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My Weekly Update - 28 April

Updated: May 5, 2023

Latest figures show that the Tory Government still haven’t got Britain back on the right track as food and drink inflation rose from 18.2% in February to 19.2% in March, the highest rate in over 4 decades.

While the Tories try to brush this off as a global problem, it is the UK who has the worst food inflation in the G7 – they have managed the economy into decline and left us all worse off. I am regularly contacted by constituents telling me how they are affected by soaring inflation.

Here in Birmingham, members of the Food Foundation, including Dr Ewan Hamnett, a Harborne resident, highlights the true impact of the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis through a compelling short film titled 'They know we are here but they don't see us'. I hope it’s screening in Parliament on the 25th of April will have woken up the Government to the crisis they are failing to address. Please find the film linked below.

In contrast to the Tories, Labour understands the needs of those most affected and have an organised plan to get Britain out of this cost-of-living crisis. I believe that we need subsidies for British food manufacturers and small businesses to reduce the cost burden on struggling consumers, funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants making excessive profits as Britons are forced to choose between heating and eating.


M5 Trees referred to the PHSO

On Monday, I supported residents affected by the removal of the trees along the M5 motorway in Quinton by submitting a complaint on their behalf to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, asking that they launch an investigation into the actions of Highways England.

Residents have waited long enough in frustrating circumstances for answers and compensation. I have been to the houses which back on to the M5. I have been there when the trees were in place, and I have since they were cut down. You can’t miss the change in the noise level. It is now overwhelming. I also worry about what impact this is having on local air pollution.

In my letter to the Ombudsman, I have called for:

  • Immediate air quality monitoring to be installed on effected roads

  • The installation of an acoustic barrier to replace the natural barrier that was provided by the trees

  • An apology to all residents which have been impacted by the removal of trees

  • Financial compensation for the impact these actions have had on residents.

I will continue to work with and update residents as things move forward.


Edgbaston Sikh Roundtable

On Thursday, I had the privilege of attending a Vaisakhi Roundtable at Edgbaston Cricket Ground to discuss community cricket, professional pathway cricket, and use and access of the stadium. This Roundtable follows Sunday’s event where Edgbaston hosted its first Vaisakhi Cricket Cup, which was similarly joyous to attend.

Edgbaston Cricket Ground is a jewel in our constituency, hosting global events like the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and driving forward the legacy of the Games by seeking to expand access to the grounds to engage all communities in sport.

Sport is far more than just exercise – it is something that give us identity, belonging, shared experiences, joy and brings our communities together. It is also something that, after two years of lockdown, there is a real zest for as people seek to regain their love of the outdoors and embed themselves within their community through sport.

Stadia like Edgbaston should be bringing people together and be a focal point of communities and I look forward to working closely with Edgbaston to this end. Click below for a roundup video of Edgbaston’s first Vaisakhi event.


Our Lady of Fatima School Visit

This week, I was delighted to visit Our Lady of Fatima Primary School to meet with the school Council, Governor, and Vice Principal, Mr Leese.

It is always a delight to visit schools in our constituency to listen to what is on the minds of young people and the concerns they have. Young people often do not get enough credit for how much they absorb of what goes on in the world around them.

The students at Our Lady of Fatima raised fantastic questions and are concerned about funding for school equipment. While schools should not need to fundraise – a sorry indictment of thirteen years of Conservative Government – I commend the students for their enthusiasm to improve the resources at the school for fellow and future students. I will support them in any way I can.

It’s certainly important that MPs take the time to listen to young people of all ages and reflect on what they say. Their voice matters.

I look forward to visits at more schools in our constituency and I wish all our young people well for the final few months of this academic term.


Important votes in Parliament this week

On Tuesday, Labour held a Debate to End the Tory Sewage Scandal.

In our own constituency, analysis of Environment Agency data shows that in 2022, raw sewage was dis charged into Edgbaston’s water for 213 hours, the equivalent of there being a continuous flow of sewage taking place for a staggering 9 consecutive days. I know residents will be as horrified as I am about this. That is why I voted on Tuesday to End the Tory Sewage Scandal.

The next Labour government will build a better Britain and end the Tory sewage scandal by delivering mandatory monitoring on all sewage outlets, introducing automatic fines for discharges, setting ambitious targets for stopping systematic sewage dumping and ensuring that water bosses are held to account for negligence.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Illegal Immigration Bill returned to Parliament.

For four years Tory Ministers have promised that their policies would end channel crossings and speed up the asylum system but instead they have repeatedly made things worse. They have announced gimmicks and chased headlines rather than doing the hard work needed to tackle the problem. This Bill is no different.

I voted with Labour for a new cross-border police unit to tackle gangs, for a new deal with Europe on legal routes and returns, for Councils to be consulted on local asylum accommodation, for the removal and return of terror suspects, to fast-track asylum decisions, and for safe and legal routes for children with family in the UK. Tory MPs voted against all of this.

Our country deserves an asylum system that is compassionate, fair, and consistent. Yet, the Conservatives have broken this system. Only Labour can be trusted to fix it.

Best wishes,

Preet Kaur Gill MP

Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton

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