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My Weekly Update - 19 April

This week, Labour has pledged a housebuilding drive on Grey Belt land with ‘golden rules’ to boost infrastructure and public services like schools and GPs, affordable homes and improve genuine green spaces.  


One of our key pledges is to build 1.5 m more homes over the next parliament and rapidly reform planning rules, to take on the blockers and back the dream of home ownership. 


While we will always take a ‘brownfield first’ approach to housing development, we will also create a new class of ‘Grey Belt’, to release land that is classed as Green Belt but is actually grey and poor-quality. This follows cases such as affordable homes in Tottenham being blocked because a disused petrol station was designated as green belt. 

 

The Tories’ approach to development is wildly inconsistent and haphazard, with the number of planning applications received and granted having dropped to the lowest level on record. 


Nobody is winning from the Conservatives’ approach. The housing crisis is engulfing a generation of hard-working aspirational people whilst the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. 


A Labour government would take a brownfield first approach to development across England, prioritising building on previously developed land in all circumstances and taking steps to improve upon the government’s lacklustre record of brownfield build out rates. 


A Labour government will implement five 'golden rules' for Grey Belt development: 

  

1.⁠  ⁠Brownfield first – Within the green belt, any brownfield land must be prioritised for development.   

  

2.  Grey Belt second – poor-quality and ugly areas of the Green Belt should be clearly prioritised over nature-rich, environmentally valuable land in the green belt. At present, beyond the existing brownfield category the system doesn’t differentiate between them. This category will be distinct to brownfield with a wider definition.   

  

3.⁠ ⁠ Affordable homes – plans must target at least 50% affordable housing delivery when land is released.  

  

4.⁠ ⁠ Boost public services and infrastructure - plans must boost public services and local infrastructure, like more school and nursery places, new health centres and GP appointments.  

  

5.⁠ ⁠ Improve genuine green spaces – Labour rules out building on genuine nature spots and requires plans to include improvements to existing green spaces, making them accessible to the public, with new woodland, parks and playing fields. Plans should meet high environmental standards. 

 

Tobacco and Vapes Bill



This week, I voted for the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which will make it illegal to ever sell cigarettes to children born after 1st January 2009. 


Rishi Sunak put this bill at risk by granting a free vote, because he is too weak to stand up to the Liz Truss-wing of his party. It is only thanks to Labour MPs that this bill passed. 


The former Prime Minister called us “the health police” for wanting to pass this bill – if she thinks wanting to stop future generations from getting addicted to products that may eventually kill them, then the “health police” we are. 


There's no safe age to smoke. For millions of people, smoking is an addiction, not a free choice. It causes 80,000 deaths and costs our society £17 billion every year. That’s why I voted to stop the start and save future generations from addiction. 

 

PMQs



64,000 people are waiting for a council house in the West Midlands, stuck in hotels or properties that are damp, cold and mouldy. Yet, our Tory Mayor Andy Street has built just 46 social homes in 8 years. 


I asked the Prime Minster if he thought that was good enough.  

 

Access to Dentistry



For cancer patients and survivors, oral health is incredibly important. Yet after 14 years of Tory decline, NHS dentistry is facing an acute access crisis. 


8 out of 10 practices aren’t accepting any new adult NHS patients. In some areas, that figure is 99%. In many cases, it is some of the most vulnerable people in society who need to get seen that are missing out. 


Cancer patients, new mothers, rural communities, and millions of others are being failed every year that we let the decay in NHS dentistry go on. NHS dentistry simply won’t survive 5 more years of Tories.  

 

Labour’s fully-funded plans would provide 700,000 more urgent appointments a year, supervised toothbrushing schemes in areas of deprivation and a targeted recruitment scheme in left behind areas, all paid for by cracking down on tax dodgers. We would also get on with reform to the NHS dental contract that this government has put off for 14 years. 


I speak more about new mothers and pregnant women and access to dentistry in The Probe:


 

Birmingham Pub Bombings




Birmingham MPs, including myself, have written to the Home Secretary calling for a Section 1 Inquiry into the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings.  

 

This is a campaign for truth, justice and accountability that many of us have been involved with.  

 

More in Birmingham Live: 



 

Local News


Century Tower



After years spent campaigning for CCTV in Century Tower on behalf of my constituents, I’m thrilled that I’ve got the council to cost up installing cameras. These will be introduced to deter crime in the block, which has been of serious concern to my constituents. 


The council are also now undergoing a cost analysis for a full refurbishment of Century Tower thanks to my campaigning. 


5K Your Way


A new group is inviting anyone who is living with or beyond cancer, families, friends and healthcare professionals to get involved with a 5K Your Way group linked to a local parkrun. 


See the flyer for more information. 




Channel 4 Training Scheme 


Channel 4's Production Training Scheme is open now with places available in Birmingham. Find out more and apply by following the link below: 



MHWC


Next Tuesday, 25th April, the Mobile Household Waste Centre will be visiting Poplar Avenue, B17 8ES. The centre will be open between 7:30am and 1pm, so please do come along if you have bulky household waste to dispose of! 


Campaigning



It was great to go doorknocking in Quinton this week. If you would like to support me campaigning and join me doorknocking, please contact: officeofpreetgill@gmail.com.


Best wishes,






Preet Kaur Gill MP

Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton


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