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 – 28th May

May 28, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

28th May 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*

This week, Ofgem warned that average energy bills in the UK will hit £2,800 by the end of the year – a rise of 119% this year alone. Energy bills in France are rising by just 4%. The difference? The French people own their energy company. In Germany, a new public transport ticket will cost people just €9 (£7.70) a month.

While countries that own their energy and transport systems are using this money to really keep costs down, our Government has finally been forced into offering people additional help this week. Their plan falls way short of what these other countries are doing: a windfall tax that barely touches excess profits. It’s giving with one hand and taking with the other. And instead of recognising that our dependence on oil and gas is part of the problem, the Government is funnelling investment straight into them, coming alongside tax reliefs that will help oil and gas companies swerve some of the tax increases.

But as I said on Politics London last weekend, if energy companies are raking in massive profits from consumers year on year, that’s not just an argument for windfall taxes. It’s an argument to take energy into public ownership and use the money we pay shareholders to cut bills and invest in renewables instead.

Take energy into public ownership (22nd May 2022)

In Parliament

Public Order Bill: Defending our Right to Call for Change

Opposing the Public Order Bill - another attack on the right to protest (23rd May 2022)

On Monday, Parliament debated the first Bill of the new session. Faced with a crisis of escalating living costs, what’s the Government’s top priority for the coming months? Making it harder for people to protest. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the sheer scale of opposition that their response to the cost of living crisis is likely to generate. I voted against their Public Order Bill and also tabled a reasoned amendment to throw it out. Our country’s strong tradition of dissent is the reason we have the rights and freedoms we all enjoy today. But we have a Government that’s determined to entrench the power of the very wealthiest in our society and crack down on anyone who raises their voice in opposition to this.

Read my article on this Bill

Black Maternal Health: Learning from Lived Experiences

Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth. When the Government is asked take action on this, they often claim they don’t have enough data. This week, campaign organisation Five X More (who form the Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Black Maternal Health) have released their own survey of 1,300 Black women’s experiences of UK maternity care. I was honoured to give a keynote speech at the Royal College of Nursing but as I told the audience, it can’t be right that we have to re-live our trauma just to be listened to. With fully 43% of the women surveyed reporting facing discrimination in maternity care, the evidence of institutional racism is there for the Government to see. Now they need to act.

Make Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting Mandatory

Your salary shouldn’t be limited by your gender, the colour of your skin or your disability. But how can you call out unequal pay if you don’t know what your colleagues earn? On Tuesday, I hosted a parliamentary drop-in with UNISON on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. The Government must introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting to ensure equal work for equal pay – as recommended in our recent (cross-party) Women and Equalities Select Committee Report into the issue.

Child Citizenship Fees

We must stop pricing children out of their citizenship rights (08 Dec 2021)

Moving my amendment last year.

In a big win for the campaigners fighting to ensure no child is priced out of citizenship, the Government has been forced to waive the £1,012 child citizenship fee for children in state care and children whose families who can’t afford it. As recently as December, Tory MPs jeered my amendment to the Nationality & Borders Act last December that would have waived fees for children in care & cut fees to cost price. Now the Government is adapting them as policy. But with the Government currently charging £596 over the odds on every single application, we need to keep fighting to cut this fee to admin costs and make sure nobody is paying over the odds just to take up their right to citizenship.

Covid Memorial Quilt

I stopped by the Covid Memorial Quilt in Parliament on Wednesday to see how it’s coming along. Launched by my colleague Dawn Butler, this quilt is a tapestry of stories from constituencies up and down the country. Streatham’s beautiful entry, from the South London Refugee Association, is a call for an end to No Recourse to Public Funds, which left people from migrant communities destitute during the pandemic and left to rely on charity and a postcode lottery.

In and around Streatham

Bringing Better Transport to Streatham

South London is being shortchanged on transport (22nd May 2022)

I was very happy to be on Politics London this weekend, discussing the cost of living crisis, dental care, and transport in South London. There’s a North-South divide when it comes to London’s transport. If they’re going to fix this, the Government needs to stop punishing TfL for being publicly owned, devolve rail services and agree a long-term funding settlement for TfL to improve infrastructure in Streatham and across South London.

Back in Town Hall

On Wednesday, I joined my Lambeth Labour colleagues Florence Eshalomi MP and Helen Hayes MP at Lambeth Town Hall for the first full council meeting since the local elections. I’d like to thank Councillor Annie Gallop for her service to our community over the last year and congratulate our newly elected Mayor Pauline George, the first British Nigerian woman to represent our borough, who will make an outstanding ambassador for our community.

Sign our Petition to Save Streatham’s Station Ticket Offices

Catching up with Local Teachers

On a visit to Iqra Primary School last year

On Monday, I joined my constituency neighbour Florence Eshalomi MP to meet with a local delegation of education trade unionists to discuss questions of school funding and teachers’ pay. Our schools are currently facing the consequences of years of austerity, compounded by the impact of Covid on education. Teacher pay is about 20% less than it would be if it was linked to inflation. From 2010-2019, the average classroom teacher and teaching assistant saw real terms pay cuts of £4,400 and £4,000 respectively.

Like many, teachers and support staff are finding escalating living costs unmanageable, particularly in London. We have a recruitment and retention crisis in the profession with 30% of teachers leaving within the first five years. I’m committed to working with teachers and their unions to ensure our schools are properly funded and our teachers are properly paid and supported.

Jubilee Celebrations at Henry Cavendish Primary

On Thursday, I joined our new Lambeth Mayor Pauline George and students at Henry Cavendish Primary this week for their Jubilee celebrations, where we handed out prizes for their fantastic celebratory models and letters to the Queen. It was also a lot of fun being interviewed for their school radio station about my journey into politics and how I’ll be celebrating the Jubilee bank holiday.

Standing up for Residents Facing Substandard Housing

People living at St Giles House who’ve been dealing with a number of issues lately. An elderly resident recently had her bag stolen outside the front door of the building, losing her front door key and key fob to access the building in the process. When following up on this, I was made aware of several other issues that their provider, Sanctuary Housing, had failed to address – including a serious leak that had been going on since before Christmas.

I organised a meeting between St Giles’ House residents and the Regional Director of Sanctuary housing so residents could tell their provider about some of the issues they’ve been experiencing first-hand, which took place on Friday. I’m pleased to say that Sanctuary, their housing provider, has made several improvements as a result of the issues I raised after the last visit, replacing the ruined carpets, fixing the leak, and instituting an emergency phone number to report disrepair issues in future. Today, they also promised to set out a timetable for works, pledged to communicate properly around any future delay in repairs and committed to a meeting to run through service charges with residents and explain exactly what they’re getting for their money.

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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