|The year ended with celebrations, school festivities, carol concerts, and community events in the constituency, which were all great fun, and important to bring us all together. I also enjoyed the Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Christmas lunch and it is great to see so many local businesses in our community.
I went out “on the beat” with the local police, as local policing is often threatened by cuts from the GLA and we have some dedicated officers who have built up years of experience on our streets.
As we returned to Parliament in the New Year, the PM set out her stall with her speech in Lancaster House. You can watch this here:
In Parliament we have been debating the national funding formula for schools. I am fighting for schools in Kensington, and more broadly across London, to retain their funds because of the additional challenges faced by our pupils and schools. The current funding arrangements have allowed us to develop good and outstanding schools in Kensington, and it is vital that this support continues.
Plans for the Carnival come around again and Cllr. Nick Paget-Brown (Leader of RBKC), Cllr. Nickie Aiken (the new Leader of Westminster Council) and Tony Devenish (our West Central GLA member), all met the Deputy Mayor of Policing (Sophie Linden) to understand how the Mayor of London’s review of Carnival is progressing. Sophie Linden explained that the Carnival organisers were also looking at how they could help fund the carnival, and what support and organisation they would need. The GLA report states that ‘Overcrowding poses a significant safety risk, with the Met Police warning of a potentially “catastrophic public safety incident” which could result in loss of life’ – there is a clear impetus for change. You can read their report here.
Local residents associations across the UK have been urged to prepare local Neighbourhood Plans – the only way of tackling the housing crisis is to build more homes, but where? This is why local residents associations have been asked to work with Councils to try and address this issue. In London of course the real issue is affordability, and we have been urging the Minister to look at all the various options on home ownership, rental and part buy options to try and increase supply.
With regards to health, I have been speaking to the Ministerial team about the closure of local NHS practices and also the NHS England proposals to close the Brompton Hospital. We have excellent hospitals locally and they all work together to provide excellent care. If you would like to help the campaign for the Brompton please contact Jo Thomas (J.Thomas@rbht.nhs.uk), or visit their website here (CHD Review).
In January I visited Old Oak Common as there is a huge investment going into this Mayoral Development area, offering jobs and housing over the next 20 – 30 years. I am hoping that we can achieve more permeability with North Kensington so as to benefit our residents.
In the House I have been asking questions on pedicabs and how we can outlaw them; and working to limit the disruption caused locally by Airbnb, which has been associated with increased rubbish and even criminal activity. We have questioned Ministers on the protection of children in residential care in the new Children and Social Work Bill, and I thank local residents who have helped bring to light issues that concern them, so that we can raise questions with Ministers to affect change in government policy.
I have served on a Bill Committee on Cultural Heritage and tried to make sure that we respect the practicalities of antiquities dealers who are trading in this field.
Last week we organised a consultation event on the DWP’s Work, Health and Disability Green Paper. This was a tri-borough event with the DWP to make sure that our local views can be fed into this new legislation.
The Science and Technology committee meets weekly and our current inquiries include :
Looking ahead, I want to draw your attention to events happening locally:
Age UK Kensington and Chelsea
The BME Carers and Families Forum
Constituency work – We are in the constituency every week, so if we cannot help you via the phone or on email, and you need to meet up with the team, just ring for an appointment. We go to different parts of the constituency each week, so that you hopefully will not have far to travel. We try and deal with residents problems as they occur – please write to us, or email us, but if you need to go through something in greater detail we would be happy to meet up.
Meet your MP sessions continue to be very busy and I am usually assisted by the local Councillors as often the matters brought to my attention will be dealt with by the Council. I have no power of direction, so I can only support your local Councillors work.
Your team in Parliament:
Many thanks again for all your support.
‘Walk the Met’ with local police officers
Introducing the Antique Trade Gazette’s seminar on the International Trade of Endangered Species
‘Putting the Heart into Kensington’ at St Mary Abbots Parish Church
Supporting World Cancer Day in Parliament