Richmond Park News: 27 May 2022
On Wednesday, the long-awaited Sue Gray report into parties in Downing Street during lockdown was released. The report confirmed that the Prime Minister broke the law by attending illegal gatherings while millions of other Britons made sacrifices to follow the rules he laid down. I was particularly appalled to read that several of the gatherings in Downing Street involved fighting and disrespect shown to security and cleaning staff. Clearly the culture of personal and social responsibility that existed in communities like Richmond Park throughout the pandemic did not exist in Downing Street. There is only one person who can reasonably be held responsible for that.
I firmly believe that the Prime Minister’s arrogance, dishonesty and poor judgment make him unfit to be our leader, especially at a time of economic crisis. It is for this reason that I remain clear in my position that the Prime Minister should resign. You can hear me discussing the report on BBC Radio London here.
COST OF LIVING CRISIS
Yesterday, the Chancellor announced the further measures he would be taking to combat the cost-of-living crisis. This announcement came after it was revealed on Wednesday that household energy bills would increase by a further £800 in October. I welcome this support for families, which includes:
A £400 energy rebate for every UK household in October.
£650 of direct payments for every household on means-tested benefits, which includes up to 8 million people.
An extra £300 for every pensioner receiving the winter fuel payment
A further £150 for those receiving disability benefits.
This will be partly funded by the introduction of a new 25% ‘windfall tax’ on energy companies. The Liberal Democrats first proposed a windfall tax back in October 2021. If our proposal had been introduced then we could have seen nearly £11billion raised, rather than the £5billion raised by the Government plan. Nevertheless, I am pleased to see the Government has finally listened to us.
I would also liked to have seen an emergency cut to the top rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5%, which would have saved the average UK household around £600 per year. I welcome the introduction of these measures, but believe more can still be done to help address the cost-of-living crisis. You can see me discussing how the crisis is affecting Richmond Park on BBC London here.
HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE UPDATE
On Wednesday, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) issued a prior information notice (PIN) to ‘invite expressions of interest to participate in a short market consultation exercise’ from potential contractors, equity investors and debt providers with construction experience, regarding the pending strengthening works on Hammersmith Bridge.
This information marks a clear indication from LBHF that they are looking for external funding solutions to resolve the dispute over the funding for the strengthening works. This is a welcome step, and shows a strong willingness to make progress in moving towards a full re-opening of the bridge.
However, neither myself, nor the Hammersmith Bridge Task Force were made aware of this proposal prior to publication, and I have therefore urged the group to meet so I can provide residents with full transparency as to what this development entails in its entirety.
If you would like to read the PIN, you can do so here