March 2023 Newsletter
Many thanks for taking the time to look at my latest newsletter for March 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saddened to hear about the deaths of a mother and her two sons in Erith and Thamesmead
First of all, I want to say I was very saddened this month to hear about the deaths of a mother and her two sons in our constituency. I want to send my thoughts on behalf of our community to the family and friends of Nadja de Jager and her two young sons, Alex and Max, aged 7 and 9.
The school that the boys attended has been working really hard with the community to provide support and I want to thank the teachers, who have gone over and beyond.
The Budget 2023
The Chancellor announced his Budget this month. This is an important opportunity each year for the Government to set out a positive agenda for our economy and to fully unlock the potential across Britain. Unfortunately, I believe that this Budget didn’t go far enough.
In my role as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, I expressed my concerns about the lack of ambition in the Budget and I spoke about what Labour would do differently. Firstly, the Government still refuses to implement a proper windfall tax to make the oil and gas giants pay their fair share. This means they are leaving billions on the table that could be used to help families with the cost of living. Furthermore, in this Budget the Chancellor announced a tax cut to the richest 1% and their pension pots. I believe this was wrong and Labour would reverse this handout.
You can see a clip of my interview on Channel 4 News discussing the budget and how Labour would do things differently here.
Labour plans to deliver on Britain’s call for change with a new way of governing that will build a fairer, greener, more dynamic Britain with power closer to people. We will provide vital public investment through our Green Prosperity Plan, updating our planning system to remove barriers to investment in new industries and meet our net zero targets. I believe the country needs stability and not the chaos we have recently seen from this Conservative Government. We have a serious plan for growth and want to see all our nations and regions benefit from and contribute to the jobs and growth of the future.
I have raised constituent’s concerns in Parliament this month, including by asking a number of business questions to the Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt MP. I raised the issue of alarmingly high energy bills that were accidentally charged to some housing association residents in Erith and Thamesmead, and the Leader of the House committed to writing to the Housing Secretary on my behalf.
At a Westminster Hall debate, I raised the challenges care workers in Erith and Thamesmead are faced with rising car parking charges and pressed the need for a care workers parking badge.
I was pleased to be present for the passing of the Trophy Hunting Bill, which bans the import of hunting trophies to the UK, and which many constituents had contacted me about.
Within my role as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, I asked the Chancellor what the Conservatives are doing to decarbonise our economy and win the global race for good green jobs. I also represented Labour at the second reading of the Finance Bill – the mechanism through which announcements in the Budget are put into law. I questioned the Government on its awful economic record and presented Labour’s plans for economic growth and prosperity.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is an important moment each year when we celebrate the inspirational Women who have done so much, but when we also recognise how much more there is still to do.
In the House of Commons, I firstly paid tribute to trailblazing Betty Boothroyd, who sadly passed away this month. She was the first and only female Speaker of the House of Commons. She made a huge impact on the UK Parliament and paved a new way for women in politics.
I also highlighted the great impact of a few amazing and successful women from our constituency, Erith and Thamesmead:
“Deborah Frimpong, chair of Moorings Neighbourhood Forum and a formidable community activist; Councillor Averil Lekau, deputy leader of Greenwich Council, is doing great things at a local level to support women and champion their inclusion; Hend Kheiralla is the host of the Ladies of the Lake podcast, which amplifies the voices of women who have grown up, worked, and lived in Thamesmead; Debbie McFaul, is director of Crumbs Bakery, a business that truly brings in and supports the community; Karen Saunders from Greenwich Centre of Mission does a lot to support young people in our community, particularly bringing us together when two young boys, Kearne and Charlie, were murdered in my constituency; Claire Hallinan from Hawksmoor Youth Club has delivered fantastic services to young people and the wider community of Thamesmead, but has also faced considerable challenges with the state of its facilities; Finally, Catherine Molnar, founder of CC Events, hosts a market in Abbey Wood and Thamesmead and has won awards for the role they play in the community.”
Thank you also to all those running events to celebrate IWD and all the great women who I spoke to. Some of events I attended include the Lewisham West and Penge CLP, Women’s Lobby Reception, the Lloyds Bank Reception and the Women in Business reception.
I want to again wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day and I hope we can all agree that together we can make change for the better.
You can read my speech for the International Women’s Day Debate here and watch the speech here.
Ukrainians in Greenwich Celebration Event
I was very pleased to join the Ukrainian community and a number of constituents from Erith and Thamesmead at this celebration event this month.
