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My Weekly Update - 1 September

Updated: Jan 30

This week, the news has broken that dozens of schools are set to be partially or wholly closed in the next few days by the Department for Education because they are literally crumbling.


This is a staggering display of Tory incompetence as they start a fresh term by failing our children again. Dozens of England’s schools are at risk of collapse with mere days before children return to classrooms.


To make matters worse, the Minister for Schools said he’d be “happy for his nieces and nephews to be sat in a classroom propped up by beams to keep it standing”.


Children sat underneath steel girders to protect them from the ceiling falling in: the defining image of thirteen years of a Conservative-run education system.


This broken government ignored the warnings. They have given up. I wrote to schools in February asking headteachers to write to me about the conditions of their schools and how they think students will be affected without these repairs being addressed. Download my letter here:


School Buildings 13-02-2023 sent to 14 Primary and 8 Secondary State Schools
.pdf
Download PDF • 206KB

Labour knows that children can’t get a first class education in a second class school. The next Labour government will ensure schools are fit for purpose and children are safe.


Labour will reform the education system. We will:


  1. Provide pathways to good prospects for all, with a new growth and skills levy that doubles down on apprenticeship, a proper national skills plan led by a new body Skills England, and getting more people than ever access to quality post-19 training.

  2. Get children studying creative arts subject or sports until they’re 16.

  3. Deliver a broader education, introducing a new curriculum which raises the importance of oracy and digital skills.

  4. Ensure the highest standards in schools, with a reformed Ofsted and recruitment plan to hire more teachers in shortage subjects.

  5. Introduce safe-guarding reviews every year.

 

BBC Midlands Today

This week, I spoke to BBC Midlands Today about the ongoing pressures and challenges facing University Hospitals Birmingham Trust.


It’s absolutely right that whistleblowers are asking to see evidence of real change at the Trust. There’s been a lot of reviews, but now we need to see action. I will always hold the trust to account.


Download my letter to Jonathan Brotherton below:

UHB 18-08-23
.pdf
Download PDF • 300KB

 

Local News


Crime

This week, shock figures have revealed that gun crime is on the rise in the West Midlands.


Official statistics show that firearms offences in the West Midlands have rocketed by 86%, with West Midlands Police recording 1,089 gun crimes in the 12 months to March, up from 584 the previous year.


It’s really concerning to see such a significant rise in the number of firearms being discharged across the West Midlands. Even more concerning is that this rise is particularly pronounced in our region.


It’s clear that West Midlands Police urgently needs support to tackle firearm and violent offences. Under the Tories, the force has had its resources slashed: the Conservatives have cut 2,200 police officers across the West Midlands.

In government, Labour will restore neighbourhood policing. We will put 13,000 more police and PCSOs on our streets to keep residents safe and restore faith in the justice system. We’ll also put police hubs at the heart of our towns to give residents a place to share their concerns and secure their communities.


Right now, it’s paramount that West Midlands Police make clear how it plans to combat this rise in gun crime. Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. Residents of the West Midlands deserve to feel safe with the knowledge that the police are working hard to tackle firearm and violent offenses.


I spoke to The Sunday Mirror:


Broadband


This week, it’s been revealed that one million households are set to be forced to transfer to broadband to keep their line, with fears that the elderly could be cut off.


Around 95% of over-65s have a landline in their home and may not necessarily have a broadband connection. Many of these landlines use old copper cables, which are now set to be replaced by digital voice technology that connects via a router and uses the internet to make calls. As a result, the elderly risk being left with no reliable way to contact friends and family when in need.

In the constituency, we had a case where OpenReach removed a vulnerable, elderly resident’s telephone line despite telling the engineer on the day that he wanted to keep his landline untouched. Upon submitting a complaint, Sky told him that a landline would not be reinstalled and nor would other operators such as BT offer to put one in either.


Providers must ensure the elderly are fully aware of what they're agreeing to and paying for. I wrote to Sky asking them to review their approach and safeguarding policies around the selling of these packages.


Download my letter to Sky:


PG35881 Sky letter 10-11-2022 (2)
.pdf
Download PDF • 193KB

Private Parking Companies


This week, the Government finally responded to a letter that I sent in May expressing my constituents concerns over poorly regulated private parking companies.

Multiple constituents have told me horror stories after falling victim to poorly regulated private parking firms. Cases I have dealt with include parking firms not providing the correct reduced rate penalty if paid within the first 14 days; Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) being issued to motorists when payment machines were not working properly or not working at all; and a £100 fine levied against a £0.60 ticket which had been paid and displayed but the site staff failed to properly check the vehicle dashboard.


Of course, there was hope for motorists with the Private Code of Practice, but this was “temporarily withdrawn” in June 2022. I asked the Government when they plan on reinstating the Code. They had no answer. I will always stand up for motorists victimized by private parking companies.


Download my letter to the Government:

PG40358 Parking Code of Practice 22-05-2023 (1)
.pdf
Download PDF • 227KB

Catering Club

The registration window for the next Catering Club cohort is now open! The programme starting in October provides working-aged adults with the opportunity to gain qualifications and experience within the catering and hospitality sector. The Catering Club partners with South and City College and Digbeth Dining Club CIC, who deliver qualifications, guidance, and work placement opportunities.


The course takes place at Villa Park, every Wednesday and Thursday for 8 weeks. Register by emailing am35@avfc.co.uk, or by calling 0748 490 2066.


MHRC


Next week, the Mobile Household Recycling Centre will be visiting Farquhar Road East, Edgbaston, B15 3RD, on Tuesday 5th September, and Roundlea Road, Bartley Green, B31 1DB, on Thursday 7th September. The centre will be open between 7am and 12:30pm, so please come along if you're local and have bulky household waste to dispose of.


Best wishes,






Preet Kaur Gill MP

Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton


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