Thank you for taking the time to look at my latest newsletter.
I hope you enjoy this update of 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
The Cost of Living Crisis and the Mini-Budget
As all constituents will be aware, there continues to be a damaging cost of living crisis and a growing squeeze on the finances of every home and family in the country. I am deeply worried about the impact of this one in a generation crisis.
Over the last week, the Opposition has made clear its strong objections to the policies drawn up by the new government. The Chancellor, this month, revealed to the public their values and priorities, giving tax cuts to the rich and bringing back the trickle down economics of the past.
Instead, I believe we need a government that will create an economy that works for working people and gives Britain its hope and its future back. I have continued to advocate for Labour’s plan for a stronger and more secure economy.
Financial Services and Markets Bill
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 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.
This month I also spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on the important issue of the Government’s regulatory approach to cryptocurrencies and cryptoassets.
I started my remarks by acknowledging that in recent years, crypto has entered the mainstream, with an estimated 2.3 million people in the UK owning cryptoassets and the number of companies trading in crypto likely to grow further over the coming years.
However, it is clear that we have recently seen a huge crash in the value of many of the leading cryptoassets. During this period of crypto market turmoil, Bitcoin, Ethereum and other coins have collapsed, putting millions of UK consumers’ savings at risk.
In the debate, I made it clear that I believe we do not need to choose between a total crackdown on ownership of cryptocurrencies and the wild west approach advocated by some.
I stated that the Opposition would be serious about attracting fintech companies to the UK and safely harnessing the progressive potential of blockchain technology. To do that properly, I closed by stating we need thorough and thoughtful regulation of the sector.
Media Interview with Hend
I sat down with Hend Kheiralla, host of the Ladies of the Lakes radio show, to discuss my journey into politics, getting started as a new MP after my election in 2019, my experience representing Erith and Thamesmead so far, and advice for those interested in politics.
You can listen back to the interview here.
Pathway to Success 2022 at the House of Commons
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.
Meeting with the Met Police
I expressed my grave concerns this month over the handling of the shooting of Chris Kaba. Trust and transparency are critical and in a meeting with the Met Police, I urged them to engage constructively with Chris’ family and the whole community.
Alongside, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, and Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, I have made clear that a suspension would aid transparency in the process and make clear that this is a serious issue that needs a serious investigation.
St Augustine new Library visit
I was delighted to be invited to officially open a new library at St Augustine of Canterbury Primary School in Belvedere.
A library is an instrumental place for students of all ages to read, learn and reflect on all that they are interested in. Through reading about different lives and characters, children learn to connect and better understand the people around them. Libraries played such an important role in my life, and I am heartened to know that the children at St Augustine will have this opportunity too.
The outdoor adventure theme of the library was decided by the School Parliament. The theme was executed by Acorn Book Club and included a mountain camp hideaway, reading tent and cosy campfire!
I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of all the staff at St Augustine of Canterbury Primary School and Acorn Book Club to this project and the students. It was lovely to discover that employees from the Belvedere and Northumberland Heath branches raised over £1000 in support of the library.
Remembering Her Majesty the Queen
This month, we mourned the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.
The Queen had been an inspiration for millions across the country and the world. Her service to the country and the Commonwealth throughout her historic 70-year reign was symbolised by dignity, duty and dedication.
She steered the country with grace through times, both good and bad, and I share the sad news of her loss with all those in our constituency of Erith and Thamesmead.
My thoughts this month, continue to be with the Royal Family and I join the country in expressing our collective sympathy for their loss.
Proclamation of accession of Charles III
After the sad passing of the Queen, I joined colleagues in both Erith and Thamesmead and in Westminster to welcome the accession of the new King, Charles III.
On Sunday 11th September, I joined leaders in Bexley and in Greenwich as we came together for proclamation ceremonies. Alongside constituents, I also signed the book of condolences and I joined together with community members to remember the life of Her Majesty.
The following day, I joined other Members of Parliament in welcoming the new King to Westminster Hall for a presentation ceremony. The King paid tribute to his mother and spoke of his gratitude for the condolences expressed by the Speakers of the House of Commons, the Speaker of the House of Lords and all across the country.
Over the last few weeks, I also had the opportunity to attend and speak at some other parliamentary and constituency events:
- Jagtar Singh Johal: This month, I called on the government to take urgent action on the important issue of the detention of Jagtar Signh Johal. Like many of my constituents, I am deeply concerned about the arbitrary detention of Jagtar in India. See a clip of my speech and my tweet
- Orbit: I had a detailed discussion with the Housing Association, Orbit Group, this month to discuss the important casework of local residents and ways to improve conditions of those living in Erith and Thamesmead.
- Erith Made Market: Congratulations to everyone involved in the Erith town festival which was a great success and a fantastic showcase of the businesses and people in our community.
- Thamesmead Festival: Thamesmead Festival returned to Southmere Park this year and in August it was great to come together to celebrate a packed programme of local talent with family, friends and the whole community.
- Meridian Football Annual Summer Gala: It was great to pop along to see Meridian Football Team Annual Summer Gala Games in Thamesmead and give the trophy to the winning team.
- Bexley Foodbank: Last week, I visited Bexley foodbank, more and more constituents are struggling to get by. They are particularly short on tinned fruit, meat and vegetables and other items like sugar, shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste.
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).
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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.