This was a week with highs and lows. While the cost of living crisis keeps escalating (more on this below), in Edgbaston, we saw The Hundred kick off at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium with the home team, The Birmingham Phoenix, setting yet more records (20-year-old Will Smeed batted his way to the first ever century scored in a Hundred match).
In Quinton, a disqualified driver was caught, after being chased by Police through Worlds End Lane, Wolverhampton Road and Lower White Road, and was this week brought to court and sentenced to prison time. The increase in car theft and street racing is something which many residents have raised with me. I have shared these incidents with the Police and it is great to start seeing prosecutions like these being brought forward.
Monday saw the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. While it was sad to see it come to an end, what a way to celebrate the 11 incredible days of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and handover the baton to Victoria in Australia for the next Games in 2026.
And finally, today, Birmingham was announced as one of seven cities to make the shortlist to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Following the success of the Commonwealth Games, this would be another fantastic opportunity for our city to show that this is a wonderful, vibrant and friendly city where everyone is welcome and if given the chance, we will do our friends in Ukraine proud.
The cost of living crisis deepens
New Ofgem methodology was announced this week showing how we will see an 81% price cap rise in October and a further 19% increase in January. This will mean an average bill will come to approximately £4,266/yr.
If swift action isn’t taken, it will spell disaster for so many. That is why the Labour Party called on the Government to use yesterday’s meeting with oil and gas giants in Downing Street to close a major tax loophole in the windfall tax. This was an opportunity to make real changes to lives of millions of people. I was extremely disappointed to see no announcements brought forward by government as a result of this meeting.
It is my firm belief that those with the least, shouldn’t pay more to heat their homes and turn on their lights. But under the Tories, they do. This isn’t right or fair. Labour has been clear from the start. We would take immediate action by cutting VAT on home energy bills. Unlike the Tories, our commitments are fully funded. We would pay for that by not going ahead with the government's investment allowance, but by backdating the windfall tax money to the very oil and gas companies making excess profits.
Second, we would deliver the long-term plan for our energy security, which has been left weakened by a decade of failed Conservative energy policy. This means rapidly investing in the clean, home-grown, cheap forms of renewable and nuclear power that can cut bills.
And we would deliver a national warm homes plan to insulate as many homes as possible before next winter. This would save households up to £400, cut gas imports, and create good jobs across the country.
I was also pleased to see our Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, announce this week that under a Labour Government, we would finally end the injustice that sees people with energy prepayment meters paying over the odds for their gas and electricity. This means that the 4 million people who pay for their energy in advance – often those who are on the lowest incomes - will be charged the same as those who pay by direct debit.
We’re in the midst of an energy emergency that is only going to get worse. A crisis like this requires strong leadership. Labour will take the action that’s needed to get us through this national emergency, and build the stronger, more secure economy Britain deserves.
Will you be celebrating UK Parliament Week 2022?
UK Parliament Week is taking place later this year, from 14-20 November, and will be an opportunity for communities to join together to find out how to make a difference on issues they care about by engaging with UK Parliament. I want to see as many community groups and volunteers as possible across the constituency signing up to get involved, take action and make a difference.
I’m especially keen to see schools getting involved so that young people can better understand how politics works and how the policies and decisions made in Parliament, directly have an impact on their futures. This is a real opportunity for us all to learn and celebrate our democracy.
If you receive Pension Credit, you could be eligible for a £650 Cost of Living Payment
If you know someone who receives Pension Credit, they could also get £650 worth of support for the cost of living. The £650 Cost of Living Payment will be paid out via two lump sums, the first from the 14th July and the second in autumn. As Pension Credit can be backdated by up to three months, your residents who are eligible but have not yet claimed Pension Credit can still receive both Cost of Living Payment instalments. However, to ensure they receive the first instalment, they must claim Pension Credit by 18th August 2022.
According to the latest Government figures, a third of pensioners eligible to claim Pension Credit are missing out which is concerning, as the cost of living continues to rise. The figures show that 770,000 eligible pensioner households (single people or couples) are not receiving Pension Credit.
Your older constituents who are unsure if they qualify for Pension Credit can use Age UK’s online benefits calculator to see how much they could be entitled to.
If I can be of any further help or if you know of someone who needs my support, please get in touch on 0121 392 8426 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton