Richmond Park News: 26th August 2022
Congratulations to everyone who received their GCSE results this week. Students, teachers, parents, and guardians should all feel incredibly proud of the work they have done and the support they have provided over the last three years. Well done to you all, I hope you have an excellent bank holiday weekend!
As we come to the end of the summer recess and MPs get ready to return to Westminster, I thought I would take this opportunity to look back at 2022 so far and reflect on the key challenges I have been addressing in Parliament this year.
COST OF LIVING CRISIS
Today, Ofcom announced that the energy price cap would rise by 80%, in a move that will hurt millions of households already struggling to get by. I understand this winter will be difficult for many, and I therefore wanted to reiterate that if I can assist in the coming months, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In February, I spoke in Parliament to press the need for early and decisive action to lower the cost of energy bills. In my speech, which you can see here, I pressed the Government to introduce a Windfall Tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies, in addition to extending the Winter Fuel Allowance and the Warm Homes Grant. Throughout the year, I have continued to work with my Liberal Democrat colleagues to develop proposals which would put money back in the pockets of ordinary families. These policies, which range from a cut to the top rate of VAT from 20 per cent to 17.5 per cent, in addition to our most recent proposal to cancel the upcoming rise in the energy price cap, provide real solutions to this crisis, and I have continued to urge the Government for their immediate introduction. Should you wish to see a clip of me discussing these proposals in more detail, you can do so here.
In addition to these, I have also used my Parliamentary time to advocate for a renewed emphasis on using green energy. In June, I introduced the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings Bill in the Commons. This legislation would enshrine into law set targets for domestic properties to have a minimum EPC C energy ratings, thereby giving new impetus to significantly improve the energy efficiency of our homes, saving families money and the planet from further emissions. The Second Reading of the Bill will be taking place in March 2023, and I hope this Bill will be given adequate time for debate. You can see a clip of me presenting the Bill here, and I will keep constituents informed of its progress in advance of its further stages.
I wanted to conclude by reassuring constituents that both in my capacity as the local MP, but also in my role as the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Treasury and Business, I will continue to fight to propose policy which will mitigate the worst effects of this crisis.
It has now been six months since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The integrity and resolve of the Ukrainian people has been an inspiration to us all and I know many constituents are deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine.
In Parliament, I have contributed to debates to raise issues with the UK’s visa application process for Ukrainian refugees. You can see a clip of one such contribution here. You can also read the full transcript of my speech here. My team have been working tirelessly to support constituents who are hosting Ukrainian refugees, and also to assist in resolving any issues that Ukrainian arrivals may experience. To date, my office has handled over 100 pieces of casework regarding Ukrainian visa applications. If you require any such assistance, please contact me with the details here.
Outside of Parliament, I have been in regular contact with the council and organisations trying to support refugees fleeing the conflict zone, including Refugees Welcome in Richmond. Such organisations also do vital work to support refugees from conflict zones right across the world, such as Syria and Afghanistan. I am aware that long delays to processing times for asylum applications are causing significant distress, and that there also continue to be many issues with the UK’s scheme to relocate and resettle Afghan nationals. I will continue to work with colleagues to raise these issues in Parliament. I have also been very disappointed to see the Government push through hostile immigration policies in the Nationality and Borders Bill, and in pursuing their policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. I have spoken out against these measures in Parliament and I will continue to oppose any such erosions of human rights commitments.