Last month, we all paused to reflect on the one-year anniversary of the illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. While the illegal war started by Russia continues, I want all the Ukrainians who have settled in our area to know that our support for you and all of the Ukrainian people remains.
It was a great event with great music, dancing, performances and beautiful artwork on display from across the community.
Hosting British Heart Foundation Event
We all know that Defibrillators and CPR save lives. I’m happy to support all the great work done to increase awareness and the number of Defibrillators and CPR Training in our communities.
This month, I hosted an event with the British Heart Foundation to discuss the work they are doing on this important issue and share our thoughts with other Members of Parliament. You can see my post about this here: https://twitter.com/abenaopp/status/1638501687051558912
I want to send a special thank you to Bonnie McGhee, my local constituent who first contacted me about this issue regarding the lack of Defibrillators in our community. You can read about her story here. You can also learn more about BHF’s RevivR on their website here.
If you have any thoughts or would like to help, please get in touch with me at email@example.com.
My “Meet your MP” Coffee Morning in Erith
It was great to host another of my “Meet your MP” Coffee Mornings this month at the Bookstore Café at the Exchange Erith.
The conversation we had was very valuable to me and I want to thank all of you who came along. It’s so important to spend the time to engage about the many pressing issues we have and also the great opportunities available in Erith and Thamesmead.
A number of issues that was brought up including how we can provide more opportunities to play football to young people in Thamesmead and what we can do to tackle youth violence. We also discussed the Cost of Living crisis, that is hurting so many, and how we need to work as a community to make sure the most vulnerable are not left behind.
I was very impressed with how passionate everyone was and I’m looking forward to catching up again with everyone who turned up. I hope you can share the following link with friends and family, who may be interested to sign up to a future event. Sign up: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/upcoming-events/coffeemorning/
Update on Casework
My team of dedicated Caseworkers and I continue to assist constituents regarding a number of important issues. Many individuals and families are facing difficulties relating to housing insecurity, housing disrepair and Home Office delays among many other issues.
This continues to be a difficult time for many people, and I have put together a Cost of Living booklet to help constituents know where to access support when needed. The booklet is available on my website, and I will be providing the information directly to constituents who have recently been contacting me about their need for additional support.
The link to the booklet is here: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/cost-of-living/
As always, if you need any assistance, please contact my office using the below channels. As we are currently receiving a high number of emails and calls, I and my team appreciate your patience whilst we try to get back to every constituent to offer the best support we can.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01322 342991 (Mon-Fri, 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm)
- Richard Davidson’s visit to Parliament – This month I met Richard, a local resident, to discuss his great-great-uncle, Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Rumbold, was a hero who fought for our country in World War One, but who was court-martialled and dismissed because he was gay. Richard has applied to have Sidney’s medals restored, but has not received a response in about a year. I brought this up with the Leader of the House and hope to ensure the medals are restored.
- Talk of the Town Visa – I want to thank Visa for hosting this event in Parliament to celebrate towns and their contribution to our economy. I was pleased to speak about unlocking the full potential of our towns and regions.
- Ramadam Mubarak – I want to send my warmest wishes to everyone observing the holy month of Ramadam, both in Erith and Thamesmead and across the UK.
- World Water Day – As we marked World Water Day this month, it so critical that we can’t allow this current attack on our environment to continue., The Opposition has a plan to clean up this mess and build a better Britain.
- APPG for Ethnic Minority Businesses – At this month’s AGM, I spoke about the APPG’s activities over the past year and how we continue to work towards the recognition of the importance of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic entrepreneurs to the UK’s economy, and how they can be supported.
- Events at the Exchange Erith – I was pleased to join a couple of events at the Exchange Erith this month including ‘A Sure beginning with Patti Sloley’ which celebrated Ghanaian food, culture and poetry. It was also great to be at their Spring Beer festival. Find out more about their events here.
- PRS for Music – It was good to meet the PRS for Music as we discuss how songwriters and composers are facing the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly digital market.
- Black Footballer’s Partnership Event – Black representation in football is an important topic and I’m pleased that we are hearing more about the efforts to modernise football from the black footballer’s viewpoint.
- Young Minds #End the Wait Event – We must do everything we can to get mental health support to children and young people who desperately need it. Thank you to Young Minds and to my constituents who are campaigning on this important issue. I’m pleased to support this work.
- The Football Black List Celebration Evening – It was great to celebrate the achievements of those making a difference in football.
- Women’s History Month Reception – I want to thank the Speaker for hosting an important event celebrating Women’s History Month. I spoke at the reception and you can see the video here.
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