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My Weekly Update - 1 December

Updated: Jan 30

Ahead of Small Business Saturday on 2 December, Labour has been setting out its plans for small business and it has also committed to bring banks back to Britain’s high street.

Access to banks and access to cash is a huge issue in Edgbaston. For years, I have fought against the closure of bank branches and I have continually raised the matter with Ministers. I do so because I believe that my constituents deserve access to professional, in-person, banking support. This is especially important for the elderly, people who are not comfortable using mobile or online banking, and it remains important for small businesses.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s brilliant Shadow Chancellor, is absolutely right to look at this.

Meanwhile, on small business, Labour recognises that small business is the beating heart of our economy: breathing life into our high streets; delivering services that make our lives easier; providing the goods we need to thrive. However, often small businesses feel neglected by government, not given the respect their sheer economic weight deserves.

Labour will end this neglect.

The Next Labour Governmnet will legislate to tackle late payments; scrap business rates for a fairer system to reduce the burden on high street premises; boost small business exports by publishing a trade strategy and working alongside the Federation of Small Business on a Small Business Export Taskforce; and provide a fair chance at public contracts to give small and medium businesses fairer opportunities to benefit from public contract bidding.


In Parliament

On Tuesday, I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate discussing the Draft Health Care Services (Provider Selection Regime) Regulations 2023.

The story of these regulations go back to the reforms of the Cameron era which turned competition from one of the ways that the NHS was meant to operate into pretty much the only way.

At the time, Labour warned against excessive private involvement in the NHS and said that the marketisation of the NHS would act as a barrier to integration—which is crucial for our ageing population, who often have multiple conditions—and would ultimately lead to a worse service for patients.

We were vindicated.

A decade on from the Cameron era and the NHS is in the middle of the worst crisis in its history, with the highest waiting times and lowest patient satisfaction. It has been left without the staff, equipment or modern technology needed to ensure that patients can be treated on time, and it has slid down the international rankings to the middle of the pack.

Therefore, Labour welcomes the new regulations which are an extension of the Health and Care Act 2022. The new provider selection regime is as a break from the failed reforms of the last decade and if implemented successfully, we hope that the new regime will simplify health procurement, saving time and money.

Watch my contribution below.


Politics Live

Also on Tuesday, I joined the BBC Politics Live team in London to discuss the Elgin Marbles debate, and Labour's plan for the NHS.

This week the Greek Prime Minister came to London, only to be humiliated by our Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, looking to throw a fit over the Elgin Marbles, cancelling at the last minute rather than standing up and talking about important security, the economy and immigration issues with this important ally. In stark contrast to Mr Sunak, Keir Starmer used the opportunity to meet with the Greek Prime Minister to discuss these important issues.

Meanwhile on the NHS, a record seven million people are waiting for NHS treatment and they are waiting longer than ever before, often in pain and discomfort. People are finding it impossible to get a GP appointment, cannot access NHS dentistry, face long waits for mental health care, and there are thousands of unavoidable deaths every year.

As I say on the show, reform is not just about where you put money, it’s also about where you target the support. That is why Labour will shift towards a prevention first policy, because early intervention saves lives and saves money. That means moving treatment to our communities, exploring how technology can free up NHS workers to focus on care, and ensuring education develops the creativity, resilience and curiosity young people need in a modern world.

Under Labour, the country will benefit from a 10-year plan for change and modernisation of the NHS, including one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status.

The longer we give the Conservatives in power, the longer patients wait. We need change and we need a Labour Government.


World AIDS Day

This week, I also had the pleasure of joining the Let Communities Lead panel with STOPAIDS for World Aids Day. This panel being part of a broader conference for World Aids Day, this year’s conference titled ‘Community and UK leadership in the Global HIV Response’.

World AIDS Day was first celebrated on 1st December 1988 as an international day to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV and to mourn those who had died from the disease and related illnesses.

Over the past 20 years since it was established under the last Labour government, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has saved 50 million lives.

Meanwhile, thanks to incredible advances in treatment, HIV-positive people can live freely and love freely. But there is still work to do.

The next Labour government will continue the fight to end new cases of HIV in the UK by 2030.


Action Smoking & Health

It was similarly lovely to meet with Action Smoking & Health this week, to discuss cracking down on youth vaping and how we can secure a smoke-free future.

While we recognise the role vaping can play in helping people to quit smoking, it is not risk free and I am alarmed at the rapid rise in underage vaping. I know this is also of concern to constituents, some of whom have written to me in recent months about this.

In the West Midlands, it is estimated that 23 percent of secondary-school children have tried vapes.

We cannot sit back and allow a new generation of kids to get hooked on nicotine. The health impacts on our children are seriously worrying and health leaders have sounded the alarm.

That is why Labour will come down like a ton of bricks on underage vaping and ban the marketing of vapes to children, to give every child a healthy start to life.


Local News


On Monday, I had the honour of joining my local congregation of our annual nagar kirtan.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in 1469, he gave the world a spiritual path that combines personal and community spirituality with selfless service to the world.

Guru Nanak’s Gurpurab falls during the 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence. Guru Nanak was a strong advocate for gender equality and raised his voice on discrimination against women. Guru Nanak’s message of equality must be made a reality by us all.

Three principles of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings: Kirat Karo (honest living), Naam Japo (devotion to God) and Vand Chhako (sharing with others) have become an integral part of the lives of Sikhs all over the world. Playing our part to make the world safer, and equal.

I hope all Sikhs in Edgbaston had a Happy Gurpurab!

Illeybrook Square

On Thursday, I was provided an update from Birmingham City Council regarding redevelopment plans for Illeybrook Square in Bartley Green. This area has long needed to be better utilised and I have received concerns in the past from residents wanting to know what the future holds for Illeybrook Square.

While it’s early days, I am grateful to the Council taking the time to update me and I will continue to share news with constituents when information is available.


The Mobile Household Recycling Centre will visit our constituency again next week. First, on 6 December at Glyn Road (B32 2TA). And again on Friday 8 December at Arosa Drive (B17 0SE). The centre will be open from 7am to 12:30pm. Please come along if you're local and have bulky household waste to dispose of.

Warm Welcome Spaces

Last year, hundreds of spaces were made available across Birmingham for people to meet and engage in all sorts of activities. This time of year can be challenging, both financially and emotionally, and therefore I wish to encourage anyone who is facing a difficult time to reach out for support.

Find a Warm Welcome Space in Birmingham near you: here.

Best wishes,

Preet Kaur Gill MP

Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton

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