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Campaigning Summer School 2022

 

At this jam-packed 3-day summer school, young people aged between 16 and 18 had the opportunity to gain the skills needed to make a real difference in our community.

This was a hands-on, first-hand insight into the exciting world of political and social campaigning. The school brought together a wide variety of speakers from businesses like Graylings UK, showing the students tools they can use to influence the Government and make change, and from Meta, to discuss how important Facebook and social media is to campaigning in the 21st Century.

We were also joined by important influencers who have been at the frontline of campaigns that have caught the public’s attention. We heard from Laura Coryton, who started the very successful #EndTamponTax petition, and from former Love Island contestant Shaughna Phillips, who is now advocating for a better public discussion on body image and mental health.

I know from my own experience that whether you’re dealing with environmental issues, crime, or education, effective campaigning is the key to influencing and challenging those in power. So, I am determined to do all I can to empower our young people to be the change they want to see in the world.

Over the course of 3 days, attendees designed their very own local campaigns on important issues such as women’s rights and increasing accessibility access in our community. What’s more, I am personally helping action the best ideas into real campaigns to benefit our residents.

For the students, this was a unique opportunity to see their ideas turned into action and to learn how they can make their voice heard in our democracy.

 

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Abena’s ‘Meet your MP’ Coffee Morning in Thamesmead

This month I organised my first ‘Meet your MP’ Coffee Morning at the Moorings Sociable Club in Thamesmead.

I’m always looking for new ways to engage with constituents and so I’ve decided to start a series of these coffee mornings events to meet and talk about all the issues that impact our community.

From issues such as local transport links and housing, to wider issues like the cost-of-living crisis, the war in Ukraine and recovering from the pandemic, I want to hear more about how together we can improve our local area.

It was great to spend the time to engage further about the many pressing matters and also the great opportunities available in Erith and Thamesmead.

I was very impressed with how passionate everyone was, and I hope all constituents can feel like they can reach out to me as I hold further events in the future.

If you are interested in coming along to a future meeting, I’ve just launched my webpage where you, your family and friends can sign up to register your interest in attending a meeting.

Here is the link: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/upcoming-events/coffeemorning/

 

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Abena speaks on the Windfall Tax Bill

The cost-of-living crisis remains the biggest issue facing the country right now. While the Tory leadership candidates trade insults and trash their own Government’s woeful record, I know that many families across Erith and Thamesmead are still struggling to make ends meet.

On the 11th July I closed the Second Reading debate of the Windfall Tax Bill on behalf of the Shadow Treasury Team.

In that debate, I spoke about the financial pressures that many people in Erith and Thamesmead and across the country are facing. Food, fuel and energy bills continue to rise, and I know many are already worrying about the winter that lies ahead.

So it was a relief that the Government finally followed Labour’s lead and u-turned on the windfall tax. However, since Labour first called for the windfall tax on oil and gas producers, energy bills for typical households have risen by a shocking £700, inflation has rocketed to its highest level in 40 years, and, of course, people’s taxes have gone up as the Government have pressed ahead with the national insurance increase. In that period, oil and gas producers’ profits have soared. Indeed, we estimate that between Labour first calling for the windfall tax in January and the former Chancellor and soon-to-be former Prime Minister finally accepting our arguments at the end of May, nearly £2 billion of tax revenue could have been raised to help people with the cost-of-living crisis.

In that time, Conservative MPs voted against our plans for a windfall tax not once, not twice, but three times. Ministers repeatedly claimed that such a plan would not work. Famously, the current Chancellor said that oil and gas producers were “already struggling”.

It is shameful that it took the Government so long to come to their senses and finally do the right thing. That is yet more evidence, if we needed it after the past couple of weeks, that this Tory Government is on its last legs: out of touch, out of ideas and now truly out of time. With the windfall tax and with so many other issues, it is Labour that leads and the Conservative party that follows.

You can watch my speech using the following link here, and you can read my speech here.

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June 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Today, I’m sending you an update of some of the work I have doing in in Erith and Thamesmead and in Parliament over the last month.

As ever, if you want to get in touch please email me at abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk

Abena

 

Cost of living crisis  

Unfortunately, we continue to be in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. The country is facing the worst squeeze on living standards in a generation.

This month, I have been hearing from families in Erith and Thamesmead who are struggling to afford the basics and are worried about rising inflation and energy prices.

I think it makes no sense to increase taxes on working people at this time, when we are in the middle of this crisis. I have continued to advocate for Labour’s plan for a stronger and more secure economy.

 

Treasury Questions

At Treasury Questions on the 28th June, I asked the Chancellor if he would back Labour’s plan to scrap business rates and replace them with a fairer system to help struggling businesses across the UK.

In Parliament, I asked him and his government if they would reverse his tax on jobs and if he would scrap the National Insurance hike. Instead, I suggested to the Chancellor that he could use public procurement and other tools to buy, make and sell more in Britain.

Whereas last month, the Government eventually agreed with Labour on the need for a windfall tax, the Government this month has decided not to take up our proposals and, in my view, will harm our businesses now and in the future.

I will not stop challenging the government and I will always advocate for policies which help families, businesses and communities in Erith and Thamesmead and across the country.

You can read my speech here or watch it here.

 

Windrush Lessons Learned Review

More than five years have passed since the first stories from Windrush generation finally came to light and while the media, some politicians and the Government have moved on, many victims have been unable to.

In my intervention in this important debate, I echoed the findings in Wendy William’s report that the process has been too slow and they are putting a broken system ahead of those who are dying without redress.

I believe the Government need to take this issue seriously and implement Wendy Williams’ recommendations.

You can read my speech here or watch it here.

 

Armed Forces Day

It was a privilege this month to pay tribute to the men and women who make up the British Armed Forces community. From the troops currently serving, to service families, veterans and cadets.

At Labour’s Armed Forces Day reception in Parliament, I shared with colleagues our deep admiration for the Armed Forces and our commitment to supporting them as they provide the ultimate public service.

It was also lovely to once again be asked to be part of the Mayoral Party at the Bexley’s Civic Parade and Church Service at Christ Church, Bexleyheath. It is always a great opportunity to bring local groups and residents together. Huge thanks to staff and volunteers who helped make it run smoothly.

 

Next Stop Thamesmead

The campaign to bring the DLR to Thamesmead continues, this month I met with the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Peabody and leaders from Greenwich and Newham Council for a tour of the key sites in Thamesmead and the proposed location for the DLR station.

It was great to have stakeholders come together to discuss the next steps. I also raised the campaign in a recent Transport debate asking the government to commit to the project and back it with proper funding.

The residents of Erith and Thamesmead deserve the benefits of transport connectivity that many others across London already enjoy. For too long, Thamesmead has been left off the transport map.

 

Celebrating the Jubilee

With everything from jamborees, storytelling, markets and street parties, there was no shortage of fun in Erith and Thamesmead for the Jubilee weekend. I loved seeing communities across the constituency come together and celebrate such a momentous occasion.

Thursday 2nd June marked the lighting of the Queen’s Beacon and Lesnes Abbey Woods and Cygnet Square were among thousands of beacons lit across the county to celebrate Her Majesty’s Jubilee.

Thank you to the thousands of volunteers across Erith and Thamesmead that made the Jubilee weekend such as success.

 

Parliamentary Tug of War in support of Macmillan Cancer

Earlier this month I took part in the Parliamentary Tug of War event in support of the brilliant charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillan offers brilliant care and support when it is needed most and I’m glad to support them in all they do.

I was very pleased with the turnout of support and also happy to say I was part of the winning House of Commons team against the House of Lords.

If you want to check out the work of Macmillan and donate if you can via https://www.macmillan.org.uk

 

UK Parliamentary Coronavirus Memorial Quilt 

I was really proud to have played a part on behalf of the Erith and Thamesmead Community in the Parliamentary Covid Memorial Quilt project.

Huge thanks to my constituent Anna Hall for doing the Constituency square. It’s in memory of our lost loved ones with thanks to our key workers.

 

Visits across Erith and Thamesmead

Edible Oils

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.

It was 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.

 

Beyond Joinery

It was fantastic to visit Beyond Joinery in Thamesmead who have committed to helping the people of Ukraine by providing humanitarian aid and medical supplies, along with the assistance of a network of volunteers.

So far they have raised £16,664 but have a target of raising £50,000. They are using their business premises as a drop off centre for the donations of goods, which they sort, pack, label and transport regularly to Ukraine (having completed over 10 deliveries to date).

