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My Weekly Update - 26 April

This week, I’ve pledged to get local train services back on track by backing Labour’s plans to overhaul Britain’s broken railways.   

Under the Conservatives our railways have been run down into a shocking state.  

 

Cancellations have soared to record high levels, fares have risen almost twice as fast as wages since 2010, and strikes are costing taxpayers £25m for every day they go ahead, whilst taxpayers fork out huge subsidies to pay for trains that are overcrowded, delayed or cancelled. 

 

Since 2016 Avanti West Coast passengers have faced a huge 506% increase in cancelled services since 2016, and only 37.2% of Avanti of trains were on time in October-December last year. 

 

Labour will get our train services back on track. We will create Great British Railways, a new publicly owned, arm’s length body to run our railways in the interest of the passenger and the taxpayer. 

 

We’ll bring our railways into public ownership, as contracts expire or are broken through poor performance by operators, unifying our rail network under a single-directing mind that is able to efficiently plan across the network to improve services. 

 

We’ll also create a tough new passenger watchdog, the Passenger Standards Authority, to ensure the interest of the passenger is at the heart of every decision. 

 

Labour’s plans will deliver noticeable improvements for passengers, including an ambition to introduce a best-price ticket guarantee for passengers, where they automatically pay the lowest possible amount as tap-in, tap-out and contactless technologies are delivered across the rail network. 

 

To achieve reform Labour will deliver a new Railways Act to create a unified, publicly owned, accountable and arm’s length Great British Railways, which will be led by rail experts, not Whitehall. 

 

Under Labour’s plans all rail franchises will be brought into public ownership and unified under Great British Railways by the end of the first term of a Labour Government. 

 

University Hospitals Birmingham 


This week, I wrote to the Health Secretary after a damning report into blood cancer services at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust (UHB).    

 

Reporting this week revealed that four people died due to errors in Birmingham blood cancer services, spanning from 2016 to 2023.  This is far from the first time that issues have been raised regarding patient safety at UHB. 


When I wrote to the Health Secretary last year, the Government said it would take swift action to monitor the reviews and subsequent recommendations.  I asked the Health Secretary on the back of these reports to ask what the Government is doing to improve the conditions at UHB for staff and patients.  


I will continue to hold the Trust to account until tangible change is seen across our hospitals.


See my letter below.



 

Health Orals


This week, I raised two pressing issues at DSHC Oral Questions.  


Firstly, I questioned the Government over retention of GPs. At the last election the Government promised to deliver 6,000 more GPs by 2024-5, yet there are still 2,000 fewer GPs than in 2015.  


It’s clear that part of the problem is morale has plummeted under the Tories, meaning experienced family doctors and newly qualified GPs are hanging up their stethoscopes. Nevertheless, the Minister decided to scrap two GP retention schemes last month. 


Secondly, I questioned the minister over the systematic deprioritisation of women’s health, after stats revealed there are over 600,000 women in England waiting for gynaecological treatment, 33,000 of those waiting more than a year, and under two thirds of eligible women screened for breast cancer in the last three years. 



 

Liver Disease and Health Inequalities



This week, I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on health inequalities and liver disease. 


Over 17,000 people die of liver disease and liver cancer each year – almost half among people of working age (aged 15 to 64), at a huge cost to the NHS and the economy. 


It is an avoidable epidemic that is being driven by obesity, alcohol, and viral hepatitis. 


It’s also the case that this epidemic is not spread equally across the UK. In Blackpool, you are three times more likely to die from chronic liver disease compared to the rest of England.

 

To tackle health inequalities, we must get serious about public health and a prevention-first approach. Labour has a fully costed plan for a Fit for the Future Fund, to double the number of MRI and CT scanners so we can catch illness earlier and treat it faster. 

 

Vaisakhi in Parliament



This week, it was lovely to join the Sikh community at the annual Vaisakhi event in Speakers house.  


Vaisakhi is a time to reflect on the values on which the Khalsa Panth was founded -defence of freedom, equality, and betterment of all. 

 

Becoming an MP 


It was great to speak to Birmingham Live about my journey into politics. 

My ambition to become the first female Sikh MP and a lot of my political values came from my father, who has greatly inspired me throughout my career. 


Read more here:


 

Khalsa Aid 



It was lovely to mark 25 years of selfless service by Khalsa Aid around the world delivering on international development priorities in Parliament this week. 


 Aid matters.

 

Local News


Harborne High Street 


The developer has appealed the council’s refusal of a planning application for the construction of 83 new apartments in Harborne High Street (2022/06737/PA), which I objected to on the basis of insufficient parking provision. 


The appeal will start at 10:00 am on 30th April 2024 at The Auditorium, 10 Woodcock Street, Birmingham, B7 4BL. The inquiry is to be held as an in-person event on the first day. The following 6 days will be entirely virtual, starting at 09:30 am on 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, and 10th May 2024. 


Residents and interested persons can attend or send someone else on their behalf. If you would like to speak, you are encouraged to attend in person on day 1 (30th April). 


MHRC 

 

Next Tuesday, 30th April, the MHWC will be visiting Overdale Road, B32 2TW. The centre is open from 07:30 until 13:00, so please do come along if you have bulky household waste to dispose of.  


Campaigning



It was great to be out campaigning in Blackpool for our brilliant Labour candidate Chris Webb 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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