Weekly Update – Friday 29 April 2022
The Government isn’t interested in helping ordinary people
I had the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister a question this week during Prime Minister’s Question time. Every day I see first-hand how many people across Edmonton are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. The cost of buying even the essential items continues to rise while the Government sits on its hands. It’s been left to many supermarkets to lower their prices to help many struggling customers. But the Government needs to act, so I asked the Prime Minister what this Government will do to help people impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
But the truth is, this Government is simply unwilling to help ordinary people. While governments across Europe have stepped in to freeze energy prices, increase benefits and lower taxes, the tories have raised taxes, cut benefits and allowed energy costs to spiral out of control.
Government pushes through raft of dangerous legislation
This week the Police, Crime, Courts & Sentencing Bill became law. I voted against it. This is a dangerous Bill, now an act of law, that severely curtails our right to protest and does nothing to make us safer. This Bill should have taken serious action to tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls. Instead, it criminalises singing too loudly in the street and introduces tougher sentences for damaging statues than for rape.
Sadly, this week the cruel Nationality and Borders Bill also became law. I voted and spoke against it on many occasions. This Act criminalises refugees, when we should be protecting them.
Central to the International Refugee Convention is that the right to claim asylum isn’t affected by the method of arrival in a country. Anybody has a right to claim asylum in a place of safety, after being forced from their home due to a threat of violence or persecution.
However, this act breaks that convention and criminalises all but a lucky few who are able to make it to the UK via “designated routes”. The result will be many more people without recourse to public funds, facing the threat of deportation and who are unable to become active members of society.
Lastly, the Elections Bill was also given royal assent this week. The Election Bill, now the Elections Act, will make it harder for people to vote. Specifically, it targets those communities who are far more likely to vote Labour than Tory. This is nothing less than a full-frontal attack on our democracy and one straight out of the Trump playbook.
Voter Fraud is almost non-existence in the UK. Yet this legislation, which means voters will have to show photo ID to vote, will prevent thousands of voters from taking part in elections because they don’t have access to a photo ID. That of course, is exactly the outcome the Tories want. The lower the turnout in elections, the better the Conservative party does.
The Home Office is a broken department. For years, vulnerable refugees have been left in limbo for sometimes more than a decade as they face lengthy delays waiting to hear if they have been granted asylum.
But in recent months I know that many of my constituents who have been applying for passport renewals have also been experiencing delays, often waiting for months and months to hear back. After my constituents have been unable to go on holiday for years, I know how important it is to get away and have a break. In other cases, I know of families who desperately need their passport so that they can travel to see loved ones who are ill.
The Government has pointed to the flood in passport applications after travel restrictions began to ease, however this should have been anticipated. The fact is that the Home Office simply doesn’t have the staffing numbers required to provide an adequate service. MPs offices see that first-hand on a daily basis.
Keeping refugees in limbo for years on end is a key part of the hostile environment policy to which this government is committed. The only problem for the Government is that this policy is now impacting those who are not ordinarily subjected to the Home Office’s cruelty.
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