On 9th January, as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, I spoke in the House of Commons in response to the Government’s latest statement on Non-domestic Energy Support for businesses.
I challenged the Government on this announcement, which proves their policy is just another example of sticking-plaster politics. Last year, businesses were promised clarity by this government, however, constant chaos in the Conservative party has meant firms, workers, and families had to go another Christmas worrying about their energy bills.
We all know that businesses need to plan ahead but these policies are forcing them to live day to day and not knowing what the next month will bring, let alone the next quarter. Unfortunately, as I stated to the Minister, this week’s announcement did not have to be this way and is just a sticking plaster for the wider energy challenges. There needs to be a long-term plan or this merry-go-round will only continue.
Speaking in the house, I set out Labour’s plans to “back British businesses and give them the certainty they need to plan and invest”. This includes scrapping business rates with a fair tax on the online giants, having a long-term industrial strategy alongside which our industries can invest, and, dealing with the energy crisis at its source.
You can read my speech here or watch the full speech here.
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Abena-Oppong-Asare-MP-speaking-on-Non-domestic-Energy-support-9th-January-2023.png6331130The Office of Abena Oppong-Asare MPhttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngThe Office of Abena Oppong-Asare MP2023-01-13 10:37:592023-03-01 20:57:22Abena challenges the Government's lack of long-term support for Businesses
I recently popped into the Standard, a pub in my Erith and Thamesmead constituency, which is really struggling with soaring energy bills and the lack of Government support. It needs the Government to be on its side.
Today the Government announced they are freezing alcohol duty rates for six months. I spoke out on behalf of British venues like the Standard who are concerned about this sudden change after the previous Chancellor announced a freeze, the current Chancellor scrapped it, and now it is back on.
This government isn’t providing the certainty that businesses and their hard-working employees need in order to plan for the tough winter ahead. Labour believes the alcohol duty system could be reformed to make the system “simpler, more economically rational and less administratively burdensome on businesses and HMRC.”
You can watch my speech using the following link here, and you can read my speech here
Small Businesses are the lifeblood of Erith and Thamesmead, providing jobs and supporting families. I am delighted to have supported Small Business Saturday on 3rd December and encourage people to shop local and support local businesses and families.
I was so pleased to be invited to see a number of thriving businesses and to discuss their important needs as our economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the day, I was able to visit Buds of May, Morgan’s Greengrocers, and Crumbs Bakery in Northumberland Health. I was also able to visit the Birchwood pub, Afunkie Beauty and Erith Flooring Ltd in Erith.
Many thanks to all those working so hard for our local businesses.
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.
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/pathway-picture.jpg437655The Office of Abena Oppong-Asare MPhttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngThe Office of Abena Oppong-Asare MP2022-09-27 09:50:122023-02-26 16:55:41Pathway to Success 2022 at the House of Commons
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.
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Abena-Oppong-Asare-MP-speaking-in-Parliament-on-the-Financial-Services-Bil.png269480The Office of Abena Oppong-Asare MPhttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngThe Office of Abena Oppong-Asare MP2022-09-07 16:36:132023-03-19 12:41:40Abena closes the Financial Services and Markets Bill Debate
We recognise that regulatory divergence from the EU will produce opportunities for the Financial Services sector. Labour is committed to supporting the City to retain its competitiveness on a world stage and supporting the UK to remain a global financial centre outside the EU. This should not, however, mean any compromise on financial stability or consumer protections.
The debate also highlighted how small and medium-sized businesses, such as hairdressers and nail salons, rely on cash payments. 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. The Government should recognise that the Bill is an opportunity to rethink how financial resilience, inclusion and wellbeing issues are tackled in the UK.
You can watch my speech using the following link here, and you can read my speech here
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Financials-Services-Bill.jpg495738Ana Davishttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngAna Davis2022-09-07 16:31:272023-03-19 16:51:18Abena closes the debate on Financial Services and Markets Bill
Edible Oils Limited (EOL) recently hosted me at the site in Erith where I officially opened the newly renovated bottling facility following an investment programme worth almost £24m. I took a tour of the both the Erith and Belvedere facilities ahead of a ceremony to mark the completion of works.
Abena Oppong-Asare MP said: “It is fantastic to see Edible Oils bring new investment into Erith and Thamesmead with the expansion of the Erith site. It is quite the achievement to have successfully completed this venture during the pandemic. As one of the largest employers in the constituency, the expansion demonstrates their commitment to the area and it is great to see more high-quality local jobs and opportunities for residents.”
Managing Director Mark Church said: “We’re delighted to have completed this investment programme which is a major milestone for the business and reflects several years of hard work by our teams and partners, including of course through the height of the pandemic. The investment has significantly boosted our capability and capacity by bringing 5 litre production in house we have been able to lightweight the bottle and will eliminate around TBC tonnes of plastic every year”
“It has been a pleasure to demonstrate the scale of this investment to Abena and our continued commitment to provide high quality employment opportunities in the area.”