Please donate if you can: https://gofund.me/6a15e047

 

Home Instead

Home Instead in Erith provide vital care to ageing residents to enable them to live happily, comfortably & independently at home. The office opened in the latter part of 2019, and most of their journey was heavily impacted by the Covid. However, they came through it and are now supporting clients across Erith and Thamesmead.

I met with them to discuss their experience through the pandemic, how they are being affected by the recruitment crisis & how increasing costs, from living to fuel, are putting people off the care profession.

I visited Erith Exchange for their latest exhibition ‘Crossing Boundaries’, which included a showcase of a project ‘Mapping the Histories of London’s Travellers’, alongside work by Romany artist Daniel Turner, and an installation by Eva Lis.

 

Other Parliamentary Business

Over the last few weeks, I have also had the opportunity to attend parliamentary receptions and speak to a number of charities, stakeholders, as well as chatting to residents and businesses from my constituency.

  • I was delighted this month to have hosted the Labour Party’s Business Reception: Celebrating Ethnic Minority Leaders in Business.
  • I also had the opportunity this month to speak at a reception for a delegation of parliamentarians from the Ghanaian Parliament.
  • On 14th June, it was an honour to address UNISON conference delegates alongside Angela Rayner, Linda Hobson and Christina McAnea.
  • I spoke at the Funeral Plan industry debate about the collapse of Safe Hands Plans who went into Administration in March 2022. Customers of a failed UK funeral services provider will get no more than a fifth of their money back. I talked about the Government putting stronger legislation in place.
  • On 28th June I spoke at a debate on the Rights of Children in Police Custody and that there needs to be an urgent review into how force is used, particularly when it is applied to children.

 

 

My Summer School is back for 2022

I’m delighted to announce that following last year’s success, my Campaigning Summer School is back for 2022!It is open to 16-18 year olds, with preference given to those who live or go to school or college in Erith and Thamesmead.

It will be held between the 25-27 July and will give young people the skills to campaign for change in our community and beyond.

If you are interested, or you know someone who might be, please visit www.abenaoppongasare.com/summer-school-2022/ for more information and to sign up now.

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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Next Stop Thamesmead – Abena meets the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Peabody and leaders from Greenwich and Newham Council

The campaign to bring the DLR to Thamesmead continues, this month I met with the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Peabody and leaders from Greenwich and Newham Council for a tour of the key sites in Thamesmead and the proposed location for the DLR station.

It was great to have stakeholders come together to discuss the next steps. I also raised the campaign in a recent Transport debate asking the government to commit to the project and back it with proper funding.

Abena Oppong-Asare said:   

“The residents of Erith and Thamesmead deserve the benefits of transport connectivity that many others across London already enjoy. For too long, Thamesmead has been left off the transport map. Extending the DLR to Thamesmead would unlock significant new housing on both sides of the river and would open up access to work and educational opportunities for my constituents.

“Now is the time for the Government to commit to this project, back it with proper funding, and get on with building the DLR extension to Thamesmead.”

Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:    

“The Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Newham share many of the same objectives. I look forward to collaborating with the Mayor of Newham, as well as Abena Oppong-Asare MP, and our partners to bring forward essential transport links to an area that has so much potential to offer.

Cllr Averil Lekau, Deputy Leader for the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said:   

“Having represented Thamesmead for eight years I am well aware of how crucial better transport links are for the area. SE28 is the only postcode in London without a train station. We’re already seeing how the Elizabeth Line is benefiting Woolwich and Abbey Wood and we need to bring these benefits to Thamesmead too.”

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, said:  

“A DLR extension from Gallions Reach in Newham to Beckton Riverside, and across the river to Thamesmead, would be transformative for the area, considerably improving access to public transport in both boroughs and helping people access jobs, education and culture across London with the potential for thousands of new homes on each side of the river. City Hall will continue to work with TfL, the boroughs, Homes England and key landowners to develop a strong business case for this extension.

“Investment in the capital’s transport infrastructure can help to improve the lives of Londoners and support businesses. This lies at the heart of the Mayor’s vision to build a better London for everyone – a city that is greener, fairer, healthier and more sustainable. Investing in our transport network is also crucial to supporting the economy in London and across the UK. We will continue to call on the Government to work with us to agree a fair, sustainable, long-term funding deal for TfL – for the benefit of London and the whole country.”

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Abena officially opens renovated bottling facility at Erith

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.”

