Richmond Park News: 19 May 2022
Updated: May 22
SOARING FOOD PRICES
This week, I appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live’s morning panel to discuss the events of the week. The discussion focused around the cost of living, and particularly on the rising cost of food in supermarkets.
I took this opportunity to highlight the Liberal Democrats' campaign to crack down on supermarkets profiteering from food inflation. Following our calls, the Competition and Markets Authority has opened an investigation into certain businesses.
I also spoke about our 5 Point Plan to tackle soaring food prices. This plan involves boosting food production through further support for farmers, extending free school meals for children for every child in poverty and cutting energy costs for business. Should you wish to see a clip of me on the show, you can do so here, and you can read more about our plan to tackle food prices here.
DIGITAL MARKETS, COMPETITION AND CONSUMERS BILL
On Wednesday, I spoke in a debate on the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, which strengthens the regulatory framework to counter the dominance of tech giants and encourage competition. For too long, smaller start-up companies have been driven out of the market or swallowed up by big tech firms engaging in unfair, anti-competitive market practises. I welcome this legislation and urge the Government not to bend to pressure by big tech to water down the Bill.
I am also pleased to see vital consumer protections strengthened in this Bill. These are long overdue and should benefit many constituents. In particular, this legislation includes measures designed to tackle ‘subscription traps’ and to clamp down on fake reviews.
I would like to see the Government go further to protect small businesses selling online. Unlike large organisations, small and micro-businesses do not have the resources to take action when they are treated badly, for example by Intellectual Property theft. In the debate, I raised the case of my constituent Yasemin who owns an umbrella design company. Yasemin has been victim to copyright infringement by her Chinese manufacturer and has been unable to remove counterfeit links from Amazon. You can watch a clip of my contribution here, or read a full transcript of the debate here.
PARENTAL ALIENATION IN FAMILY COURTS
In family courts, unregulated psychologists are often used to diagnose and give expert witness testimony on ‘parental alienation’ – when one parent has attempted to ‘alienate’ their child from the other. This reliance on assessments made by self-declared experts is placing thousands of vulnerable women and children at risk. Allegations of parental alienation are often made against victims in cases of domestic abuse and coercive control, and parental alienation has no accepted definition or academic basis.
I have spoken about this issue with constituents who have told me just how damaging it can be. Professional associations and international bodies including the United Nations have also highlighted the failings of the current system.