This week, Keir Starmer unveiled Labour’s agenda to tackle knife crime and protect young people.
The increase in knife crime under the Tories is deeply disturbing. Knife crime is now 77 per cent higher than in 2015, and serious violence is rising. In Birmingham, ten people are victims of knife crime every week. The testaments of bereaved families are heartbreaking.
Six Tory Home Secretaries have promised to create a law to ban zombie-style knives and machetes, but they don’t go anywhere near far enough. With Labour, there will be no more loopholes, no more caveats, and no more false promises. Labour will restore the rule of law on Britain’s streets and in our town centres, and take urgent action to keep our young people safe from knife crime. We will:
Urgently legislate to ban zombie-style knives and toughen up the government’s promised ban to include a wider range of weapons, and toughen existing rules on serration and centimetre length.
Introduce tough criminal sanctions on tech executives who allow knife sales on their online marketplaces, such as Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Instagram.
Conduct a rapid review of online knife sales from the point of purchase through to delivery, in particular to strengthen ID checks, and checks conducted by Royal Mail and Border Force for UK-bound parcels.
A Labour government will also end the empty warnings and apology letters for knife possession, guaranteeing sanctions and serious interventions for young people carrying knives. With Labour:
Every offender must be referred to a Youth Offending Team and have a mandatory, bespoke action plan to prevent reoffending.
Tough new guidance so that serious penalties are always considered where appropriate, such as curfews, tagging, or behavioural contracts.
This week, I wrote a piece for Politics.co.uk about the dire state of NHS dentistry under the Tories, and Labour’s plan to rescue it.
Labour analysis shows that 8/10 dentists aren’t accepting new adult patients, and 7/10 are shutting their doors to new child patients. In some areas, 99% of practices are taking on no new NHS patients.
At the same time, the UK has some of the worst child health outcomes in Europe. Rotting teeth is the number one reason children aged 6 to 10 are admitted to hospital, with on average 169 children undergoing extractions every single day.
Labour will rescue NHS dentistry, because children should be chasing their dreams, not a dentist's appointment. Labour will provide 700,000 more urgent appointments each year and incentives for new NHS dentists to work in areas with the greatest need, and introduce supervised toothbrushing in schools for 3–5-year-olds, targeted at the areas with highest childhood tooth decay. This will all be paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status, because our constituents need dentist’s appointments more than the wealthy need tax breaks.
Read my article:
Children Missing Education
Recently, I’ve been raising concerns over the high number of children missing education in Birmingham. It’s shocking that 1 in 4 children in the city missed out of 10% or more of their schooling in 2021/2. Of course, many students miss out on much more than 10% and disappear altogether from the system.
I have written to the Council asking for more detail of their plan to tackle this issue.
Labour is ambitious for all our children. In government, we will legislate for a new Register of Pupils to get a grip with persistent non-attendance.
More in the Birmingham Mail:
Many families in Birmingham, like mine, will be concerned by the rapid spread of measles in the city. In Parliament, I put an urgent question to the Government, asking what steps it is taking to grip this crisis before it becomes a national outbreak.
5 years ago, the UK was declared measles-free. It's a badge of shame for this Government that the UK has lost this status on its watch. I also spoke to Newscast about the outbreak in Birmingham, and my concerns with the Government's lack of action to contain this outbreak.
My appearance on Newscast:
This week in Parliament, I raised the case of Emma, from Grimsby, who had her NHS dentist close in 2020 and hasn't been able to register with one since. After an emergency appointment in Scunthorpe, she's been referred to hospital to have three teeth removed.
I asked the Minister what she has to say to Emma, and the millions like her, who are unable to get a dentist's appointment?
Roundtable, Future of Primary Care
It was great to host a roundtable to discuss the future of General Practice and primary care under a Labour Government.
Creating a Neighbourhood Health Service is central to Labour's mission to make the NHS fit for the future.
This week, it was lovely to attend the Hidden Heroes event. It was an honour to work with such brilliant people on the work of Coventry UNESCO Associated Schools Network and the #HiddenHeroes project, with 1,500 students having taken part so far.
Special thanks to Sienna, Anya and Layla for the lovely portraits.
With measles cases on the rise, it’s really important to get vaccinated and contain the spread. The disease transmits very easily and can lead to serious problems for some.
The best way to prevent measles is to have the MMR vaccine. This vaccine is available at every GP practice, and it is free.
The MMR vaccine is safe for every faith. There is a type of MMR vaccine that does not contain pork gelatine, so it can be used for people who do not touch any pork products.
More information on the NHS website here:
I’m really proud to see Four Dwellings school awarded a ‘Good' rating by Ofsted. Well done to the amazing teachers for their hard work, and to the brilliant students. Well deserved!
On Tuesday 30th January, the MHRC will be visiting Clapgate Lane shopping centre, B32 3DH, in Bartley Green, and Meadow Road, B17 8BU, in Harborne. The centre will be open between 7am and 12:30pm, so please do come along if you’re local and have bulky household waste to dispose of.
It was great to join Labour members campaigning in the constituency and West Bromwich last week. If you would like to support me campaigning and join me doorknocking, please contact: email@example.com.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton