National Insurance Hike
I recently spoke in an Opposition Day Debate on the Tories’ planned National Insurance hike. On the doorstep, many people in Luton South have been telling me that they are already struggling with the cost of living due to spiralling inflation and the huge energy bill increases set for April. This reckless tax hike will heap further pressure on families, forcing many into financial hardship. This is the wrong tax increase at the wrong time. Labour is calling for the Chancellor to halt his unfair tax hike. The British public deserve a government that will step up to tackle the crisis, not deepen it.
Refugees in Luton
Refugees will always be welcome in Luton, last summer our community stepped up to help Afghan refugees and is stepping up again to help the people of Ukraine. Following the Government’s announcement regarding the housing of Ukrainian refugees, I pressed the Government to play it’s part in supporting local authorities to help refugees. Many of the Afghan refugees who arrived last summer are still being housed in temporary hotel accommodation and there is already significant pressure on our local housing system. The Government must offer support for moving refugees in suitable long-term housing.
You can watch my full question below.
St Patrick’s Day Celebrations
After a pandemic-enforced break, I was delighted to be able to attend the St Patrick’s Day parade in Luton town centre with my Luton North colleague Sarah Owen MP. It was wonderful to celebrate Luton’s proud Irish heritage and all the community groups who make it happen.
The next day I attended the Labour Party Irish Society’s St Patrick’s Day reception alongside Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer, General Secretary of the TUC Frances O’Grady and The Irish Ambassador to the UK. It was also great to hear from Noelette Hanley CEO of the Luton Irish Forum who spoke about the community-based support offered by the Luton Irish Forum in Luton.
International Women’s Day
It’s a privilege to be the 539th woman to have been sworn in as a Member of Parliament, representing my home town! While a record number of female MPs (35%) sit on the green benches in the House of Commons, with over half of the Parliamentary Labour Party being women, there is still more work to be done in both Parliament and other society to close the gender gap.
Meeting with Luton Town FC
With Luton Town FC having a fantastic season this year, it was great to meet with CEO Gary Sweet to discuss the exciting Power Court redevelopment and what the future holds for the club. I have always been a strong supporter of the new stadium and look forward to the club releasing its detailed plans for the site in the near future.
We also discussed Tracey Crouch MP’s Fan-Led Review of Football Governance. The review aims to “explore ways of improving the governance, ownership and financial sustainability of clubs in English football” and “engage extensively with fans to ensure any recommendations are led by fans’ experience and interests.” You can find more about the review here and the Football Supporters Federation view on it here.
STEM Community Day
To mark the start of British Science Week I visited the University of Bedfordshire’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community day. I met two forensic science undergraduates who told me how important it was to have the opportunity to learn using industry-standard equipment. Having the necessary equipment is an important part of encouraging people into STEM subjects but ensuring pathways exist into university is also important. This is why I have repeatedly called on the Government to reverse its decision to defund BTECs which offer an important route into STEM for women and ethnic minorities.