Weekly Update – 31 August 2020
Despite the gradual relaxation of the lockdown rules, COVID-19 is continuing to spread and have a terrible impact on the economy. I know that many of my constituents are facing incredibly difficult circumstances as the deal with unemployment or the economic impact of this virus on their place of work. I will always do whatever I can do help anybody who is facing their own challenges and I would encourage you to contact my office should you have any concerns you want to raise.
Asylum Seeker Support
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has failed to protect Asylum Seekers during this pandemic. The treatment of Asylum Seekers under this Government and their hostile environment policy has always been a disgrace, but in the middle of a pandemic, it is dangerous. Not just dangerous for Asylum Seekers but for the general public at large. The issues are wide-ranging. From the conditions in which people are kept in ‘Detention Centres’ or the typical nature of the housing in which Asylum Seekers are placed to the fact that Asylum Seekers have to travel to register a claim in person.
This week I wrote to Priti Patel to voice my concern at her continued harsh treatment of Asylum Seekers and ask her to look at taking a few specific measures that would make a huge difference. Asylum Support is only £37 a week. Not enough to survive on. That amount must be increased. We must also make it possible for Asylum Claims to be made online and lastly, we need to ensure that nobody is housed in conditions in which it is impossible to social distance. I’m not hopeful that this Home Secretary and this Government will radically change their policies, but I will continue to do whatever I can to speak out against the Hostile Environment.
Home Office Claps for Carers then Deports them
A number of constituents raised the case of Mr Anugwom Goodluck with me this week. Mr Goodluck is a carer who has put his life on the line for this country during the pandemic. Now the Home Office are trying to deport him to Nigeria, where he has no family or connections and will face destitution. It is disgraceful that the Government claps for carers one week and deports them the next. I’ve written to the Immigration Minister asking that deportation is stopped immediately. Many people have also signed this petition.
NHS Worker ‘Payrise’ not enough
This week the media celebrated the 2% “pay rise” that the Government is giving to NHS workers. The trouble is, 2% (taken from existing budgets) barely puts a dent in the huge pay cuts which have been inflicted on our NHS workers by this Government over the last 10 years.
The average nurse has lost 20% of their pay since 2010. Some Doctors have lost as much as 30%. Many nurses, porters and cleaners are now having to resort to food banks.
That’s why the damage caused by the Tory’s over the last decade cannot be fixed with a small pay rise. All public sector workers need a new deal and fair pay. I will always use my position as an MP to fight for that.
English Literature GCSE is ignoring Black authors
Only 5 out of 54 English Literature GCSE texts are authored by Black or Ethnic Minority individuals. That figure is not representative of British culture in 2020, or of the integral contribution which has been made by Black authors to English Literature over hundreds of years.
The failure to teach our children about the diverse contribution to English Literature means they are learning a false, distorted and whitewashed version of English Literature. We can and should do better than that, which is why I’m supporting a campaign to diversify AQA’s English Literature GCSE.
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