Today I spoke in a House of Commons debate, responding to a statement from the Business Secretary about the Government's proposed new body to strengthen workers' rights. I strongly support enhancing protections and asked Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Paul Scully to confirm that this new body would be adequately funded to accomplish its goals.
I also participated in a Westminster Hall debate yesterday about strengthening legal protections for retail workers. I am keen to support retail workers, who played such a heroic role in getting us through the pandemic. You can hear my views on why it is so important to protect them in a clip from my Westminster Hall speech here.
I also spoke at Oral Questions for the Home Office in the House Chamber today. I took the opportunity to bring up a matter of concern for several of my constituents with Chris Philip, Undersecretary for Immigration and Compliance. A number of my constituents received an ambiguous letter from the Home Office recently suggesting their existing immigration rights were at risk. I was relieved to hear that his assurance that this was not the case, although it would be preferable if the Home Office were clearer in their communications. You can see my question and the Undersecretary's response here.
PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL GP AND NHS RECORDS FROM COMMERCIAL SALE
Many of my constituents will not be aware that the Government is planning to copy all of the health records held on everyone in the UK on July 1, pseudonymise it, and make the data available to outside organisations, including private companies, for purposes other than your direct medical care.
In order to stop your records being included in this, you need to take steps to opt out before June 23. Please be aware that if you do not opt out before this deadline it will be too late to remove yourself from the data collection. If you opt out after the deadline, your future data will not be shared, but your existing data will already be included.
For GP data, your can hand this form to your GP to cover your entire family;
For all other health data, such as hospital records, each person aged over 13 must fill in a separate form online for themselves. For dependents under 13, you must print out and email or post this form back to NHS Digital.
More detailed instructions can be found at https://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out
I am appalled that the Government has not made their plans more widely known to those whose data will be copied. I urge you to share this information with others who might want to opt out of it.
We Liberal Democrats strongly support the right of the individual to choose whether to share their data or not. We have written to Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, calling on him to push back the implementation date for the data collection and launch a full public information campaign that clearly lays out what data is being collected, how it will be used and how patients can opt out of this process should they wish to. We also urge him to redouble his efforts to ensure the safety and anonymity of the data.
This week, I would like to spotlight The Victoria Foundation, a medical charity based in Richmond, which provides life enhancing medical support to those in need in the boroughs of Richmond and Kingston. Grants are available for medical students facing a financial disadvantage, supporting them throughout their studies as they aim to become junior doctors in the NHS.
A young Richmond teenager recently received a grant from TVF for a specialist buggy. The teen’s mother and family friend walked 5k on 4th June from Surbiton to Kingston to raise funds so that The Victoria Foundation can continue helping young people.
If you would like to donate to this cause, please visit: www.gofund.me/b431abe6
If you know of any individuals, businesses, or organisations that you would like to spotlight, please email your recommendations to Charlotte.Weir@Parliament.uk. I look forward to reading your recommendations.
JOIN ME FOR A VIRTUAL COFFEE MORNING
My next Virtual Coffee Morning will be on Wednesday June 16 at 10:00. If you would like to join myself and some of your fellow constituents for a short update on what I am doing as your MP and informal conversation about national and local issues, please sign up here.
HOMESTART CHEER FOR CHILDREN CAMPAIGN
Homestart has just launched a donation matching campaign called Cheer for Children. Funds donated during this week will be doubled.
Their Cheer for Children campaign is an acknowledgement of just how challenging the last year has been for so many children and their families. It’s an applause for how they have shown courage, strength and resilience and highlights how Home-Start cheers families on through their challenging times.
The pandemic hasn’t impacted all children equally. Across the three boroughs they support, children from vulnerable families who face isolation, loneliness, poor mental health and financial hardship have suffered the most. By helping Homestart you can enable them to keep cheering for children and their families across Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow.
More details can be found here.
TALK RICHMOND PODCAST ON THE VACCINE AND VARIANTS
Richmond's Director of Public Health, Shannon Katiyo joins Talk Richmond to talk about the new coronavirus variant now spreading across the UK, including its impact on vaccine appointments and what the situation is in Richmond upon Thames. Listen now.
TELL THE COUNCIL WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR HIGH STREET
All residents and businesses are invited to join their local virtual engagement event. The Council will be asking attendees to share their ideas for their local high streets and town centres, to help generate the Council’s future plans. Attendees will also be able to discuss local issues with their local councillors. Register now.
PETITION TO REOPEN RICHMOND POLICE STATION
A Richmond resident who chairs the North Richmond Police Liaison Group has started a Change.org petition calling on the Mayor of London to reinstate Richmond police station. I am deeply concerned about local crime in the area and have frequent discussions with the Southwest Borough Command Unit commander about increasing police presence in the constituency. Local residents who want to support this call can access the petition here.
RAINBOW FLAG FOR PRIDE MONTH
Richmond Council has raised the rainbow flag outside the Civic Centre in Twickenham, to show solidarity with LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated annually in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in the United States, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people around the world. A proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community in the borough, the Council is again marking the celebration of diversity by raising the rainbow flag for the whole of June.
TUDOR DRIVE LIBRARY CELEBRATION
On 26 June it will be 70 years since Tudor Library first opened its doors to the public. Tudor Library Friends invite you to celebrate on Saturday, 26 June 11am–1pm, with coffee, tea, cakes, books from its seven decades and an exhibition showcasing the history of the library.
KINGSTON'S NEW CYCLE HUB IS OPEN
The Kingston Station Cycle Hub is now open to the public, providing a secure facility for the storage of hundreds of bikes. Cycle parking at the Hub is completely free and monitored by extensive CCTV. Bike maintenance and repair facilities will also be provided on site.
Other works undertaken around Kingston station include a new segregated pedestrian and cycle link between Kingston Station and Skerne Road, and an upgraded station forecourt with new crossings and a two-way cycle lane on Richmond Road.