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 – 22nd November 2022

Nov 22, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

22nd November 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*,

This week saw the long-awaited Autumn Statement, which set out another raft of measures that shelter the rich whilst squeezing the rest. Hunt talked a lot about “global headwinds” in Thursday’s speech but the Government refuse to acknowledge the fact that the UK is the only G7 country with a smaller economy than before the pandemic. Worse still, we are forecast to have the lowest growth of all 38 OECD countries over next two years. The British people deserve so much better than this grim economic outlook of rising energy bills, crumbling public services and falling pay.

Austerity is a political choice; not an economic necessity. It didn’t work over the last twelve years and it isn’t going to now. Instead of hammering public services, the Government should be following the money and taxing the windfalls of pandemic and war. In our rigged economy, these have largely benefitted big corporations and the very richest in our society. Maintaining basic levels of public investment, income, and public services, should be any government’s first priority.

Labour Graphic which reads, Pay More, Get Less: Inflation at a 41 year high. The lowest predicted growth in the G7. The highest taxes for over 70 years. An economy heading into recession. And thanks to Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak, yet more austerity. Only Labour will deliver a fresh start for Britain.

Stop Tory Bus Cuts: Save the 45!

Picture of Bell campaigning against Tory bus cuts with local Labour councillors Martin Abrams and Tom Rutland.

This week, I wrote to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, reiterating my call to protect the 45 bus route between Clapham Park and Elephant & Castle. The Tories’ failure to cover TfL’s lost Covid revenues has left London’s bus network facing major cuts. As a constituency without a tube station, I know these cuts present a real worry for many residents. All the evidence shows that losing bus services will disproportionately impact people on low incomes, people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, disabled people and pregnant women. The Tories must stop swinging the axe at our transport infrastructure.

Marching with Midwives

Bell standing with protesters at the March for Midwives demonstration. Holding signs that read: Angry women will change the world. Midwives should be priceless, not penniless.

On Sunday afternoon, I joined midwives in our NHS to march on Parliament and highlight the emergency in UK maternity care. Most people in modern Britain owe our lives to a midwife but failures to address chronic staff shortages and invest in maternity services now leave them under incredible strain.

Midwifery services are at breaking point, with shortages of more than 3,500 midwives across the UK. For every 30 midwives that train to enter the profession, 29 are leaving or never entering the workforce. 60% of midwives surveyed last year were considering quitting their jobs. Up to 30% of all mothers rate their birth as traumatic. This is an unacceptable level in a wealthy country like the UK and reflects the chronic under-resourcing of our health service.

As the Royal College of Midwives itself has stated: “Not a day goes by that we don’t hear of a maternity service having to close temporarily, suspend services or divert women to other maternity units just because there simply aren’t enough midwives. This can’t continue because we know it compromises safety and means women don’t always get the safe positive pregnancy and birth experience that they should.”

A year on from last year’s ground-breaking demonstrations, nothing has changed. The Royal College of Midwives will ballot in Scotland, England, and Wales on industrial action this Autumn. Early indications suggesting there is a genuine appetite for a strike. It doesn’t need to be this way. All midwives want is the resources to do their job safely and provide care. It’s time for the Government to close the staffing gap and bring forward the necessary funding to give midwives, mothers and parents the level of care they all deserve.

Visiting the MSI Reproductive Choices Clinic

Bell inside the MSI Choices clinic with staff in front of a poster which reads "Reproductive Rights are Human Rights".

This week, I visited MSI Reproductive Choices clinic on Brixton Hill to see first-hand the important work that staff are doing to support women in our area in the face of staffing challenges, funding shortages and targeted anti-abortion protests. I was very concerned to hear that in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s decisions, anti-abortion activists in the UK have felt emboldened to step their protests up. I was told by staff that they’ve gone from happening once a month to being a weekly feature.

Seeking an abortion can be a difficult decision that comes with unnecessary shame and stigma and having to pass through a gauntlet of people only makes one of the hardest days of a woman’s life even harder. That’s why I’ve called on Lambeth Council to implement a buffer zone outside the clinic.

Coverage of my visit on Brixon Blog

Building a Safer Streatham

Together, Streatham Youth Community Trust and Lambeth Connects are creating a safe space to discuss the impact of violence on our community. Their first meeting takes place at 6:30pm on Monday the 21st of November at 16 Wellfield Road (SW16 2BP). Find out more about their community outreach pilot 👇🏾

SYCT flyer that reads: We would like to know how violence in our community impacts on you and your family. You can share your concerns and feelings with others who understand. We can provide confidential one to one conversations. You can have a voice, have a say and influence services. No booking required. Please join us. For more information email: daphne@syct.org.uk

Christmas Card Competition

Festive graphic "Bell's Christmas Card Competition 2022"

This week, I launched my 2022 Christmas Card competition. Every year, kids in our community get the chance to design my annual Christmas card, which goes out to thousands of people in Streatham, Brixton Hill, Clapham Common, Tulse Hill and Balham. This year’s theme is Festive Streatham. I’m on the lookout for entries that capture the distinctive feel of Christmas in our constituency. Think about Christmas light displays and festive shop windows on Streatham High Road, a dusting of snow on Clapham Common, the Christmas Farmers’ Market in Balham, skating at Streatham ice rink, carols on our estates with Brixton Chamber Orchestra, or anything else that makes you think of Christmas in our community.

Everything you need to know about my Christmas Card Competition

Nehemiah Surgery

Bell running a casework surgery with a member of her team.

The Nehemiah Project is an independent recovery charity which works with vulnerable adult men with a history of addiction. On Friday, I organised a pop-up surgery to help residents with a range of issues they were experiencing. These ranged from housing issues to issues with the council and the justice system.

Celebrating Brazilian Black Awareness Day

Bell addressing a small audience at the Afro ID event.

Every year on the 20th of November, Brazil marks Black Awareness Day to reflect on the history of Black people in Brazil. I joined Afro-Id UK for a special event to mark the day, which coincides with the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, a pioneering anti-slavery fighter whose story reminds us of the interconnectedness of racial, social end environmental justice. It was great to find out more about Brazil’s rich history of resistance to slavery in particular and support their mission promoting anti-racist education and recovering occluded histories.

Afruika Bantu Saturday School Black History Event

On Saturday, I joined the Afruika Bantu Saturday School (ABSS), based in Tulse Hill, for their 21st Memorial Lecture. ABSS was established in 1996 as a Saturday school to deliver education to children of African Heritage between the ages of 5-16 years old. As well as teaching Maths, Science and English, the Afruika Bantu School also teaches Black history. The focus of this year’s event was the recent fatal police shooting of Chris Kaba and I was happy to contribute to the discussion.

Votes at 16

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, Florence Eshalomi MP and Helen Hayes MP with young people. Florence holds a sign reading "Let's make a difference together".

In my work as an MP, I’m passionate about teaching our kids about the power they have as citizens. I’m a firm believer that our democracy is enriched when everyone has the opportunity to participate. So it was great to join my friend and constituency neighbour Florence Eshalomi for a fantastic Votes at 16 parliamentary event on Tuesday. We met some inspiring young people from Lambeth to discuss lowering the voting age and other ways to ensure young people have a meaningful say on decisions that impact their lives.

As ever, if you have any questions about the work I’m doing as MP, please get in touch at this address: bell.ribeiroaddy.mp@parliament.uk.

Best wishes,

Bell Ribeiro-Addy,
Labour MP for Streatham

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