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Weekly update - 2 December

Updated: Jan 30


This week we saw new figures showing holes in the Tories plan to apply the windfall tax on energy giants. Delays and tax loopholes are leaving a whopping £16.8 billion on the table – a bill that working people will be asked to foot instead. It’s a sum so large that it could insulate 6 million homes!

It comes as the Labour Party table an amendment to close remaining loopholes in the energy giant's windfall tax. While I voted in favour of this amendment, Conservatives voted against it.

Britain deserves a government that will make fairer choices in the interest of working people. When it comes to the next election, the question people will be asking themselves is this: do I and my family feel better off under the Tories? With choices like this, the answer will be no.

Labour would be making fairer choices – fairly taxing the windfall profits of war, instead of diving into working people’s pockets first. And we’d be moving forward on our real plan for growth to create good jobs across our country and get money flowing back into the economy.

 

Calling for an investigation into the culture of toxicity at University Hospitals Birmingham


This week I joined Kirsty Wark on Newsnight to discuss the recent claims of bullying at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB). I am deeply concerned about the allegations being made by staff at the hospital and have raised this with Dr David Rosser, the current chief executive of UHB. However, given the length of time this has been occurring and the gravity of the allegations, I have called for an investigation to be made into the culture of toxicity at UHB.


You can watch my interview on Newsnight here:


 

367 of 381 schools in Birmingham facing further budget cuts in 2023

I have grave concerns over new figures which show that 367 of Birmingham’s 381 schools will be facing significant cuts to their 2023 budgets.

This is £30.6 million being taken from our schools. On average, it will mean that schools will have £168 less to spend per child on students' education in the school year for 2023/2024.

Schools are already suffering because of the failure of the Conservatives to meet their manifesto pledge to invest in education. For example, Woodgate Primary School in Bartley Green will lose £231, 901 from their budget next year. That’s an enormous £3,514 loss per pupil. Warnings from head teachers are becoming more and more frequent and with the Conservatives crashing the economy, this is only set to worsen.

A recent survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) found that 66% of 11,000 school leaders will have to make teaching assistants redundant or reduce their hours, while 50% are looking at cutting the number of teachers or teaching hours.

I recently met with headteachers across the constituency, and they told me in no uncertain terms how existing budgets simply aren’t meeting the educational needs of pupils. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting families hard, it is falling to schools that are desperately having to make up the shortfalls as best they can. What is clear, hungry children don’t learn.

We need a government that can think creatively, support our schools and parents, and put in place the necessary measures that are so urgently needed. Labour will deliver breakfast clubs for every primary age child in England saving parents thousands in childcare costs and saving money for schools in the process.

 

Traffic calming measures in North Edgbaston

It was great to meet with residents from North Edgbaston this week to discuss the dangerous junction at Fountain Road, Stanmore Road and Hagley Road. It was helpful to hear residents' concerns and how this junction and these local roads are often used as a short cut for drivers in rush hour traffic. I was pleased to be able to invite our local engineer along to the visit which meant we could talk in practical terms about viable traffic calming measures.


 

Calling for an end to Dickensian-like housing

This week I have joined with five other Birmingham Labour MPs to write to the Secretary of State of Housing, Michael Gove to call for an end to Dickensian-like housing.

Jess Phillips, Khalid Mahmood, Steve McCabe, Paulette Hamilton and Liam Byrne joined me in raising their concerns following the avoidable death of Awaab Ishak who, it was ruled, died because of mould in his family’s Rochdale flat.

Together we questioned the speed with which the Government is set to release additional funding for insulation and energy efficiency, describing the budgeting being made available from 2025 "is patently inadequate".



 

Welcoming the parents of Sidhu Moose Wala to Parliament

As Chair of the APPG for British Sikhs, I had the honour of welcoming the parents of Sidhu Moose Wala on their visit to the Houses of Parliament.

During the visit, Balkaur Singh and Charan Kaur met with Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and I, as well as Lord Khan. The visit marked the launch of their campaign for justice for their son.

The rapper, singer and songwriter who was tragically killed by unidentified assailants earlier this year in India, held a UK residence permit. His parents wanted to launch their campaign for justice from the UK due to the solidarity of UK fans who gave them strength to seek justice for their son.

Many people from Great Britain were hugely influenced by his music and message. Now Balkaur and Charan want to see the protection of artists to be internationally recognised and for greater effort to be made to keep them safe.

 

Thank you to Chief Constable Dave Thompson

On 4th December, Chief Constable, Dave Thompson, will retire from West Midlands Police. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his 32 years of service in the Police. While Dave will continue to play a role in the region as a Deputy Lieutenant and as Chair of United by 2022, Craig Guildford, will be taking up office on 5th December as our new Chief Constable for the region.

Chief Constable is a vitally important role for our region and it will be even more so given difficult times lie ahead for the country with a cost of living crisis and constrained public spending. In October, the Institute for Fiscal Studies carried out a major review of funding and need across many public services including the police. This review identified West Midlands Police force has, by some margin, the poorest funding against need of any in the country.

Our police officer numbers per head of population are much lower than other major cities and some rural counties like Cumbria. The per capita funding for the force lags behind other major cities despite a stronger range of factors that demonstrate higher policing need. If we had a budget that matched the Merseyside region we would have £120 million more to spend on policing each year.

Given the UK economy has been brought crashing down by the Conservatives during a cost of living crisis, the very factors that saw our Police force’s budget fall by 24% between 2010 and 2018 may arise again. I will continue to work with West Midlands Police, our Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, and colleagues across the region to keep fighting for the fair funding that we are currently missing out on.

 

Can you spare some time to help?

In the next few weeks, my next constituency-wide newsletter will be hitting doorsteps. This edition will focus on the cost of living crisis, what your next Labour Government will do to tackle it and some of the help and support that’s currently available.

I know that many of you will be getting ready for Chirstmas. However, if you have an hour or two to spare and are able to help me by delivering some leaflets, I would be most grateful. I also run a weekly doorknocking session on Thursdays. If you would like to join me doorknocking or would be able to deliver some leaflets, please contact me by emailing preetkaurgill4edgbaston@gmail.com



Best wishes,





Preet Kaur Gill MP

Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton

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