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Age UK Summer Reception 2023

Thank you to everyone from Erith and Thamesmead who contacted me about attending Age UK’s Summer Reception and the important issue of healthcare for older people.

I’m pleased to say that I attended their July event and spoke to many members of the Age UK team, their policy experts, and elderly people struggling with long waiting lists and a lack of support.

You can see my post from the event here: https://twitter.com/abenaopp/status/1679159735918944256 

June 2023 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Many thanks for taking the time to look at my latest newsletter for June 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: abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk


State of the Economy

I know many families across Erith and Thamesmead will be worried this month after the rate of inflation continues to remain at a high 8.7%. We all know what high inflation means to our monthly bills and our everyday food shops – squeezing family finances and leaving more and more concerned about the future. Food inflation alone is costing the average family more than £1,000 on their shopping bill.

It so important that our Government takes this seriously and gets a grip on this problem to ease the burden on working people in our community. There needs to be a relentless focus on the cost of living and how we turn around our economy to create growth and hope for all across the country.

Following the new inflation data, on Thursday 22nd June, the Bank of England announced its decision to raise interest rates by 50 basis points.

With this rise, I know that many homeowners will have real concerns about the effect on their mortgage payments. I believe that it is so important the Government does not stand on the side lines as Britain faces a mortgage crisis.

On Wednesday 21st June, I did a media round in my role as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury to set out the Opposition’s plans to ease this mortgage crisis. On Newsnight, I outlined some of the actions that the Government should take, including requiring borrowers to allow lenders to wait a minimum of six months before initiating repossessions and instructing the FCA to urgently issue consumer guidance that those requesting support should not see their credit score affected. These measures are part of a five-point plan that we hope the Government takes on board now. It is also vital that the Government supports savers and makes sure interest rate rises are being passed on by the banks to those saving. They should not stand by as millions face the consequence of inaction.

As a result of the continued pressure that so many face during this cost-of-living crisis I have created a Cost-of-Living booklet for our community in Erith and Thamesmead. My Cost-of-Living booklet provides information that helps constituents find out where to access support when needed. The link to the booklet is here: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/cost-of-living/

This month Members of Parliament had the opportunity to vote on the Commons privileges committee’s report into Boris Johnson and his statements to the house on Partygate.

Over the last few years, people across Erith and Thamesmead and the country followed the rules in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many missed out on important moments together including birthdays, weddings, and tragically funerals. I too lost loved ones during the pandemic.

From speaking to many across our community, I know first-hand how angry people were after the details of these parties were revealed. I continue to be devasted when I hear about the personal sacrifices made by so many and I continue to be so upset about the reckless behaviour carried out by those at the top of our Government.

This cross-party report found that Johnson repeatedly misled Parliament about lockdown parties at Downing Street. As a result, I voted to approve the report.

My work in Parliament

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 challenged the Chancellor at Treasury Questions on their broken promise to fundamentally reform business rates. There is so much that needs to be done to fix our economy and end the chaos, including by scrapping business rates and replacing them with a fairer system so that our amazing hospitality sector can thrive and grow faster.

You can find the video of my question here: https://twitter.com/abenaopp/status/1671151594690457601.

On Wednesday 22nd June, I also spoke in Parliament on Animal Welfare and the need to protect animals from harm. We all know that Britain is a nation of Animal lovers, and we also know that there is so much more we need to do to provide a proper safety net for every animal.

I challenged the Government on their lack of leadership on this issue, which is of such importance to me and so many people in Erith and Thamesmead.

St Fidelis Primary School Visit to Parliament

Last week it was such a pleasure to meet all the pupils from Year 6 at St Fidelis Primary School, who were able to come to Parliament for a Tour and find out a bit more about how our democracy works.

I really enjoyed getting grilled by them with some tough questions on some of the important issues we face today. Thanks to St Fidelis School and all the pupils. Looking forward to seeing you all again.

Age UK Group Visit to Parliament

It was great to see the team from Age UK Bexley this month after they completed a Tour of Parliament. It was nice to see such a good turnout and to talk about their work and what the support they offer to older people in Erith and Thamesmead.

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 abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk

Bexley Volunteer Excellence Awards

It was also nice to meet the amazing community volunteers at the Bexley Volunteer Excellence Awards. It was a great evening to join everyone at the Exchange Erith and hear some great stories of volunteer work across Bexley.

I was also honoured to hand out the ‘Youth Volunteer Awards’ and to celebrate everyone’s great achievements in the last year. It was fitting way to end Volunteers Week 2023. Congratulations to all the winners.

Visit to Solus Repair Centre in Erith

I was very pleased to be able to visit Solus Repair Centre in Erith earlier this month.

I particularly enjoyed meeting young people from the apprenticeship programme and discovering all the opportunities available to develop technical skills and expertise in the sector.

My Visit to Nepal with WaterAid UK and the Coalition for Global Prosperity

At the end of May, I visited Nepal with WaterAid UK and the Coalition for Global Prosperity to see the impact of development projects supporting access to clean water.

It was wonderful to be able to visit the beautiful country of Nepal and meet so many people doing life-saving and transformational work.

Windrush Day 2023

This month we marked 75 years since the first of the Windrush Generation arrived in the UK.

As I said on the day and I have said many times in Parliament it continues to be so painful to hear the stories of this great generation, who contributed so much to Britain.

In June, I have been submitting Written Questions to the Government Minister to challenge them on their inaction and the consequences for the Windrush Generation. One of my questions revealed that there are over 6,000 claims to the government for compensation. It also revealed that sadly 41 people had passed away before their claim could be certified. You can read my questions here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/

“London Is The Place For Me” by Eliza Southwood

Grenfell Anniversary

On 14th June, we also marked six years since the Grenfell tower fire. A fire that took 72 lives. My thoughts continue to remain with the victims, their families and the survivors as we mark the anniversary of this tragic night.

I was pleased to join BBC Politics London this month to discuss the impact of Grenfell on Londoners and how we make sure this never happens again. We stand with the Grenfell community in their continued fight for justice.

Reminder to sign up to my 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.

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.

My Update on Casework for June

Thank you to everyone who contacted me this month to raise the problems you are facing.

This month, 34% of all cases were related to housing and I continue to have serious concerns over the unprecedented housing crisis the Conservatives are overseeing. The building of new social homes is at record lows, and more and more people are stuck in the private rented sector when they should either own their own home or have a council house to rent.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s 2020 report, ‘Building more social housing’, called for around 90,000 additional social homes to be built a year. Last month, when I asked the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his department has a target for building new social homes, I was told that since 2010 they have delivered over 162,800 homes for social rent.

I am worried that if housing targets are not met in the near future, the housing crisis will continue to grow over the next few years.

I look forward to meeting more constituents in person to discuss the difficulties they are facing. If you would like to attend my next surgery, please contact my office to be added to the waiting list.

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: abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk
  • Telephone: 01322 342991 (Mon-Fri, 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm)


  • Progress on the DLR to Thamesmead – This month I’m pleased to share that TFL have submitted their proposals for an extension of the DLR to Thamesmead. I have been campaigning for #NextStopThamemsead since I was elected and so I welcome these proposals and hope to see continued progress to finally provide a much needed station to the people of Thamesmead.
  • Sistah Space meeting on Valerie’s Law – It was great to catch up with the Sistah Space team as we discuss the important topic of Valerie’s Law and how we continue to make strides on the issue of domestic abuse.
  • Resuscitation Council UK Meeting – I’m sure everyone knows how vital it is to act fast and effectively whenever you are dealing with a cardiac arrest. This month I met with the Resuscitation Council UK and discussed how we improve CPR awareness and look into increasing the number of Defibrillators in our local communities. I’m also pleased to announce I have secured a debate in Parliament to discuss public access to Defibrillators. I will share the results of the debate on social media and in my next newsletter.
  • Armed Forces Day 2023 – I join everyone across Erith and Thamesmead in celebrating Armed Forces Day and I express how deeply proud we are of our personnel, veterans, and their families for the great contribution they make to our country.

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


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Abena’s visit to Nepal

At the end of May, I visited Nepal with WaterAid UK and the Coalition for Global Prosperity to see the impact of development projects supporting access to clean water.

It was wonderful to be able to visit the beautiful country of Nepal and meet so many people doing life-saving and transformational work. Visiting some of the programmes that WaterAid is undertaking illuminated the extent of the hardship and poverty that so many in Nepal are facing. It also showed the amazing progress that has been made.

Poor access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) presents some serious challenges to vulnerable communities in Nepal. These include the proliferation of water-borne illness, poor sanitation, and restrictions on the opportunities afforded to citizens.

What I found particularly worrying was that these issues disproportionately affect women and young girls. A lack of sanitation has been related to a disproportionately smaller number of girls attending schools, particularly affecting those on their menstrual cycles.

For instance, only 39% of schools have separate, female-friendly toilets, meaning many young girls are left without a safe space to clean themselves and manage the difficulties associated with menstruation. This can discourage girls from attending school altogether, through fear of judgment, embarrassment and even harassment.

It is therefore great to see the outstanding progress that WaterAid have made with their WASH programmes. Citizens in these areas have experienced vastly improved quality of life, with improved access to safe water, better toilets, and improved hygiene.

Young girls have been offered safe spaces, which has succeeded in breaking down some of the barriers that might stop them from receiving an equal education to their male counterparts. It’s a really promising story that I am keen to see continue.


Equal access to defibrillators can save lives says Abena Oppong-Asare MP

We all know having access to life-saving defibrillators saves lives. The issue is not their design but their location and public awareness about what they are and how to use them.

Having access to a life-saving defibrillator depends on where you live. Today, I called on the Government to address this cruel unfairness to save lives. That was my message in my Westminster Hall debate on public access to Defibrillators.

Research from the Resuscitation Council UK shows that access to defibrillators, or AEDs, is not fairly distributed across England. Each year, there are 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK, with less than one in ten surviving. Whilst immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival, defibrillators are used in less than one in ten cases. If you have a cardiac arrest and have access to a defibrillator within a minute, have a 90% chance of survival.

According to the BMJ, access to a defibrillator varies widely by location:

  • 140 per 100,000 people in Swansea
  • 61 per 100,000 people in London
  • 2 per 100,000 people in Birmingham

The issue was highlighted to me by the experience of my constituent, Bonnie McGhee, who works on the cardiology unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Bonnie sadly lost her father to cardiac arrest and has since successfully raised funds for a defibrillator in his memory.

Access to a defibrillator may have saved his life. Bonnie successfully fundraised for a defibrillator in memory of her father.

To save lives, defibrillators must be in a well-signposted location, unlocked and easy to find so that members of the community can access them immediately in an emergency. They must be maintained and ready for use. Information about defibrillator locations is hard to come by. People do not know where to find them and how to use them. The Circuit is a national database of defibrillators but it is incomplete, meaning that emergency services may not be able to direct someone to save a life.

In my debate today I said “Knowing where a defibrillator is and how to use one saves lives. Learning simple resuscitation skills can make all the difference in an emergency. Today, I’m calling on Ministers to listen and help save lives.”

You can read my full speech here and watch it here.