https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/offshore-wind.jpg6971039Ana Davishttps://www.abenaoppongasare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SM-Logo-3.pngAna Davis2022-11-15 10:51:382023-03-22 10:09:26Abena speaks out on ending the ban on onshore wind
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.”
Dozens of constituents have written to me about fur sales in the UK. I strongly believe that we should implement a ban on the import and sale of fur in the UK. This outdated and unnecessary trade should have no place in the UK’s fashion industry.
According to Humane Society International, more than 100 million animals are killed for the global fur trade every year. Animals are treated terribly in the fur trade: farmed animals are kept in small cages for their entire lives and wild animals are caught using cruel leg-hold traps.
I am proud that the UK was the first country to ban fur farming two decades ago. Since then, the EU has also banned the importation of dog, cat and seal fur and this has been retained in UK law after Brexit. However, as many constituents have raised with me, although many retailers now refuse to stock it, fur from other species can still legally be imported and sold in the UK. Consumers may also be misled into buying real fur, believing it to be fake.
I believe we should ban the importation and sale of fur all together and I urge the UK Government to implement such a ban, starting with a public consultation. We should not have a fur trade that relies upon the suffering of animals abroad.
The UK Government says that during the transition period, it is not possible to introduce restrictions relating to the fur trade. It says that once our future relationship with the EU has been established, there will be an opportunity for the Government to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales. However, I believe they should offer clarity on their intentions now.
I have asked the following question to seek further clarity about their intentions:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further restrictions on the fur trade his Department plans to make once the transition period of exiting the European Union is over?”
I will continue to call for a ban on the import and sale of fur to be implemented at the earliest opportunity.
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Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, detailed his plans to protect jobs and boost the economy today but despite big spending pledges the announcement offers little support for people in Erith and Thamesmead.
Concerned business owners and employees in the creative and beauty industries were expecting to hear details about when they can expect to see business get back to normal today, but the Chancellor’s package managed to completely ignore these important issues. Instead of offering flexible support packages to businesses still closed or operating a reduced service, the Chancellor has offered bonus’ to those that manage to survive the crisis.
Rishi Sunak MP clearly hasn’t had to read the hundreds of emails a day that myself and many other MPs are receiving from business owners on the brink of collapse and constituents struggling to feed their families.
One constituent has been in contact with me with concerns about their beauty business, they said:
“My profession, my reputation and my business is at stake. The action of reopening my beauty business is not from a profit perspective, it’s survival.”
Knowing that if they survive and manage to retain staff for a further 6 months they can claim £1000 from the Government, will offer little solace to many small business owners across Erith and Thamesmead at this point.
Plans announced for the hospitality and tourism sector today, one of the few industries that were acknowledged, reveal a Government that does not understand the extent of the health and economic crisis we are in. The Chancellor’s 50% off meal deal does little to support a hospitality industry that were looking forward to a robust new deal.
The Government’s failed contact tracing app and confusing messaging throughout the crisis has done little to calm public fear regarding the spread of the virus, with a second wave still a looming possibility. The hospitality and tourism industry is unable to re-open at the capacity levels needed to sustain struggling businesses without a thorough test and trace system – none of the Chancellor’s measures address this.
Millions of job losses are predicted for the coming months and whilst plans to create new jobs are welcomed, many will still find themselves on Universal Credit for the first time. Over 12,000 jobs have been furloughed in Erith and Thamesmead and unemployment rose by an unprecedented 2% between March and April.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been promised a £1 billion investment to support schemes and services which help people back into work. Again, this will offer little comfort to the thousands of people applying for Universal Credit for the first time who will be expected to survive on a reduced household income. The return of benefit sanctions, whilst vulnerable people remain exposed to the virus and businesses remain closed, demonstrates the lack of understanding and compassion offered by the Government to those struggling financially from the crisis.
