Richmond Park News: 25 June 2021
DEBATE ON PROPOSED TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
In the House of Commons yesterday I called on the Government not to rush into the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to instead balance our diplomatic interests with our economic interests. Their deal would increase GDP by only 0.017%, yet the Government has hailed it as a of remedy to post-Brexit trade. In reality, it is a drop in the ocean.
Our most important trading relationship – with the EU - is suffering, as are British small businesses. The Government must start paying attention to the challenges our SMEs are facing rather than busying itself with the proposed TPP deal. To watch part of my contribution, click here.
TACTILE PAVING ON BRITISH TRAIN STATION PLATFORMS
There is a concerning lack of urgency when it comes to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) efforts to install tactile paving at our train stations. Network Rail’s stated aim of full provision by 2029 is not good enough and signals a lack of empathy for those living with a disability, who are forced to navigate unsafe transport systems. I therefore used my question during this week’s Transport Orals to ask the DfT to commit to bringing forward the timeline. In response I was told that they’ve asked Network Rail to bring the installation process forward and that they plan on making an announcement once they’ve received a plan. While I welcome the update, I nonetheless believe the situation still calls for more urgency.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), who have long been campaigning on this issue, provided me with some statistics which highlight the scale of the problem:
Up to 15% of people falling from platforms are blind or partially sighted
Around a third of railway platforms in Britain lack warning tactile surfaces
Evidence from America showed that when tactile was introduced, people falling from platforms was reduced by 65% among those with sight loss and 45% for the general public
I shall therefore be continuing to hold the Government to account. It's imperative that we seen action as soon as possible. Watch the exchange here.
TRAVEL INDUSTRY SMALL BUSINESS SURGERY
I am acutely aware of how difficult the present situation is for those in the travel industry. I am therefore looking to host another one of my small business surgeries, this time for firms in the travel sector. The aim would be for me to better understand the challenges people are facing and to establish whether there is anything I can do using my parliamentary resources. If you are a small business owner in the travel industry and feel you would benefit from such a session, please email firstname.lastname@example.org