Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour Candidate for Clapham & Brixton Hill
From Clapham & Brixton Hill, For Clapham & Brixton Hill

Please note: Parliament has now been dissolved until after the General Election, meaning I am no longer an MP.

Bell’s Regular Newsletter – 25th February 2023

Feb 25, 2023 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

25th February 2023

Dear *|FNAME|*,

On Friday, the United Kingdom held a one-minute silence at 11am to mark the one-year anniversary of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Solidarity with the people of Ukraine and all those who have sought refuge in our country. It has been genuinely inspiring to witness people opening their hearts and homes to Ukrainian refugees. This week also brought news that thousands of Afghan refugees have been forced to cross the Channel in boats because the Government only resettled 22 people last year. The baseline of support that has been provided to refugees from Ukraine should be the floor, not the ceiling. There is an urgent need to expand safe routes and give people the chance to rebuild their lives in our country.

Disabled by the Railway

Bell outside Ten Downing Street with her constituent Sam, handing in her petition on railway accessibility.

On Monday, I was invited by my constituent Sam to join a petition hand-in on behalf of the National Federation for the Blind. This petition set out the organisation’s opposition to the Government’s so-called “modernisation” plans, which is really just a euphemism for cuts. As things stand, rail companies are failing to provide adequate service levels to all customers but this is even more pronounced for disabled customers in our area, who have faced failed assist after failed assist from train companies. Just last week, Sam herself was denied travel twice in a single day! Cutting staffing levels and slash ticket offices on our rail network would only reduce rail accessibility and safety, hitting the disabled hardest. When Downing Street itself is unable to provide the right ramp to get someone who uses a wheelchair up the door, what hope is there for our trains?

Supporting NHS Workers with Keep Our NHS Public

Bell with Keep NHS Public activists in front of Big Ben. One holds a sign that says 'Stand with NHS Staff: Protect the NHS & Secure Safe Care for All'.

On Wednesday afternoon, I met with campaigners from Keep Our NHS Public to take delivery of over 800 postcards from picket line supporters urging MPs to support NHS workers. Across our NHS, low pay levels and high stress levels are driving staff out, heaping further stress on those who stay. Any policymaker who is serious about addressing the crisis facing our health service would be pushing for the pay rise nurses, paramedics, and junior doctors are asking for.

Visiting My Old Primary School

Bell speaks to pupils at Holy Trinity Primary C of E in a classroom.

It was lovely to be back at my old school, Holy Trinity Church of England Primary, on Friday morning to answer some great questions on my role as Streatham’s MP and hear about their campaign on plastic pollution, which they’ve written to me about as well. I was also very pleased to bump into Leah, who designed one of the winning entries in my most recent Christmas card competition!

Presenting Awards at the Jack Petchey Foundation’s Speak Out Challenge

Bell with Lambeth Mayor Pauline George and the Speak Out challenge winners.

On Wednesday evening, I had the honour of giving out awards at the Lambeth Regional Final of the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge – hosted at Dunraven School. For over two decades, the Jack Petchey Foundation and Speaker’s Trust have been empowering young people and investing in them. They not only provide them with the skills to be able to deliver such amazing speeches, but also the space to talk about the issues they care about.

Finland Visit

Bell and her Labour colleague Nadia Whittome MP speaking with Finnish housing activists about the country's Housing First model.

It was great to be in Finland over Recess week with several Labour colleagues at the invitation of the Rosa Luxemburg Thinktank to see what a progressive government can do. We met with Finnish Parliament members, Government ministers and campaigners to see how innovative approaches to housing, public spaces, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental policy are improving life for the many.

Tackling Unequal Pay

Bell and her Labour colleague Nadia Whittome MP speaking with Finnish housing activists about the country's Housing First model.

It was great to chair a parliamentary event in support of Black Members in Unison’s campaign for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting alongside my colleagues David Lammy MP, Anneliese Dodds MP, Florence Eshalomi MP, Anum Qaisar MP, and Gloria Mills. Your salary shouldn’t be limited by your gender, the colour of your skin or your disability. The Government should bring in mandatory pay gap reporting for ethnicity and other protected characteristics.

This week also saw he day when women start earning relative to men. With the gender pay gap now standing at 14.9%, women effectively worked from January 1st until the 23rd February for free. On current progress, it will be over 20 years before the UK closes our gender pay gap.

The Government must do more to ensure equal pay for equal work. That means fixing our broken childcare system, introducing a legal right to flexible working, forcing companies to publish action plans to address pay gaps or face fines, and bring in better leave rights for dads and partners.

Unjust: We Need a New Approach to Cannabis Policy

Bell with fellow panellists from Release, Drugs Policy Alliance, and Unjust.

I was happy to host a great event with Unjust and Release in Parliament this week with special guest Kassandra Frederique of the USA’s Drug Policy Alliance. They have been instrumental in driving forwards better outcomes in the US, including pushing for a social equity approach to cannabis legalisation. The UK could learn a lot from this approach to cannabis, which is centred on evidence, harm reduction, and reversing the damage that criminalisation has done to black and working class communities.

Advancing Racial Equity in the Workplace

Bell speaking on a panel in a modern looking building.

On Tuesday, I was invited to join the Advancing Racial Equity Conference at Landing Forty Two in Leadenhall to discuss how we can build truly equal workplaces. We talked about how we can ensure that experiences of racism are listened to and acted on at the level of policymaking. This is absolutely crucial if we are going to ensure nobody faces discrimination in the workplace.

Racial Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace

It was great to speak to the Institute of Government and Public Policy’s third annual Race Inclusion and Workplace Diversity Conference to discuss some of the latest policies and best-case studies on overcoming barriers in building a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone.

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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