I’m delighted to announce that, this week, Keir Starmer asked me to take on the important role of Shadow Minister for Primary Care & Public Health.
I can’t wait to get stuck into helping deliver Labour’s mission to build an NHS fit for the future with the brilliant Wes Streeting and his shadow health team.
Labour will never abandon a publicly funded NHS, free at the point of need. The NHS needs investment and reform – in the case of the last Labour Government, this delivered the shortest waiting times and highest patient satisfaction in history.
That also means that this week, my time as Shadow Secretary for International Development has ended. It has been a great privilege to serve such an important role through a tumultuous few years: a global pandemic that has set the clock back on years of progress, the UK’s disastrous exit from Afghanistan, and Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine.
I am proud of our work we have done holding the government to account: over its disastrous decision to abolish DfID and mismanaged aid cuts that have harmed so many lives. I want to thank everyone who I have worked with over the years. Britain should be immensely proud of the good it does in the world, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for international development.
I wish my successor all the very best in the task of rebuilding Britain’s reputation as a development superpower and trusted partner on the world stage.
This week, I spoke to ITV Central about the rental crisis in Birmingham.
Many of my constituents, through no fault of their own, are facing unaffordable rents and the threat of eviction.
Labour has a plan to start fixing this crisis. Our Renters Charter will:
Ban section 21 evictions
End automatic evictions for rent arrears
Introduce a national register of landlords
Make deposits fairer and more flexible
Allow tenants to make reasonable alterations to their home
Require landlords to give 4-month notice periods
Give tenants the right to request speedy repairs
Labour will also build more affordable and social homes as part of our plan to return social housing to the second largest form of tenure.
Birmingham City Council
This week, I spoke to BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5, BBC Radio WM, and Times Radio about Birmingham City Council, which issued a Section 114 notice as part of an overall strategy to restore its finances.
This is a very difficult time for the council, as it is no longer able to make any new non-essential spending commitments. My constituents will want to know what exactly what support the Government is going to provide to ensure key services are delivered. We do not have that information yet.
The problems facing Birmingham City Council are part of a wider problem facing local government. We've seen Tory-run Thurrock and Northamptonshire issue S114s. Sigoma have warned that up to 26 councils could issue a S114 in the next two financial years because of the deficit in funding.
Having said that, Birmingham City Council has its unique issues, and it is absolutely right that there is accountability and people are held to task for failure. I am confident that a process is in place to investigate and learn lessons. We can never be in this place again.
This week, it was a privilege to speak at the Reception in Honour of the Resilience, Bravery & Inspiration of Afghan Women, hosted by the amazing Zehra Zaidi.
It was a pleasure to work with so many inspiring Afghan women as Shadow Int. Development Secretary. I will never forget you.
This week, Woodhouse Primary Academy in Quinton has had to close over concerns of RAAC.
It is disgraceful that the Tories have failed our children yet again, putting their education and even their safety at risk. The next Labour government will make sure schools are fit for purpose and children are safe.
I am writing to the Minister for Schools to ask if contingency plans are in place. Parents at Woodhouse, or any school dealing with issues related to RAAC, should contact me with any concerns so that I can raise them with the Government.
Next Saturday at St. Germain’s Church, there will be arts and crafts workshops, quizzes, refreshments, church tours and more as part of Birmingham Heritage week! Do make sure to drop in.
Next week, the Mobile Household Recycling Centre will be visiting Balden Road, Quinton, B32 2ES, on Thursday 14th September. Please come along if you're local and have bulky household waste to dispose of.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton