This week, Boris Johnson delivered his final speech as Prime Minister.
In a speech about the energy crisis facing the UK, the Prime Minister had scant little to offer the millions of people across Britain who are worried about their astronomical bills. He invited people to buy a new kettle.
While his solutions to the cost of living crisis were weak, his analysis of why we are in this mess were hardly any better. The Conservative Prime Minister sought to blame the last Labour government, from over 12 years ago, for the UK’s dismal energy resilience, which has left the UK facing some of the highest inflation in Europe. In a characteristically misleading style, he claimed Labour did ‘absolutely nothing to develop this country’s nuclear industry’.
The reality, of course, is that in 2009 then Prime Minister Gordon Brown approved the go-ahead for ten nuclear power stations. It was the Conservatives that came to power in 2010 that cancelled the plans and didn’t build them.
Indeed, under the Tories, we have suffered twelve years of dither, delay, and poor planning on Britain’s energy sector. The nation’s gas storage was slashed and sold off, they failed to regulate the market, failed to invest in renewables, and have left UK homes some of the worst insulated in Europe. The result of which is a nation uniquely exposed to the energy crisis, with households hit with unaffordable energy costs at a time when everything else is also going up.
Instead of trying to blame everyone else, the Tories must look at themselves and accept that it is their policy decisions that have caused the mess we are in today.
In contrast to the zombie Tory Government, Labour has a plan to rebuild Britain’s energy security, reduce our reliance on foreign gas and bring down people’s bills. We would deliver a mass home insulation programme, saving people £1,000 a year; invest in renewables, including onshore and offshore wind, hydrogen and solar; and end the delay on nuclear power.
Crucially, we will stop the price cap rise by taxing windfall profits of the oil and gas giants to make sure families do not pay a penny more on their energy bills this winter.
The Tories have proven they have no plan to address the scale of the energy crisis. Only Labour can give Britain the fresh start it needs.
Calling on the Foreign Secretary to act on Pakistan floods
We have all been shocked by the images coming from Pakistan this week. 50 million people have been displaced; over 1,000 people have died; and more than 287,000 homes destroyed. A third of the country – an area roughly equivalent to the size of the UK – is now under water.
The scale of the disaster is incomprehensible, and I am worried the situation will worsen as more rains are expected.
Many people across our country and constituency have close ties to Pakistan and will be worried sick for their loved ones. It is therefore essential the UK plays its part to meet the scale of this challenge.
That is why, this week, I wrote to the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, calling on the UK to convene with international counterparts to coordinate and scale up a proportionate response to this crisis.
I’m glad that following Labour pressure, a new package of support was announced yesterday. It is essential that support is disbursed quickly to reach those in greatest need.
Raw sewage dumping in Edgbaston
This week you may have seen stomach-turning footage on the news of raw sewage being piped directly into the sea at beaches across the UK. Sadly it is not just Britain’s beautiful coastline that is suffering from this rank practice, however...
This week, Labour analysis of Environment Agency data has revealed the scale of raw sewage dumping in Birmingham. With our country facing a dirty water emergency, and water companies failing to face up to the problem, the scale of sewage discharge by Severn Trent is stomach-turning.
Figures show that, Severn Trent dumped 253 hours’ worth of raw sewage into Birmingham, Edgbaston’s natural environment last year. 225 hours’ worth of raw sewage was dumped into the River Rea at the Pershore Road storm overflow alone. I know constituents will be sickened by this, knowing that this is killing our beautiful brooks, rivers, and natural environment.
Last year, I and the Labour Party backed an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have eliminated this disgusting practice. Incredibly, the Conservative government voted against.
I am staggered that Conservative MPs ignored Labour’s warnings – including Gary Sambrook, the MP for Birmingham, Northfield. As a result, water companies are using Birmingham’s rivers and brooks like open sewers.
This new analysis comes amid revelations last week, that prime ministerial hopeful Liz Truss was responsible for unleashing cuts of tens of millions of pounds to the Environment Agency, with data showing that the Tories presided over a doubling of water companies dumping raw sewage in subsequent years. As Environment Secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Truss in fact failed to hold a single meeting with a water company to discuss their performance of sewage dumping. Her record inspires little hope for the future of our waterways and environment if she becomes Prime Minister next week.
In contrast, a Labour government will use the levers of power to hold reckless water bosses to account and toughen regulations to prevent them from gaming the system. We will ensure there can be enforcement of unlimited fines, holding water company bosses legally and financially accountable for their negligence, and by toughening up regulations that currently allow the system to be abused.
Check The Rivers Trust interactive map for yourself below.
Commonwealth Games equipment giveaway
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games saw incredible sporting action, record ticket sales and viewing figures, and shone a spotlight on our talented region and people.
Now, the organising committee of the Games, working with Sport England, is looking to give away more than 16,000 sports items used at our Games.
The items, which include bikes, martial arts mats, weights, T20 cricket equipment, basketballs, boxing gloves and weights, as well as general equipment, such as cones and bibs, are being made available to local sport and community groups across the West Midlands.
The community giveaway will support our shared goal to create a lasting community impact in the West Midlands, by supporting people to be active beyond our Games.
Not-for-profit community-based organisations, such as local voluntary groups, schools, sports clubs, Community Interest Companies (CICs) and social enterprises that deliver community-based projects, that seek to tackle inactivity and promote the physical and mental benefits of leading an active life, are encouraged to apply.
A full catalogue of the equipment for the community giveaway will be made available on Sport England website for groups and clubs to look at and apply for.
In addition, some of the high-performance equipment from our Games – such as temporary performance sprung flooring that created the netball and 3x3 basketball courts, as well as the boxing ring and high-performance Judo mats - is being distributed amongst national sports bodies.
This means that, alongside the separate community giveaway, these sports bodies will be able to repurpose some of their high-performance equipment into communities that can benefit the most from it.
Community groups and schools have until 19 September to get their application in and can apply through the Sport England website.
Looking for your next role?
Fancy working in Parliament? I’m looking to recruit a Personal Assistant based in London to join my dynamic team. I’m looking for someone who is well-organised, with a strong attention to detail who can support with diary management and assist in the writing of speeches and compilation of briefing packs. If you’re interested, I would strongly encourage applicants of all backgrounds to apply. For more information, please see the full role profile below. Closing date is 6th September.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton