This week we heard about how a record 6 million people are waiting for NHS care and they are waiting longer than ever before, often in pain and distress. After a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS went into the pandemic with record waiting lists and staff shortages of 100,000. It’s not just that the Tories didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining, they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards. In fact, they have come up with a plan that sees patients paying more in tax but waiting longer for care. I find this deeply concerning and have written to the health secretary about waiting times in Birmingham. My constituents are being made to wait far too long for things that should be straightforward, like getting a GP appointment. However, significant staff shortages mean this problem continues to worsen and the Government has no plan to address it. The last Labour government reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks. The next Labour government will secure the future of our NHS, providing the staff it needs to treat patients on time.
More must be done to tackle food insecurity
In one of the richest countries on Earth, no one should go hungry. Yet millions of people in the UK are struggling to feed themselves and put food on the table. Now, hard-working families are bracing themselves for the biggest drop in living standards in thirty years with petrol, food and energy bills are all skyrocketing. People have been left to choose between putting food in the fridge or money on the meter and while working families deserve security, prosperity and respect, they aren’t getting it. And, this isn’t just because of Covid or global problems. Despite having years to prepare for Brexit, the incompetent Conservatives have failed to make Brexit work that’s resulted in labour shortages and supply chain disruption causing increased prices for basic food items. Even before the Covid19 crisis hit, it was estimated that over eight million people in the UK regularly had trouble putting food on the table, half a million people used foodbanks and one million people lived in food deserts where it is impossible for people to buy healthy food. Trussel Trust figures show that the number of children eligible for free school meals has increased in Birmingham by 30% since 2016. But this unsustainable rate is entirely unsurprising when we have a government that have cut Universal Credit to 6 million families, increased National Insurance Contributions and have failed to tackle rising energy bills. Tackling hunger was a founding cause for the co-operative movement, and for me, as a Labour and Co-operative MP, this remains as vital today as it did then. That’s why I am proud to stand alongside my Labour colleagues in calling for the Government to set out a national strategy for food including how it intends to ensure access to high quality, sustainable, affordable food for all and meet the Sustainable Development Goals to end hunger by 2030.
Making an intervention on exempt accommodation
This week in Parliament there was a Westminster Hall Debate on exempt accommodation. I joined with other Birmingham MPs in a debate on exempt accommodation. In my intervention, I spoke about the impact many properties are having on their neighbours, the rising levels of crime many of these types of accommodations attract and the lack of support that vulnerable people who are housed her receive. Most importantly, I raised the exploitation and criminality that is taking place with these properties and the need for urgent reform to this sector – something which can no longer be delayed. This is something which all Labour MPs are absolutely in agreement with.
Meeting with UN Humanitarian Relief Chief on Afghanistan
The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating at a dizzying pace. The 22 million people in Afghanistan are in danger of starvation and the country is facing the imminent prospect of economic collapse. This week, I met with UN Humanitarian Relief Chief, Martin Griffiths, to discuss the vital steps that our government need to take to show real leadership and avoid a catastrophic humanitarian disaster.
Apply to join my team!
I’m recruiting two roles in my constituency office in Edgbaston, looking for a constituency assistant and a constituency caseworker. Edgbaston constituency covers Harborne, Bartley Green, Quinton, Edgbaston and part of North Edgbaston. If you have a passion for helping people and want to join my brilliant team, please take a look at the job description and apply. Constituency casework – closing date 22 February 2022 Find the job profile and apply here Constituency assistant – closing date 18 February 2022 Find the job profile and apply here
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton