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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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Monthly Newsletter – May 2020

Newsletter header

Throughout May I’ve been active in Parliament and the constituency helping represent issues that matter to you. I’ve received hundreds of emails campaigning for better Covid-19 support measures, support for businesses, issues around schools re-opening, safety measures at work and much more.

I am looking forward to getting back into the constituency but during lockdown I’ve still been keeping up to date with local issues virtually. I have met with teachers and unions to dicuss how we can safely re-open schools and it is clear parents and staff are worried about the current measures in place. If you’d like to make your voice heard on this issue you can complete the survey here. I will be calling for better support for vulnerable children and standing alongside teachers calling for risk assessments and clearer guidance. I also had the chance to meet with some great local voluntary groups including, Our Heritage UK and Greenwich Association of Disabled People.

We’ve had some major local successes this month! Thamesmead Now started their new weekly TV broadcast on Youtube which you can check out here. My office have also had some major successes in helping people return to the UK  from abroad. We have now helped everyone stranded in Australia, Bahamas, Canary Islands, Cyprus, France, India, New Zealand, Sierra Leone and Tunisia return home.

Despite Parliament operating virtually throughout May, I’ve had the chance to raise a variety of issues effecting people in Erith and Thamesmead. I represented Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple by calling for a Sikh ethnic tick box on the Census 2021. I received over 40 requests from constituents to speak on the Agriculture Bill. In this speech I asked the Government to protect British farmers, animal welfare and the environment. I also spoke on the Fire Safety Bill and asked the Government to protect all victims of Domestic Abuse including those with NRPF in the Domestic Abuse Bill debate.

Belvedere Incinerator

Sadiq Khan calls for judicial review into second Belvedere incinerator
Several constituents raised concerns regarding the construction of a second incinerator in Belvedere. This would be harmful to the environment and public health which is why I joined residents in calling for a review of this project. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has asked for a judicial review to take place.

 

Abena speaking in Parliament

I raised concerns about rising care fees following Covid-19
After speaking with Inclusion London and Greenwich Association of Disabled People I raised concerns with Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government about fears that care home fees are likely to rise. This would have a huge impact on many constituents and I will continue to hold the Government to account over any rise in fees.