This week we saw the Prime Minister forced to abandon her unfunded tax cut for the richest one per cent. While Liz Truss said in her speech to the Conservative Party Conference that she’s listening, it’s clear that the Prime Minister and her Chancellor are completely out of touch, making it up as they go along, and it simply isn’t good enough.
This U-turn comes too late for families who will now have to pay higher mortgages and higher prices for years to come. For example, in Birmingham an average household coming out of a 2.25% fixed raise increasing to 6% will pay more than £4000 in mortgage payments per year. With energy costs dramatically rising and the cost of living rising, this is unaffordable for so many.
To make things even worse, we have seen National Grid release a report this week which announced the likelihood of widespread blackouts this Winter. This just shows our vulnerability as a country and the direct consequence of a decade of failed Conservative energy policy.
This Budget needs reversing now. That’s why Labour called for an urgent recall of Parliament. As the party of fiscal responsibility and social justice, it will come to the Labour Party to repair the damage this Tory Government has done.
Only Labour can deliver lower energy bills and energy security for the UK, with our plans for clean power by 2030 and to launch GB Energy, a publicly-owned, clean energy company, to make Britain an energy independent superpower.
Standing up for residents against fracking
Many of my constituents got in touch with me to tell how strongly they feel about fracking and that they do not support it. I can tell you plainly, the data and research doesn’t add up, and I do not support it.
We now have an energy policy run for big fossil fuel interests and not for the British people. We’ve now seen even more concerning reports that Ministers are actively examining ways to evade legal, environmental and public scrutiny of new oil and gas projects including fracking. Fracking though, is a dangerous fantasy. It would do nothing to cut energy bills, it costs far more than renewables & it's unsafe.
That is why I have written to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, urging him to reconsider the Government's position on this.
Calling for reliable public transport for our constituency
It is crucial that we have reliable public transport in our constituency, across Birmingham and connecting us to the rest of the country. However, I am concerned by the level of service being provided by National Express West Midlands on our bus service. I wrote to their Chief Executive, Tom Stables, to ask serious questions about the standard of service they have on offer.
Frustrated residents have told me of their dismay with the buses and some have even found alternative means of transportation because they can no longer justify the cost of the monthly bus ticket when weighing up the reliability of service. This isn’t right. National Express are responsible for a critical public service and when buses do not turn up, or are frequently late, people’s lives are severely impacted. That is why I am looking to meet with them to see that our bus services are urgently restored to a higher level of service.
I was further dismayed this week to see that despite train operator Avanti West Coast providing an inadequate service, their contract has been renewed by Government. This is the route that connects Birmingham to London, Manchester and Glasgow. This failing operator has caused travel misery. Yet, the Government's answer is to hand over millions more in taxpayers' cash and consign passengers to another six months of chaos. Simply put, it is a reward for abject failure, and a slap in the face for passengers.
This chaotic short-term decision making is precisely what has held back long-term planning on the rail network. That's why I’m proud that as announced at Labour’s annual conference, a Labour Government will bring our railways into public ownership as contracts expire.
Visiting St Germain’s Church
After hosting my monthly advice surgery at St Germain’s Church in North Edgbaston, I was delighted to meet with volunteers who were hard at work supporting the weekly food bank collection and café. While it is disgraceful that in a country with an economy like ours, so many rely on the support of foodbanks, it was lovely to see the community pulling together to take care of one another.
I was also extremely impressed to see that they also offer a digital skills training service. With more and more businesses and organisations turning to online only services, it is vital that everyone is provided with opportunities like these so that no one is left behind.
If you would like more information on these services, please contact them on 0121 429 3431.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton