I would like to start my weekly update this week by wishing you a Happy Easter. As we approach the Bank Holiday, for all those celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful few days. Easter is about resurrection, new life and new beginnings. With so much change over the last few days from the pandemic, the cost of living, I hope you are able to take a moment to rest and recharge.
However, the Easter Bank Holiday will also mean that my usual April advice surgery will fall tomorrow on Good Friday and so unfortunately, they will be cancelled. My next advice surgery date will be Thursday 13 April at Edgbaston Community Centre between 10.30-11.30am.
In the meantime, if you would like my support with any issue, please get in touch on 0121 392 8426 or email@example.com and I would be more than happy to help.
Calling for greater enforcement action on illegal and obstructive parking
Every week, I hear from people in my constituency about inconsiderate parking on the school drop off and pick up. When I speak to teachers in our local schools, they tell me when they approach motorists they're threatened with foul language and abusive behaviour. This all too often is happening in the presence of young children. Not only is this unacceptable behaviour, but it is also incredibly dangerous. My biggest fear is about the safety of children trying to cross roads, whose view and path may be obstructed by cars parked on pavements.
Yet, it is in our power to stop this. If we each take a pledge to be more careful and considerate when driving, our communities do not need this added worry.
I appreciate the efforts the council are taking, including their work to support schools with active travel and their various schemes like the Keep Schools Clear campaign.
Similarly, I commend schools for regularly writing to parents in their newsletters about this dangerous behaviour. Without doubt, though, the most effective tool in our arsenal is enforcement action. That is why I have written to the Cabinet Member for Transport at Birmingham City Council, Cllr Liz Clements, regarding illegal and obstructive parking.
In my letter I have asked:
How many full time and part time parking enforcement officers are currently employed by Birmingham City Council; and has this number remained steady, increased, or decreased in recent years?
On a typical shift, how many roads will a parking enforcement officer be tasked with inspecting?
Do Birmingham City Council have any intention to employ more parking enforcement officers? Considering the number of cases I deal with on a weekly basis regarding parking, I believe greater numbers are required. Therefore, if the answer is no, then what is the reason for this?
How many mobile camera cars do Birmingham City Council operate? A camera car was used in my constituency in the Autumn term after months of complaining to the Council about a particular school but that was for only one term.
Can Birmingham City Council designate a mobile camera car specifically for use towards tackling school parking? If this is not currently an option, can another vehicle be purchased for this?
Considering self-reporting by residents, how many reports of obstructive parking have you received in the past twelve months? Of those cases closed, how many resulted in enforcement action and how many did not?
Statement from the UHB Cross-Party Reference Group
Last week I shared how the findings from the first phase of a three-part review looking into University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) were released. As Chair of the Cross-Party Reference Group, which is in place to hold the three reviews to account, I brought the Group together to discuss the findings.
Given Professor Bewick had just six weeks to investigate and has only been able to offer limited recommendations, the report still paints a disturbing picture of serious failings at UHB. UHB touches the lives of so many, at a time when patients are at their most vulnerable. The Cross-Party Reference Group wants them to succeed. It is therefore imperative that the reviews are seen as the beginning of the journey so that we can implement the learning and create a culture that fosters openness for better patient outcomes.
Labour launches mission to halve violence against women and girls
New analysis has this week revealed that the number of rape survivors dropping their case has more than doubled since 2015. That is why I’m proud Labour Leader Keir Starmer will highlight our national mission to halve levels of violence against women and girls and increase confidence in every police force.
Just last week, we saw Deputy Labour Leader, Angela Raynor, challenge the Deputy Prime Minister on the Conservative track record which now shows a collapsing confidence from women in the justice system. A staggering 41.6% of rape survivors are now pulling out of pursuing their case. This is a huge increase given in 2015, this stood at 19.7%.
With less than two in every 100 reported rapists charged in the last year, justice for rape survivors is diminishing. The alarming figures come amid record court backlogs and an average three-year wait for justice for rape survivors - which Starmer branded a “stain on our country”.
Labour will put victims back at the heart of the system. We’ll stop victims going through the harrowing experience of waiting months, sometimes years for justice. We will:
Give minimum custodial sentences of seven years of perpetrators of rape.
End the postcode lottery of support by putting specialist domestic abuse workers and a specialist rape and sexual offence unit in every police force.
Tackle misogyny by making it a specific hate crime and taking action on online harms.
Set up dedicated rape courts to prioritise listing of rape cases and reform the experience of going to court for survivors, so they feel empowered to come forward.
Raise standards and confidence in every police force, with mandatory national vetting, training and misconduct standards.
Apply to join my brilliant team!
I’m recruiting a new caseworker role in my constituency office in Edgbaston. Edgbaston constituency covers Harborne, Bartley Green, Quinton, Edgbaston and part of North Edgbaston.
The cost of living is having a significant impact on residents across the constituency. I have seen this first hand as the number of people contacting me and looking for support has significantly increased with requests ranging from immigration to housing, benefits to health requests. That is why I am looking for someone with experience with casework whether that is in the public sector, at a charity or another fast-paced role.
So, if you have a passion for helping people and want to join my brilliant team, please look at the job description and apply. The closing date is 12 April at 5pm.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton