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Weekly update - 27 January

Updated: Jan 30

Zara Aleena was walking home from a night out with her friends when she was savagely attacked and killed. This week we found out that opportunities were missed which could have prevented all of this. A complete failure from the Government.

The inspectorate report found that “staffing vacancies”, “excessive workloads” are “systemic issues” in the probation service. The Government bears total responsibility for these failures.

Yet, this isn’t the only example. The West Midlands has seen its own similar preventable tragedies including the horrendous murder of Wolverhampton resident Lisa Skidmore in 2019 and the sad death of 21-month-old Lilly Hanrahan in Northfield in 2021.

After 13 years of Tory government the probation service is on its knees. A vital service that protects public safety has been left inadequate. This inadequacy is lethal. Politicians have every responsibility to keep the public safe, yet the Tories have failed on every level of this fundamental pledge.

The Prime Minister is too weak to fix the services his party have broken, too weak to take action against the sleaze in his cabinet, and too weak to give the public a choice over his leadership. The Prime Minister is overseeing chaos and overwhelmed at every turn. I agreed with Keir Starmer when he told Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions that he's just not up to the job.


Honouring those persecuted on Holocaust Memorial Day

This week I signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, pledging my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust. I was also privileged to have the chance to pay tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27th January every year, the anniversary of the liberation of the infamous former Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945. Across the UK – and world – people will come together to remember the horrors of the past.

Today, on Holocaust Memorial Day, we also remember and pay tribute to all of those persecuted by the Nazis, including Roma and Sinti people, disabled people, gay men, political opponents to the Nazis and others. We also remember all of those affected by genocide since, in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from our constituency to reflect on the darkest times of European history. Today, I pledge to remember the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered in Holocaust.


Calling on Government for progress on the Bus Service Support Fund

Birmingham has been left with a completely unreliable bus network. Too often I’m hearing from residents who are being made to wait hours for a bus to arrive. If we want to cut carbon emissions and make an impact on climate change, having a fit for purpose, modern public transport service is pivotal.

At the end of last year, I met with the Director of National Express West Midlands, David Bradford, who is responsible for the bus network in the West Midlands. He told me how bus usage has decreased meaning revenue for National Express is at 90% yet, costs with fuel increases are now at 115%. This has presented a major challenge and a funding gap in our bus network. I was horrified to hear how they were losing £75,000 a week.

Without Government funding by April, the West Midlands will see up to 20% in service cuts. Given the Government’s flagship manifesto policy in the 2019 General Election was based on levelling up, we’re seeing the reverse. This is a clear example of just how our region is suffering. According to Bloomberg UK’s Levelling Up Scorecard, our constituency, alongside all other nine Birmingham constituencies, were worse than average in 2019 and are still falling behind.

With this in mind, I wrote to the Transport Secretary to ask what progress his department are making on the creation of a Bus Service Support Fund? This would help to plug some of the gaps in our bus network and be a starting point for some basic levelling up of our region.


Supporting Junior Doctors

Last week I heard concerning reports from junior doctors telling me about a meeting that was held with the by senior management where, they were allegedly issued with threats against them if they made the difficult decision to strike.

Given the backdrop of allegations of a culture of bullying of staff at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), I took these complaints extremely seriously. I verified the information I had shared with multiple sources and then wrote to the Hospital Trust’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Brotherton.

I was initially disappointed by the response of the Trust as they immediately refuted the complaints. However, following a phonecall I had with Mr Brotherton, he reassured me of two things:

  • Strike days will not be held against junior doctors (and this would be conveyed to all staff)

  • UHB will properly investigate the concerns I raised of threats to junior doctors.

I was pleased to see the Trust stepping up and taking the responsibility and I look forward to hearing back from them more formally with any outcome they find.

Best wishes,

Preet Kaur Gill MP

Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton

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