If people in Erith and Thamesmead are to feel the benefits of government investment and feel supported through the upcoming period of economic instability, support needs to be targeted locally, with a net-zero target in mind and with long lasting benefits. The Labour Party are calling for four tests to be met in regards to economic support:
Projects must involve local firms, upskill the local workforce and lead to material improvement in the quality and availability of local employment
The Chancellor must rebuild economic resilience right across the entire country and protect those institutions, like local authorities, that can help deliver that resilience
Every single project must be consistent with the drive to net-zero so we can build the green jobs of the future
Any benefits of investment now must be cancelled out by poor decisions later. The Conservatives promised at the last election there would be no rises in income tax, national insurance or VAT. We need the economy to bounce back from the crisis, so there’s money in the coffers to protect public finances.
The people of Erith and Thamesmead deserve a better economic deal for jobs from the Government, to survive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Many of you have been getting in touch with me about the Agriculture Bill and the crucial importance of maintaining our high animal welfare and food standards in future trade deals.
I very much share your deep concern that if we do not have provisions in place to prevent future trade deals allowing in imports produced to lower standards than our own, this will severely threaten our British farmers and our high animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards.
Like the British public, Labour will not tolerate Trump’s chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-injected beef on our supermarket shelves, with all of the animal welfare implications surrounding these products.
While the Prime Minister has said that our standards won’t be lowered in future trade deals, you are entirely right that these are nothing but warm words until we have legislative guarantees binding the Government to this promise – particularly when the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already made it clear that in any future US trade deal they will expect the UK to accept such lower standard products.
This is an area I am highly concerned with and I previously scrutinised this bill in my role on the Agriculture Bill Committee. I was also PPS to Luke Pollard MP assisting his team in important work in ensuring that the Agriculture Bill legislates for the continuation of the UK’s good food and animal welfare standards.
A Labour colleague tabled an amendment to the Bill in Committee stage to include a legal requirement that food imported to this country must not be produced to lower standards than our own, but this has been rejected by the Government.
My Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Government at every available opportunity to safeguard our animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards and legislate against lower standard imports. I will certainly be supporting amendments in the Agriculture Bill’s Report stage seeking to do precisely this.
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Abena Oppong-Asare, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, has been working to improve the Government’s Environment Bill.
A small number of MPs have been scrutinising and proposing amendments to the Government’s Environment Bill as part of its passage through Parliament.
Bill Committees consist of a small number of MPs who provide line by line scrutiny of legislation and propose changes to it. Abena Oppong-Asare as serving as a member of the Bill Committee for the Environment Bill, which sets the UK’s environment policy for years to come.
Abena has used her role to question Ministers and experts and support proposals to strengthen the Bill in order to take tougher action to tackle climate change and clean our air.
You can watch the Bill Committee hearings here, here and here.
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Local MP Abena Oppong-Asare has been working hard in Parliament to improve two major pieces of legislation which will impact the UK for years to come.
Abena sits on the Bill Committee for the Agriculture Bill, which will determine Britain’s food and farming policy post-Brexit. She’s part of a small number of MPs who are scrutinising the Government’s Bill line by line and proposing amendments to support British farmers, protect food safety standards and animal welfare regulations.
Abena has also been working as a member of Labour’s Shadow Defra team on the Second Reading of the Environment Bill, which will determine our environmental policies. Abena and Labour colleagues are putting pressure on the Government to improve the Bill to introduce tougher commitments to improving air quality and tackling plastic waste. These are issues of great concern to many people in Erith and Thamesmead.
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Erith and Thamesmead MP Abena Oppong-Asare has taken on a new role as a member of Labour’s Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs team in Parliament.
Abena will serve as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Secretary of State, Luke Pollard MP, working with him and Labour’s team to hold the Government to account and attempt to improve the law on environmental and food issues and rural affairs.
With a new Environment Bill, the Agriculture Bill and the Fisheries Bill going through Parliament in the coming months, it will be a busy time.
Abena said “The climate emergency means we need bolder and swifter action to cut carbon and water use and protect vulnerable habitats and species. In the next three months the Government will be introducing mammoth changes to laws governing fishing, farming, food, chemical regulations and environmental protections. The Shadow Defra team will be holding the Government to account, strengthening what we expect to be weak legislation and ensuring that the climate doesn’t play second fiddle to the Tories Brexit ambitions.
“Labour won’t accept any lowering of environmental protections or animal welfare standards and we will keep pressure on Ministers to enact the urgent action we need to address the pressing climate crisis.”
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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.