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Richmond Park News: 15 June 2021

FOUR YEARS SINCE GRENFELL


Four years ago, after the tragic loss of so many lives and homes, the Government promised that they would get to the bottom of how this avoidable devastation could happen in 21st century Britain. They promised to support the Grenfell families and give them everything they needed to rebuiild their lives as best they could. And they promised to hold accountable those who were responsible for causing this loss of life.


Four years later, we have Grenfell families still living in temporary housing. No arrests have been made in connection with the disaster. Thousands of high rise buildings, housing tens of thousands of people, are still cladded in dangerous materials. And hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in the cladding scandal, unable to afford the remediation work needed to bring their homes up to the new fire safety standards and unable to sell them as they are.


In their recent fire safety bill the Government fought off amendments I supported that would have saved leaseholders from financial ruin caused by historic poor regulation and shoddy building work. They have refused to allocate enough funds to make all of the high-rise buildings safe. They have failed to support those who live in buildings below 18m with dangerous cladding.


I am working with many constituents whose lives have been impacted by the cladding scandal. I will keep pushing for justice, both for victims of the fire and for leaseholders trapped in combustible buildings of all heights. The Government owes it to the Grenfell families to keep the promises they made.



ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN DELAYED


While it is right to slow down the road map on ending Covid-19 restrictions in light of the worrying increase in case rates, I am frustrated that this avoidable delay was necessary. We must be quicker to act to protect ourselves in future. Had the Prime Minister put India on the red list sooner we might be days instead of weeks away from the end of restrictions.


The Covid-19 vaccine is now available to everyone over the age of 23. If you are 23 or over and you have not yet had your first dose, you can book your appointment here.


There are also walk-in vaccine clinics happening locally this week:


AstraZeneca walk-in clinics will be held this week for those who are aged 40 or older and haven't had a first dose, or who had their first dose before mid-April:

  • The Stoop, Harlequins' Rugby Stadium in Twickenham:

  • 9am to 7pm, Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 June 2021

  • Hawks Road Health Clinic, Kingston upon Thames:

  • 9am to 7pm, Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 June 2021

Pfizer vaccination clinics will be held for those aged 23-40 years old at Essex House Surgery in Barnes. This is specifically for those who have NOT yet had their first dose. The surgery will be open as below, with no appointment needed:

  • Tuesday 15 June from 7pm – 9pm

  • Wednesday 16 June from 6.30pm – 8.30pm

  • Thursday 17 June from 7pm – 9pm

Additional Pfizer walk-in sessions are being held at Kingston University on Thursday 17 June and Friday 18 June from 1pm-7pm.

Please note that supply of vaccine at the walk-in clinics is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. All clinic leaders apologise in advance if there are queues or if the supply runs out.



SCHOOL VISITS IN THE CONSTITUENCY


Last week I had the pleasure of visiting The Russell School and Strathmore School and seeing The Russell School's new building. It was fascinating to hear how each school has adapted to working through the pandemic. I was, however, concerned to hear of the extent to which learning gaps and children's mental health have both been flagged as serious issues.

Next I visited St Elizabeth's RC Primary School, where I learned about the funding problems the pandemic has caused for them. I also had the pleasure of meeting their year 5 pupils and talking to them about the process of becoming an MP and what being in Parliament was like.




NEXT VIRTUAL COFFEE MORNING TOMORROW


If you would like to join soem of your fellow residents of Richmond Park for a brief update on what's happening in Westminster and the constituency, followed by informal conversation about local and national issues, please join me for my next Virtual Coffee Morning tomorrow at 10:00am. You can sign up for this event, or future coffee mornings, here.