May 2023 Newsletter
Many thanks for taking the time to look at my latest newsletter for May 2023.
I hope you enjoy this update on some of the work I have been doing in Erith and Thamesmead and in Parliament over the last month.
As ever, if you want to get in touch, don’t hesitate to contact me using the email address: email@example.com
2023 Campaign Summer School
I am delighted to announce that applications for my Campaign Summer School for 2023 are now open!
At my jam-packed 3-day summer school, young people aged between 16 and 18 will have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to make a real difference in our community.
I know from my own experience that whether you’re dealing with environmental issues, crime, education and housing, effective campaigning is the key to influencing and challenging those in power. So, I am determined to do all I can to empower our young people to be the change they want to see in the world.
The school itself will be held in person in Erith and Thamesmead from Monday 24th July to Wednesday 26th July.
If you know anyone who might be interested, then please don’t hesitate to send them the application. To apply just fill in the sign-up form on my website. Applications are welcomed from anyone aged between 16 and 18, though priority will be given to those who live or go to school in the constituency of Erith and Thamesmead.
This month in Parliament I have raised a number of issues I know are important to people in Erith and Thamesmead.
In my role as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, I spoke for Labour in the Finance Bill committee, where I raised Labour’s concerns with the new alcohol taxation scheme that is being introduced, and the importance of supporting our hospitality industry.
I also spoke about the role of further education (FE) colleges in training the workforce of the future and upskilling the existing workforce. FE colleges support our communities but are being let down by the Government.
I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate about regulation of the private rented sector, calling for a proper Ombudsman to deal with issues raised by tenants in the private rented sector. Lots of constituents have contacted me about soaring rents and poor-quality accommodation. I am very happy to support Labour’s pledge to introduce a Private Renters Charter to make renting fairer, more secure, and more affordable.
My Update on Casework for May
This month I have received hundreds of emails from constituents on a wide variety of issues.
At the moment, my office is receiving an extremely high number of enquiries on housing, and I am increasingly worried about the impact the housing crisis is having on residents in Erith and Thamesmead.
This month, I asked the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his department has a target for building new social housing and if he would make an estimate of the number of people who became homeless following a Section 21 notice.
Whilst I am pleased to see the Renter Reform Bill being introduced, I will continue to ask the government important questions on housing issues that are prominent in the constituency.
I will be holding another surgery soon and I look forward to meeting more constituents in person to discuss the difficulties they are facing. If you would like to be added to my surgery waiting list, please contact my office who will be able to assist.
For all those who are struggling, I continue to share my Cost-of-Living booklet to help them know where to access support when needed. The link to the booklet is here: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/cost-of-living/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01322 342991 (Mon-Fri, 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm)
Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla
As the Member of Parliament for Erith and Thamesmead, I send my congratulations to King Charles III and Queen Camilla for their successful Coronation this month.
It was great to see so many people get involved from across the community, including with street parties and events to celebrate this historic occasion. I was grateful to join a reception for the King and Queen before their Coronation and meet with so many people doing important work across the United Kingdom.
I hope everyone in Erith and Thamesmead and across the country had a great Coronation weekend with family and friends.
Update on the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) Expansion
Thank you to all constituents who have taken the time to write to me about the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) London-wide expansion earlier this year.
I recently contacted the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to raise concerns about how the current proposals to extend the ULEZ will affect constituents of Erith and Thamesmead, many of whom do not have good links to public transport.
In particular, I raised concern that lower-income families and small businesses may not be able to upgrade to ULEZ-compliant vehicles. As you may know, Erith and Thamesmead has no underground station, no access to the DLR, no trams and no rapid bus services. Many of my constituents therefore have no option but to travel to work or essential appointments by car.
I welcomed the £110m for the new scrappage scheme to support Londoners on lower incomes, disabled Londoners, charities and micro-businesses as a welcome starting point. However, many of my constituents, including struggling families and businesses, are not covered by the scrappage scheme. I therefore strongly encouraged the Mayor to review the scrappage scheme to support small businesses and to undertake an assessment of what additional support can be provided to families.
I will continue to monitor the impact of ULEZ expansion in Erith and Thamesmead, and pass on my constituent’s views to the Mayor directly. Please find below my letter to the Mayor of London.
Join my DLR to Thamesmead Campaign
This month, I want to promote my webpage for my Next Stop Thamesmead Campaign. For too long people in Thamesmead have suffered from poor transport links – making it harder to access jobs and opportunities across London.