 

 

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Celebrating the Jubilee in Erith and Thamesmead

With everything from jamborees, storytelling, markets and street parties, there was no shortage of fun in Erith and Thamesmead for the Jubilee weekend. I loved seeing communities across the constituency come together and celebrate such a momentous occasion.

Thursday marked the lighting of the Queen’s Beacon and Lesnes Abbey Woods and Cygnet Square were among thousands of beacons lit across the county to celebrate Her Majesty’s Jubilee.

Thank you to the thousands of volunteers across Erith and Thamesmead that made the Jubilee weekend such as success.

 

 

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Crossrail opening date set for 24 May

Crossrail to open on 24 May, with local bus route changes from 14 May – Abena responds

 

At long last Crossrail, or the Elizabeth Line as it will now be known, is opening. I know that for people living in Abbey Wood and nearby places this has been a long time coming. The initial planned opening date was nearly four years ago!

Since being elected in 2019, I have pushed TfL and Crossrail Ltd to open this vital new railway as soon as possible. I’m glad this is now happening, and I know it will benefit people and businesses in our area.

I’ve also been clear that TfL must ensure that local people across Erith and Thamesmead can benefit from Crossrail by ensuring that there are good bus links to Abbey Wood from across the constituency. I have written to TfL and recently met with the Deputy Mayor for Transport to discuss this.

TfL have now published changes to local bus routes. You can find the full details of changes here and the main changes affecting the constituency are in the table below.

If anyone has any concerns about these changes, or further suggestions for bus route changes, please do not hesitate to contact me at abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk

Finally, I am continuing to campaign for better transport across our area including the extension of the DLR to Thamesmead and beyond. I will keep you updated with this campaign as it progresses.

Abena

 

Route and destinations before change take place  Change  Date 
180 (Lewisham Shopping Centre to Belvedere Industrial Estate) Route 180 will be rerouted from Woolwich Road, Charlton via the current route 472 to North Greenwich Bus Station. Route 180 will also be extended from Belvedere Industrial Estate to Erith Quarry via Church Manorway and Erith Town Centre. Buses will no longer run along Mulberry Way and onto Fisher’s Way where the current route terminates. However, new bus stops nearby will come into operation when the changes to the route come into effect on Church Manorway through the newly created link through the Erith Quarry development which will help serve businesses and large distribution centres in the area. There will be no change to the current frequency of the route.

 

Customers can change at Stone Lake Retail Park for route 177 to Westcombe Park and Greenwich Town Centre or at Ikea on Greenwich Peninsula for route 129 to Greenwich and all stops to Lewisham.

14/05/2022
469 (Queen Elizabeth Hospital to Erith Town Centre) A new link to the Elizabeth line station at Abbey Wood will be created with route 469 rerouted between Abbey Wood station (for the Elizabeth line and National Rail) and Belvedere Station via New Road, Woolwich Road and Picardy Road instead of Abbey Road and Gilbert Road. There will be no change to the frequency of the route.

Customers can continue to use route 229 instead, which will continue to serve Abbey Road and Gilbert Road.

14/05/2022
472 (North Greenwich Station to Thamesmead Town Centre) 24 hour bus route 472 will be rerouted from Central Way to Abbey Wood station (for Elizabeth line and National Rail services) via Crossway, Carlyle Road, Harrow Manorway and Knee Hill. It will not serve Thamesmere Drive or Bentham Road. Customers can use route 301 instead, which will continue to provide a link to Abbey Wood along these roads as well as the previous route 472 link between Plumstead Bus Garage and Thamesmead Central Way via Nathan Way.

Buses will run every eight minutes instead of every six minutes on Monday to Friday daytimes, every 10 minutes instead of every seven to eight minutes on Saturday daytimes and every 12 minutes instead of every 10 minutes on Sundays. The night service routing will change as per the day service with buses continuing to run every 30 minutes on all nights of the week.

14/05/2022
B11 (Bexleyheath Bus Garage to Thamesmead Town Centre) Route B11 will no longer run between South Thamesmead, Yarnton Way / Harrow Manorway and Thamesmead Town Centre. Customers can use routes 177, 229, 244, 301, 401 and 472, which will continue to provide a link between Harrow Manorway / Yarnton Way and Thamesmead Town Centre. Buses on route B11 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15 minutes during the day Monday to Saturday. There will be no change frequencies at any other time. 14/05/2022