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 – 9th September

Sep 9, 2023 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

9th September 2023

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Last Friday, thousands of children up and down the country were told they would not be returning to their usual classrooms at the start of the new term because the buildings they learn in are no longer safe. Among the 156 schools receiving this eleventh hour call from the Government was Corpus Christi Primary in Brixton Hill. Their shambolic handling of this only compounds the pressures facing teachers and pupils starting a new school year after years of cuts.

I’ve been in contact with both the school and the Education Minister regarding this situation and will continue to push the government. Schools are being asked to cover the costs of disruption for now, with the government reassuring them multiple times that they will pay them back. Yet when I spoke to the Minister he suggested this was not the case as the school is under a Trust.

It’s not just the short-term mismanagement of this situation, it’s the long-term neglect. The Corpus Christi senior leadership team reminded me that our schools haven’t had money for capital works for some time. After 13 years of Tory Government, public services are now falling down around us. The risk of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been clear for decades. Instead of investing in a long term plan to make buildings safe, the Tories slashed funding to tackle it.

When officials warned Rishi Sunak that school buildings had deteriorated to such an extent that they posed “a critical risk to life” and urged him to increase the repair budget, he personally made the decision to cut it instead. Yet again, we’re in a position where the Tories’ failure to fix the roof whilst the sun was shining has cost us more in the long run.  Unbelievably, the Education Secretary believes we should be grateful for their chronic mismanagement. She was caught off-mic this week berating an ITV reporter that she had done a “f*****g good job”.

This week, Labour urged the Government to come clean over how we reached this situation, tabling a motion in Parliament to try and secure the release of documents detailing spending negotiations between the education department and the Treasury from from 2020 to 2022. Tory MPs were whipped to vote this down and keep us in the dark.

Labour graphic that says "The Tories are keeping parents in the dark. I voted to uncover the truth about dangerous schools."

Supporting Streatham BID’s High Street Summit

Bell stands at Streatham Hill Station holding a mock train ticket sign that says 'cut their profits not out ticket offices'

It was great to chair this week’s High Street Summit organised by Streatham Business Improvement District, bringing together local small businesses to discuss the issues they currently face. Our small businesses have been hit particularly hard by the Conservatives’ handling of Brexit, Covid and fossil fuel inflation.

Our small business community brings so much colour and character to our High Street and it’s vital that we keep working to ensure our local independents thrive and survive. I was also pleased to update that TFL has announced a 20mph speed limit on the A23 through Streatham and will implement this in due course. This is something local businesses have requested for some time.

Remembering Chris Kaba, One Year On

Bell with the Kaba family and Justice for Chris Kaba campaigner, Kayza Rose.

The fatal police shooting of Chris Kaba a year ago this week sent shockwaves through our community. On the 5th September, the vehicle he was driving was brought to a forced stop by police on Kirkstall Gardens, a quiet residential road in the heart of our constituency, where he was shot in the head through the front windscreen.

Earlier this year, his death was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision. But months later, his family are still waiting for the outcome of this decision. On the anniversary of his death, his family reiterated their dignified and restrained plea for truth, accountability, and justice. These things should be hardwired into policing; but they are not.

I hosted a parliamentary event for the Kaba family and other campaigners involved in the long struggle for justice this week. We remembered Chris and the 1,869 others who died in police custody or after contact with the police since 1990. Just one police officer has been successfully prosecuted.

Women and Equalities Select Committee Work

Continuing our inquiry into Sexism and Inequalities in Sport, this week the Committee heard evidence from senior leadership figures from Netball, Hockey and Tennis. I raised questions regarding the gender balance in the leadership of these sports and how more gender diversity in the highest positions of leadership in female sports can help to shed light on, and resolve gender-specific issues around periods, maternity, menopause, injuries and sexism.

The recent scandal surrounding the behaviours of senior male figures in Spanish Football has sadly overshadowed the historic victory of the Spanish Women’s National Team at the Women’s World Cup, and the evidence we heard at the Committee meeting this week made clear that attitudes and culture amongst senior leaders in sports needs to change, as well as the diversity of the leadership teams.  

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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