Hospitality businesses in Erith and Thamesmead have had an enormously difficult year. On Wednesday 24 March, the House of Commons held a debate to consider support for the hospitality industry during this pandemic.
I spoke at the debate, highlighting the enormous difficulties our local businesses have faced. Not only have they been closed for many months, but when they have been allowed to open, they have faced a constantly changing set of rules and regulations. Many have not received the financial support they needed from the Government, and many are fearful for the future.
In my speech I raised the concerns of several local pubs – including the Abbey Arms in Abbey Wood which I visited in December as part of Small Business Saturday. Pubs that have reached out to me like TheDuchess of Kent in Erith and The Victoria in Belvedere are centres of our communities and they need assurances from the Government that they will provided with support not just to reopen but thrive.
The wedding and events sector has also been extremely hard hit as nearly all their usual business disappeared. Especially worrying is the fact that many businesses in the events sector have been repeatedly refused grant funding by Bexley council – who cite the Government’s tight criteria.
If it is properly supported, the hospitality industry can and will play a vital role in reviving our economy after this most difficult year. But we need action from the Government right now to ensure this happens.
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/parliament-free-use.jpg13511800Ray Williamshttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngRay Williams2021-03-24 18:00:282023-03-01 21:20:22Speaking up for hard-hit local hospitality businesses in Parliament
On Wednesday 24 February I rose to the Opposition despatch box to give the closing statement for the Shadow Treasury’s Opposition Day Debate on ‘Supporting Businesses and Individuals Through the Coronavirus Crisis’.
As your local MP and as Labour’s Shadow Exchequer Secretary I am determined to speak truth to power and provide a voice for the despair so many people are feeling.
Although the Chancellor didn’t show up to defend his failings during this crisis, several Labour colleagues gave powerful speeches about how the pandemic has affected businesses and individuals in their constituencies. Their passion, in the face of Tory callousness, is an inspiration. Not everyone can wait for the Chancellor to come to Parliament.
People across our country are facing the very real prospect of their job disappearing, or their businesses failing, and we must continue to push the Government to set out clear measures that will support businesses and families over the coming months.
As it stands, the Government’s support schemes have left gaps that leave millions forgotten, unsupported, and excluded. It’s not good enough.
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/AbenaFeb24Debate.jpg750750abena oppongasarehttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngabena oppongasare2021-02-24 20:00:132023-03-04 12:42:43Speaking up in Parliament for businesses and individuals struggling during the pandemic
Rishi Sunak’s “Plan for Jobs” has been a disaster. Seven months after its launch, we’ve got record redundancies, soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis of any major economy.
Analysis by the Labour Party shows that as of late January 6845 people are claiming out of work benefits and 8,710 people are still on furlough in Erith and Thamesmead.
The Chancellor’s initially triggered a one-size-fits-all wind down of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in his Plan for Jobs last July. After several last-minute changes over the autumn and winter, the scheme is now set to expire at the end of April.
As well as being your local MP, I’m also Labour’s Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. With 4.6 million people still on furlough nationally, I’m calling for the Chancellor not to repeat the mistakes of last year. The scheme must not be wound down while public health restrictions are in place and demand is still suffering.
Sunak must immediately announce an extension to the furlough scheme. Local businesses and workers need that certainty. We are also calling for urgent reform to make furlough smarter, with new training to help furloughed workers improve their skills and tough conditions on employers to stop abuse.
Labour is also demanding immediate action to recover jobs by overhauling the failing Kickstart scheme and to help create new jobs in the technologies of the future by reforming the shambolic Green Homes Grant.
Our figures show that 5800 people in Erith and Thamesmead had made claims under the Coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) by the end of July. It is appalling that the Chancellor has left the millions of self-employed people relying on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) scheme in the dark about future support.
Labour is calling on the Chancellor to set the fourth grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) at 80% of pre-crisis profits – and to do it now, not at the Budget.
Labour has also called for the scheme to be opened to the 200,000 people who only have a 2019/20 tax return, and for the Chancellor to urgently fix the holes its support schemes that have left millions of others excluded from support.
People can’t afford to wait for the Chancellor to get his act together. They need emergency action today, not more dither and delay until the Budget.
https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/kitchen-work.jpg8531280abena oppongasarehttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngabena oppongasare2021-01-29 17:15:222023-03-04 12:45:238,710 jobs at risk in Erith and Thamesmead unless Chancellor delivers “smart” furlough scheme
Here for Erith and Thamesmead
Through my work I am determined to work with local residents, community groups, businesses and public services to ensure that Erith and Thamesmead is put on the map and we get a fair deal for our community.