Pathway to Success 2022 at the House of Commons

It was lovely to meet participants of the Pathway To Success Leadership Programme at the House of Commons earlier this month.

The Pathway to Success Leadership Programme is a 5-day residential programme at the University of Oxford organised by Operation Black Vote (OBV) in partnership with the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government and Magdalen College, and the House of Commons to nurture the country’s future Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders.

I really enjoyed hearing about the stories and aspirations of the participants and how they are involved in civic society and business. Visit OBV’s website for more details of their work.

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Visit to St Augustine’s new library in Belvedere

I was delighted to be invited to officially open a new library at St Augustine of Canterbury Primary School in Belvedere.  

A library is an instrumental place for students of all ages to read, learn and reflect on all that they are interested in. Through reading about different lives and characters, children learn to connect and better understand the people around them. Libraries played such an important role in my life, and I am heartened to know that the children at St Augustine will have this opportunity too.

The outdoor adventure theme of the library was decided by the School Parliament. The theme was executed by Acorn Book Club and included a mountain camp hideaway, reading tent and cosy campfire! 

I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of all the staff at St Augustine of Canterbury Primary School and Acorn Book Club to this project and the students. It was lovely to discover that employees from the Belvedere and Northumberland Heath branches raised over £1000 in support of the library. 

Abena Oppong-Asare visit St Augustine new library in Belvedere.

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Abena closes the Financial Services and Markets Bill Debate

On 7th September, as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, I spoke in the House of Commons on the Financial Services and Markets Bill, making the closing arguments for the Opposition.

I broadly welcome this legislation. I am committed to helping the UK’s financial sector maintain its position as a competitive global financial centre. At the same time, this should not mean any compromise on financial stability or consumer protection post Brexit.

Speaking in the House, I argued that that everyone should have access to the financial services they need, whether that is saving schemes or insurance, and regardless of their income or circumstances. I made the point that all too often, the most vulnerable in our society are unable to afford or are denied access to financial products and services that meet their needs.

I made clear to the Government that if they are serious about building a strong future for our financial services outside the EU, they should recognise that the Bill is an opportunity to rethink how financial resilience, inclusion and wellbeing issues are tackled in the UK.

More widely, I am disappointed that the Bill does not do enough on financial exclusion. I believe we need to protect access to face-to-face banking services and address the extra costs that poorer people pay for essential services such as insurance or loans or credit cards.

As the Bill proceeds through Parliament, I will support efforts to push for bolder, more radical action in a number of areas including green finance, financial inclusion and economic crime. It is important that this legislation delivers not just for our financial services industry but for the wider economy as well.

You can read my speech here or watch the speech here.

 

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Media Interview with Hend Kheiralla

I sat down with Hend Kheiralla, host of the Ladies of the Lakes radio show, to discuss my journey into politics, getting started as a new MP after my election in 2019, my experience representing Erith and Thamesmead so far, and advice for those interested in politics. I also spoke about the importance of allyship, networks and mentorship.

Abena said:

I think female representation is important in Parliament as well as diversity… because I think it is important to have people from all walks of life.

Ladies of the Lakes is a series of interviews exploring stories of women who grew up and lived in Thamesmead.

You can listen to the full interview here.

HEND INTERVIEW