TfL pension scheme. Solidarity with members of the RMT.

The Royal College of Nurses voted for the first strike action in their 106-year history last Wednesday. If that doesn’t show the scale of the crisis facing workers in our NHS, I don’t know what does. Nurses have my full solidarity and support. The Government must end the low pay and understaffing driving nurses out of our health service. That means committing to a proper cost of living pay rise and setting out plans to reverse a decade of real terms pay cuts for NHS workers.

Black Maternal Health Report

Bell stands with MPs Florence Eshalomi & Kim Johnson and Black Maternal Health campaigners Clo Abe & Tinuke Awe. Bell and Florence hold an MPs Black Maternal Health pledge card, whilst Clo holds a pledge board signed by several MPs.

This week saw the publication of the latest MBRRACE report. This report reveals that Black women in the UK are over three times more likely to die during and after pregnancy and childbirth. It’s not enough for the Government to simply say they are listening. They need to move beyond words by setting binding targets to end racial health disparities in maternity care, as Labour has recently pledged to do. The colour of a mother’s skin should have no impact on her baby’s health or her own.

Fighting for Compensation with the WASPI Campaign

Bell standing with WASPI campaigners at their Labour conference stall holding a supportive sign.

Rapid changes to the pension age affecting 3.8 million retired women have left many facing financial hardship. I met with Debbie and Angela from the WASPI campaign team this week to follow up on Labour Conference meeting and discuss how we can push forwards their fight for fast and fair compensation.

Meeting with Debt Justice

At a time when countries urgently need resources to tackle the pandemic and climate emergency, more and more cash is being drained to wealthy lenders through debt payments. This week, I met with Debt Justice to discuss how fighting debt is integral to fighting the crises facing countries in the Global South. We must push for debt cancellation to allow climate-vulnerable countries to focus resources on tackling these pressing issues.

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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