I hope this finds you well and a special welcome to new subscribers who are receiving this for the first time. Each month I try and give an outline of the work I have been doing in parliament and in the constituency so I hope you find it useful, please do feel free to reply with comments on the issues I have raised or suggestions on what I could cover in the future.
Help for Hessle Feast
I had a fabulous time at last year’s Hessle Feast. The sun was shining, and my stall was hosting Butterfly City, where children could decorate their own pots before planting seeds for butterfly foodplants and we were releasing Brimstone butterflies as they emerged from their chrysalides. It was a really well organised, very popular event and it was a pleasure to visit the other stalls, listen to live music and meet constituents.
I was delighted to hear the funding needed to continue has been found, but now the organisers want your help in making this year’s Hessle Feast the best ever!
They are holding an event planning meeting at The Hase pub on Swinegate on Tuesday 7th March at 6pmand would love to see as many business owners, residents and community members there as possible to get your input into how to make this year’s Feast a success, and to help in the planning stages. They are especially keen to hear from anyone who can volunteer to put in a little time, especially on the day itself. More information on their Facebook page here, or email email@example.com.
I hope to see you there in the summer!
More flooding news
I know, I know, more flooding! What can I say? This stuff is important! I heard powerful evidence given in the Treasury Select Committee by Matt Hammersmith, CEO of Barclays Bank. Most homeowners think that the value of their property will naturally increase over time but the honest truth is that houses in flood areas will not unless we take necessary action in flood mitigation and protection.
The Humber 2100+ project – to protect the people and industries along the Humber, Ouse and Trent into the next century – is progressing slowly. The comparable Thames 2100 project has £178.1 million funding for the next three yearsand a projected budget of £10 billion confirmed as “cost-effective.” There is also £501 million being spent on the Thames upstream of London in Surrey in a separate flood prevention project. At the same time, Humber 2100+ is relying on Defra grants for its funding – £12.1m for the next three years – while £59.6 million has been allocated for flood improvements (majority Defra grants again) with no budget proposed for the long term. This is simply not good enough and I will be looking into how we can get better support from central government to speed things up.
Good news: I’ve just been shown round some of the sites in Derringham selected for improvement by the Living with Water team to prevent local flooding. I’m particularly pleased that an area I brought to their attention after complaints from residents has been included. More updates as I get them.
Celebrating the Headscarf Revolutionaries
Ian Cuthbert first wrote to me in November 2021, asking for my support for his campaign to see the Headscarf Revolutionaries recognised with a statue in Hull. I was delighted to help out – it is an amazing story of bravery and determination to make change following appalling tragedy, and it should never be forgotten. Progress is being made, a petition is available to sign here, the FaceBook page is here and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved.
There will be a Headscarf Parade in the city centre on Wednesday 8 March 10:15 am to celebrate these daughters of Hull and their remarkable achievement, as well as raise funds towards the statue. It is also, appropriately, International Women’s Day. There is also funky merchandise available to support the campaign on the Clem Wear website here.
Cost of living increases
I’m really disappointed that with all the other cost-of-living pressures we face, the new Lib Dem council has chosen to raise council taxes by the maximum allowed. Council tax is not a progressive tax in Hull, where two thirds of properties are band A and only 5% are band D and above. I understand things are tight at the council but they must know that this will hit a lot of people hard. They have also raised rents on council properties by 7%. This is too much at this time, and may even end up as an own-goal by bringing in less total revenue as more people are forced into arrears. The council have to deal with the consequences of homelessness, so again they may be increasing costs elsewhere if evictions rise. It will also have a knock-on effect in the private rental sector as landlords will now feel justified in putting up their rents. These are the reasons the Labour-led council had a rent freeze in place – I think it is a poorly thought out decision and I really am concerned about the consequences.
It is very worrying to hear that Hull Royal infirmary’s waiting times are among the longest in the country. I know the staff there are working as hard as they can. I am concerned about their well being as they are under continual pressure because there are not enough of them, and not enough beds. The inevitable delays this causes makes it almost impossible for them to do the job the way they want to. As you know, I have written to the government about this on numerous occasions and raised it directly with ministers many times on the floor of the House, so I was delighted to see the NHS announced recently by Keir Starmer as one of Labour’s 5 Missions. We need a plan and we need a government committed to taking meaningful action.
The five missions are:
- Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7, with good jobs and productivity growth in every part of the country making everyone, not just a few, better off.
- Make Britain a clean energy superpower to create jobs, cut bills and boost energy security with zero-carbon electricity by 2030, accelerating to net zero.
- Build an NHS fit for the future by reforming health and care services to speed up treatment, harnessing life sciences and technology to reduce preventable illness, and cutting health inequalities.
- Make Britain’s streets safe by reforming the police and justice system, to prevent crime, tackle violence against women, and stop criminals getting away without punishment.
- Break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage, for every child, by reforming the childcare and education systems, raising standards everywhere, and preparing young people for work and life.
I believe it is possible is to build a better Britain for everyone, and that these are important commitments towards making that happen. More detail on how Labour will achieve these missions can be found here.
And finally, As always, please feel free to share this letter with anyone you think might be interested. I will be doing as much as I can to offer assistance and advice over the coming months and represent the constituency in Parliament; please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I can help.