Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

for Streatham (and parts of Balham, Clapham Common, Tulse Hill and Brixton Hill)

Newsletter 2nd April 2022

Apr 2, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter 2nd April 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*

Today we are witnessing the largest rises in UK energy prices on record, which are likely to push 1.3 million people into absolute poverty. This crisis was decades in the making: the logical endpoint of a system where the need for short-term returns to shareholders has outweighed considerations like transitioning to renewables, insulating our homes, and other things that would have built resilience to the volatility of oil and gas prices.

Tackling soaring energy bills with a Windfall Tax (01 Feb 2022)

Making the case for a Windfall Tax on oil and gas giants in Parliament

But even now, there’s so much more the Government could have done. BP and Shell have already reported combined profits of £23billion on the back of this price rise, with shareholders in these companies taking home £147 billion since 2010. A windfall tax on these excess profits would have shifted the burden of the energy bills crisis away from households already struggling after 12 years of austerity. Put simply, the Government has chosen to allow oil and gas producers to continue making record profits from price rises, which are making life miserable for everyone else.

In Parliament

Policing Bill

Speaking out against the Policing Bill earlier this year

This week, the Tories reinserted a number of draconian amendments to their Policing Bill, like provisions to crack down on “noisy” protests. Concerted resistance from Peers has killed off some of the worst features of this Bill and they voted this particular amendment down again this week. But whatever final form this Bill takes, attacks on the right to protest and minoritised communities are already baked in. I fought tooth and nail to prevent this bill passing, joining protesters in the streets to try and stop it and tabling amendments to reverse some of its most discriminatory provisions. When it eventually passes, it falls on everyone who values civil liberties to stand together and build a movement that’s so big even this Government cannot just ignore it.

Health and Care Bill

Standing with protesters to oppose the Health and Care Bill

This week also saw another consideration of Lords amendments for the Health and Care Bill. There was one good piece of news emerging from this vote, with MPs voted to overturn Government plans to scrap telemedical abortion care. This was a rare pandemic gain, which saw barriers removed and reduced waiting times for women trying to access abortion care. Getting rid of this would have been a huge rollback on reproductive rights. I’m glad that MPs from across the House saw sense and put the right to choose first. But this Bill is still forcing a top-down reorganisation on the NHS at a time of real difficulty for no other reason than to roll out the red carpet for private companies.

Ahead of the Spring Statement, I joined my friend Ian Byrne MP and other Socialist Campaign Group colleagues to hand in his Right to Food letter to Ten Downing Street. The levels of food insecurity afflicting our country are a direct consequence of ten years of Tory policies which have created higher and higher levels of poverty, precarity and inequality. Just this week, food banks reported they were having to refuse potato donations because people cannot afford the energy to boil them. We should put the right to food in law and hold the Government accountable for this failure.

Trans Rights are Human Rights

Standing with my friends in LGBT+ Labour

Jamie Wallis’s brave decision to come out as the first trans MP this week is surely a watershed moment. And the warm reaction across the House shows that on an individual level, even MPs are capable of love and acceptance. Sadly, this compassion is not being mirrored at the level of policy. On the very day we celebrated trans visibility, the Government first appeared to row back altogether on its previous commitment to ban conversion therapy for all LGBTQ+ people. Then they clarified that they would be banning conversion therapy after all, but not for trans people. Promising to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people while excluding trans people sends a clear message that trans people are not worthy of the same rights, dignity and safety as their peers. We still have a long fight ahead of us to build a truly inclusive society where everyone is free to be who they are.

In the constituency

Improving Local Support for Dementia

Discussing how we can better support dementia patients locally

It was great to hear from Alzheimer’s Society advisers Tracey and Basia about the situation facing dementia patients during the pandemic and how I can better support people in Streatham. We talked about the necessity to keep testing free for care workers and people in care homes alike and the need for wider reform of our whole social care system. This meeting has only furthered my belief that the Government’s social care plan falls short of what our community needs. It only strengthens my commitment to fight for a social care solution that meets the needs of dementia patients and everyone else with unmet care needs.