This is why I started the #NextStopThamesmead Campaign. I believe the residents of Erith and Thamesmead deserve the benefits of transport connectivity that many others across London already enjoy. Extending the DLR to Thamesmead would unlock significant new housing on both sides of the river and would open up access to work and educational opportunities for our constituency.
Furthermore, this month I wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport to speed up plans to extend the DLR to Thamesmead. I told the Secretary of State of my campaign over recent years to make this happen and how I have only ever heard warm words from an ever-growing cast list of transport ministers. I made clear that while we are told the DLR is always on the way, it somehow never arrives.
We have ambitious plans to put Thamesmead on the transport map, which are supported by local authorities, Transport for London (TfL), local businesses and community organisations, and local people. The opportunities for local economic growth are plain to see and the chance to ‘level up’ this part of London is real.
I urged the Secretary of State to expedite the process to deliver the DLR to Thamesmead. We have waited long enough. Now is the time for action.
Alongside the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, I was also briefed by TfL on their progress for Housing and Transport developments in Thamesmead.
I hope all can visit my webpage here to read further about my campaign and share your thoughts on the DLR extension with me and the community: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/dlr-to-thamesmead/.
London Walkers Group Visit to Parliament
It was great to see the London Walkers Group this month after they completed a Tour of Parliament. It was nice to see such a good turnout and to talk about some important local issues.
As always, please get in touch if you live in Erith & Thamesmead and would like me to arrange a tour. You can contact me via email on email@example.com.
Visit to Maximus Employability Centre
I was very pleased to be able to visit Maximus Employability Centre Advisor this month, who help constituents develop new skills, overcome barriers and find sustainable work. It was great to learn about the Restart scheme that provides people who have been out of work for 12 to 18 months with the tailored support they need to overcome their barriers and find work.
I had the opportunity to speak to some constituents who use the service about the barriers they are facing and was very interested to discover that there are particular challenges for single parents and those over 50 have in finding work.
Meeting with the Superintendent for Bexley
This month I was also able to have a meeting with the new Borough Superintendent for Bexley, Simon Corbin at Bexleyheath Police Station.
It was good to introductory meeting with him in his new role and to have the opportunity to raise the important concerns that many in our constituency have raised including knife crime, anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and response times for crime reports. It was also interesting to have a tour of Bexleyheath Police Station and find out more about their police work in Bexley.
Having spoken to constituents, I understand the frustration that many feel about the policing in London. I’m looking forward to building on this visit to address many of the pressing issues and concerns of local residents.
- Neighbourhood Watch Parliamentary Event – It was very nice to meet the central Neighbourhood Watch team this month and to hear about the great work they’ve been doing including on their new Community Safety Charter. Delighted to hear Greenwich Council was the first to sign up to the charter.
- Happy Easter – Very pleased to hear from those celebrating Easter in Erith and Thamesmead. I hope everyone had good festivities with family and friends.
- Eid Mubarak – This month was Eid Mubarak and so I want to wish a happy Eid al-Fitr to all Muslims celebrating in Erith and Thamesmead. As we end the holy month of Ramadam, I hope those celebrating had an enjoyable and inspiring time with family and friends.
- Happy Tamil and Bengali New Years – Wishing all those from the Tamil and Sinhala community and Bengali community in Erith and Thamesmead, the UK and around the world a very happy New year.
- Happy Vaisakhi – This month, I’m pleased to wish Sikhs here and around the world a very happy Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi di lakh lakh vidai.
- Happy Passover – Chag Samech to all those who were observing Passover this month. I hope you had a happy and healthy holiday.
- St George’s Day – Last Sunday 23rd April was St George’s Day and I want to send a Happy St George’s Day message to everyone across Erith and Thamesmead and England.
Sign up to my Coffee Morning
If you are interested in coming along to a future Coffee Morning, I’ve just launched my webpage where you, your family and friends can sign up to register your interest in attending a meeting.
Sign up: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/upcoming-events/coffeemorning/
Stay updated on social media
For regular updates on my activities, follow me on Twitter (@abenaopp), Facebook (Abena Oppong-Asare MP, Erith and Thamesmead), and Instagram (abena.oppongasare.mp).
You can also sign up to my digital newsletter at www.abenaoppongasare.com/get_in_touch