Weekly Update – Friday 1st April 2022
This week we heard the sad news that Ikea proposes that their Tottenham store (which falls just inside Edmonton’s constituency boundaries) will be closed later this year. This will of course be an incredibly worrying and uncertain time for workers above all and I have been receiving briefings on the situation over the last few days. Ikea have provided reassurances that as many workers as possible will be supported and offered other jobs in vacancies in stores across London, and that elected workers representatives and the recognised union Usdaw will be closely involved and represented in the consultation process. I will be keeping a close eye on this process and will make sure to hold Ikea to these promises.
Not only is the store one of the major employers in the area but it is also one of the key retail destinations in the whole of North London and I know it will be missed by so many. I have heard a lot of shock locally at this decision as the store is so popular. Ikea claim they are moving toward high-street type stores such as the proposed store at Oxford Circus and away from the warehouse-store model due to changing shopping behaviours. Moving forwards, it is crucial that the space vacated by Ikea in Edmonton is not left derelict and that plans are formulated soon for its future use, particular with its proximity to the important new Meridian Water development.
Last Friday afternoon I was pleased to convene a meeting between Chickenshed, the inclusive theatre company based in Southgate, and local organisations to discuss how they can work together to benefit from Chickenshed’s extensive outreach work. These groups included Samafal Families Association, the community interest company Direct Community Support and Starks Field Primary School. There was a lot of interest in working closely with Chickenshed.
Chickenshed carries out a wide range of tailored outreach work, such as anti-gang violence, anti-bullying workshops for primary school children as well as outreach projects tackling issues such as domestic violence, social cohesion and mental wellbeing. They carry out a wide variety of work across Enfield and I’m looking forward to hearing about all the great projects happening in Edmonton going forward.
Question on the COVID-19 Public Inquiry
This week I asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Ellis MP when the COVID-19 Public Inquiry will be formally established. Due to the constant delaying tactics of the Government, I believe the inquiry is already long overdue and crucial evidence has already been lost, such as the Prime Minister’s mobile phone messages prior to April 2021. These have been lost as Boris Johnson was forced to change mobile phones after it was revealed his number had been freely available on the internet for fifteen years.
It’s essential that we keep up the pressure and attention on this issue as we all need answers about the Government’s incredibly flawed response to the pandemic, and bereaved families deserve to understand as fully as possible the failings that have led, and continues to lead, to loved ones passing away. We know that inquiries often drag on for years on end while evidence is examined and witnesses questioned, and this will be no exception. I have no doubt that the Government has tried to delay the beginning of the inquiry by as long as possible, to maximise the chance that most of the main decision makers will have long since left Government by the time the final findings of the inquiry are released.
Health and Care Bill
This week in the House of Commons the passage of the Health and Care Bill through the house continued, with voting on a series of Lords amendments to the bill taking place. Overall, I believe this is a hugely concerning bill which will only allow private companies increased access to the NHS. I supported a number of amendments to the bill which were sadly defeated, such as one which would have forced the Government to publish independently verified assessment of health and care workforce requirements, both current and future, to increase transparency of staffing needs.
However, I proudly supported an amendment, which was passed, to make permanent the provision of telemedical abortion care. This enables women to take the two tablets required to end a pregnancy in the privacy of their own home within the first ten weeks of pregnancy. This form of abortion care was introduced in March 2020, and it was an important victory for women’s rights that this measure has not been reversed.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest update. If you have any issues that you would like to raise directly with me then please do email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to help whenever possible.
Kate Osamor MP