They also drew my attention to Lambeth Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), a local vehicle for organisations and individuals to work together to make Lambeth a more dementia friendly community, where people living with dementia are understood, respected and supported, and confident that they can contribute to community life. They are currently looking for someone to chair this vital group. If you’d be interested in this role, please email tracey.wells@alzheimers.org.uk for an informal chat.

Restoring Police Trust After Child Q

This week, I’ve also joined my Lambeth colleagues Helen Hayes MP and Florence Eshalomi MP to write to the borough commander. It emerged that Lambeth has the highest number of strip searches in London. From 2018-2021, there were 334 strip searches carried out in our borough and 216 (65%) of those searched were black. 17 of those searched were children and 11 of them were black. With community confidence in policing at an all-time low we’ve requested a meeting, asked what the justification is for these exceptionally high figures, and asked what steps will be taken to restore trust in the wake of Child Q.

Watch last week’s Urgent Question on the strip search of Child Q

Out and About in the Constituency

Out and about with our Labour Mayor and our Labour Council candidates

It was great to welcome council candidates from across the borough and our Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan to the constituency to campaign last Saturday. I spoke to residents in the new Clapham Common & Abbeville, Brixton Acre Lane and Brixton Rush Common wards, listening to the issues they wanted to raise and discussing how our candidates are looking to build on local Labour achievements over the last few years.

An Honest Conversation About Lambeth Past, Present and Future

Excavating Lambeth's links to slavery and colonialism (25th March 2022)

Discussing Lambeth’s review of sites connected with slavery on BBC News

While the Tory Government’s response to calls to address racism remains denial and gaslighting, Lambeth’s Labour Council is doing the right thing and starting an honest conversation about our area’s links to the transatlantic slave trade. Stage one of their consultation has identified several sites honouring figures associated with the Transatlantic slave trade. For the next stage of this process, they’re consulting on how we should reimagine these sites for the 21st century. This isn’t about erasing the past – as many detractors claim – it’s about excavating it and asking why we continue to put people who profited from slavery on a pedestal.

Have your say on sites in Lambeth connected with the slave trade

NHS Parliament Awards

The NHS is going through one of the most difficult periods of its lifetime. Arriving hot on the heels of a decade of privatisation and underfunding, the pandemic has placed unreasonable demands on people working in our health service. I want to recognise and celebrate the efforts of people and organisations that make up our NHS. All our NHS staff are exceptional but I’m urging everyone in Streatham to tell me about individuals and organisations that have gone above and beyond over the last year. Get your nominations over to me by 5pm next Wednesday: bell.ribeiroaddy.mp@parliament.uk.

Nominate your local NHS legends now

Campaigning

Justice for Belly Mujinga

Belly’s loved ones add their hearts to the wall

Last weekend, Belly Mujinga should have been celebrating her 49th birthday with her family. But instead, they were mourning her loss. I joined them at the National Covid memorial wall to mark her birthday and reiterate our call for justice. With the inquest into Belly’s death slowly approaching, let’s keep her and her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. It’s absolutely vital for her family to get some clear answers about her untimely death.

Watch my speech

National Covid Memorial Day

At the National Covid Memorial Wall reflecting on how much has been lost

The first heart was painted on the National Covid Memorial Wall a year ago this week. The wall is now adorned by 180,000+ hearts – each commemorating someone who has lost their life to Covid. As well as remembering them in our thoughts and our prayers, let’s also keep fighting for an inquiry that holds those accountable. While everyone else was making huge sacrifices to keep one another safe, the corrupt cabal running the country were living it up and laughing at us. Just this week, police issued 20 fines in connection with their Downing Street parties. We heard how the Government paid £122m for unusable gowns from a company with links to a Tory Peer at a cost of £76m more than they were purchased for. This contract was personally fast tracked by Michael Gove. These things only hammer home how important it is to have a proper inquiry into everything that’s happened during the pandemic.

To find out more 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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