Constituency Newsletter – 8th March 2024

Mar 8, 2024 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

8th March 2024

Dear *|FNAME|*,

This week, the government set out its spring budget in Parliament. Sadly, instead of prioritising long-term investments to fix our crumbling NHS, schools, and other public services, they have chosen to take money out of future budgets for a pre-election giveaway to their base.

Distracted boyfriend meme: Distracted boyfriend (The Tories) looks at a girl in a red dress (Tax handouts that mainly benefit the wealthy) and away from his understandably disgruntled girlfriend (Investment in crumbling schools, hospitals, and council services).

The headline measure from this cut and run budget was a 2p cut to National Insurance Contributions. For every £1 spent on NIC cuts, 46p will go to the richest households. Just 3p will go to the poorest. And every penny is money taken away from school, hospital, and council budgets, where it is so badly needed. Tax cuts are never free and do not pay for themselves, they are funded by spending cuts to vital public services and borrowing. Unprotected departments will see budgets cut by around 17% in the next Parliament.

We know that austerity has been disproportionately inflicted on Labour councils. Our local council’s core government funding has already been slashed by more than half since the Tories took power. We’ve seen libraries and children’s centres forced to close. The main impact of these cuts will be felt further down the line in further service reductions.

The cost-of-living crisis has gone nowhere and yet instead of helping those who are struggling, the Tories are giving tax breaks that mostly benefit the rich. Tory austerity has stagnated the economy and created higher living costs with no end in sight. Instead of treating economic growth as a pre-requisite for public investment, we need our government to treat public investment as a pre-requisite for economic growth.

We Need Policing Reform 

The last two weeks rightly put the spotlight back on the urgent need for policing reform. As we remembered Sarah Everard, killed and kidnapped in our community by a serving police officer three years ago, Phase One of the Angiolini Review was published. This report examined how Sarah’s killer, Wayne Couzens, was able to become and remain a police officer in spite of an extensive alleged history of serious sexual offences and predatory behaviour dating back over 20 years (including his time in the job). We also saw the release of a BBC documentary looking at Sarah’s murder, how this devastating crime unfolded, and its lasting impact on her loved ones and the country. 

Today also saw another important development, with the naming of the officer who shot and killed Chris Kaba in September 2022. His trial is scheduled to begin later this year, on the 1st of October. In any other murder trial, the accused would be named. There was no reason why this one should be any different. My thoughts and prayers are with Chris’s friends and family as their fight for justice continues. 

Watch Sarah Everard: the Search for Justice on BBC iPlayer

Fare Freeze Campaigning 

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP is standing with six others outside of Clapham Common Station, holding leaflets about Sadiq Khan's fare freeze and the run-up to the May 2nd Mayoral election.

I was lovely to be out on Monday talking to people at Clapham Common Station. Whilst the Tories let rail companies hit us with another huge fare hike, our Labour Mayor is freezing TfL fares this year for the fifth time since he was elected. This is the kind of difference that Labour in power can make, putting money back in people’s pockets, unlike our government who let profiteering train companies hike fares year after year. 

Clapham Common Post Office Closes Its Doors

Local Labour councillors stand outside the post office in front of a red Communication Workers Union banner holding a red Clapham Town Labour Party banner and placards that say Defend Clapham Common Crown Post Office.

I am gutted that the closure of Clapham Common Post Office went ahead this week despite our concerted community campaign to keep it open. We marched, wrote letters, signed petitions, answered consultations and campaigned for months to try and prevent this from happening. But sadly, our services have fallen victim to a mismanaged company that is desperately looking for money to fund compensation for the Horizon Scandal. Councillors will keep fighting for the Post Office to listen to local voices and open a replacement branch. 

Streatham Wells LTN Suspended 

An aerial image of the congestion caused by the Streatham Low Traffic Neighbourhood trial run. Buses and cars are still, in close proximity, backed up as far as the eye can see.

I was relieved to hear Lambeth Council has suspended the Streatham Wells LTN trial today in light of severe disruption to bus routes. Measures to encourage sustainable transport, cut traffic and emissions, and improve road safety are vital but this LTN wasn’t working in its current form. I welcome the announcement of new bus priority measures alongside the walking and cycling upgrades starting in a few months’ time. Look out for the consultations on these, which will be published in due course. 

Women in Westminster: Making the 100 List

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP stands in a wood panelled parliamentary committee room, holding a Women in Westminster brochure in front of a Women in Westminster banner.

I was pleased to be featured on this year’s Women in Westminster list and glad to attend an official announcement event this week, where we celebrated some of the work happening to fight for gender equality and create equal representation at every level of our politics. 

Only with a parliament that believes in equal representation can we continue to make progress in women’s rights and women’s safety. So many women feel distrustful of the system and the police, feel unsafe to walk home unaccompanied and these fears are not baseless. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done and I’m proud to be one of the women in Parliament that voice these issues and concerns and hopefully bring about enduring change. 

No One’s Listening: Addressing Failures in Sickle Cell Care

Asking the Government About Improving Sickle Cell Care (7th March 2024)

This week marked 10 years since the death of my friend Adjuah Annan, who had sickle cell anaemia. Her untimely death at the age of just 28 was a direct result of serious failings in her care. Adjuah’s experiences and those of many others are outlined in the landmark Sickle Cell Society and APPG report, ‘No One’s Listening’. 

Since this report was published in 2021, the government has failed to meaningfully engage with it. 10 years after we lost Adjuah, countless others with Sickle Cell and Thalassemia are still experiencing substandard care, unequal treatment and, in some cases, lethal negligence. This week, I pushed the government on this ignored report, asking when they will implement its recommendations. 

Visiting Streatham and Clapham High School 

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP standing with five students and the Headteacher of Streatham and Clapham High School. They are all smiling and standing in front of a screen that says 'Who Are We, International Women's Day [Bell pictured]'.

It was a pleasure to speak to the students at Streatham and Clapham High School in the run up to International Women’s Day. I was able to talk about my experience as a woman in Parliament but also encourage the girls to pursue their dreams and overcome male dominated industries, which we know can be intimidating to any young woman. We must keep striving for equality across the board at every level of our workplaces and our politics. 

Pushing for a Ban on Conversion Therapy

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP standing with Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, Apsana Begum MP, and Kate Osborne MP smiling and holding a placard that says 'I Support a Trans-Inclusive Ban #BanConversionTherapy'.

I was in Parliament to support Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP’s private members bill to bring in a no loopholes ban on conversion practices. The government promised to ban these practices, which are tantamount to torture, years ago but Tory MPs stopped it from passing today. Conversion therapy is a reprehensible practice that continues to ruin people’s lives. In the five and a half years since the government pledged to end conversion practices, we have seen this proposed law watered down again and again and repeatedly shelved. The current iteration has little to no protection for trans people. We urgently need enforceable legislation to protect LGBTQ+ people. 

End UK Arms Sales to Israel 

Westminster Hall Debate on Israeli Arms Sales (12th Dec 2023)

I joined over 200 elected representatives from around the world to sign a declaration voicing our commitment to preventing our countries from exporting arms to Israel. This is something I have consistently pushed for – most recently in Zarah Sultana’s Westminster Hall debate on the issue [link]. Banning military exports to Israel is the absolute bare minimum the UK Government can do. We shouldn’t be doing supplying military hardware that is being used to kill civilians. 

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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