This week in Parliament, Ian has been representing Wansbeck in Westminster, championing constituents inside and outside of the debate chamber. Events in Westminster have been in the headlines, and Ian and the Labour Party have been standing up for ordinary people in Wansbeck and beyond.
Parliament has once again been full of MPs returning after the summer recess. Unfortunately, we return to a government that remains obsessed with reversing the progress that people have spent their lives campaigning for, while finding new ways to reinforce inequality.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Jeremy Corbyn chose to focus on one of the issues causing discomfort and worry to many people, a problem that will affect the young and the worst off in particular; the Tory housing crisis. Labour and Jeremy have been clear; we need more social housing, more housing for first time buyers or we face more and more families with less secure homes.
That we pay £9.3 billion to private landlords through housing benefit should be a source of national embarrassment. It inflates the welfare benefits bill, allows the right wing press to demonise families in need, while enriching private landlords. Jeremy is absolutely right in calling for minimum standards and proper rights for tenants; everyone has the right to a safe, secure home.
Unfortunately, I was unable to ask the Prime Minister about her personal commitment to an independent inquiry into the events at Orgreave in 1984. I’ve often spoken about the need to establish an inquiry into not only Orgreave but the deployment by the state of the police and security service against whole communities. I will continue to push for an independent inquiry into Orgreave, but that cannot be the end of it. It must simply be the first step.
Yesterday brought more sad news about the ugly social legacy of the Cameron government, Zero Hours contracts. They’ve become emblematic of the kind of insecurity that families are having to cope with. The news that there has been a 21% rise in people employed in this way is a terrible indictment on our society. We need secure jobs and secure homes. Theresa May is building a country that will give us the exact opposite.
My colleague Louise Haigh has been one of many MPs to raise the issue of Concentrix, tabling a number of Parliamentary Questions. It’s unacceptable that many people across the country are being caused deep distress by organisational and communicational failures. I look forward to adding my voice to the growing number of MPs who want to see this issue resolved urgently.
I voted with the Labour whip on the Finance Bill. Fundamentally, it gives tax cuts to the wealthiest while doing nothing for those struggling to get by. When our country is crying out for investment; in schools, hospitals, roads, housing and local government, for the government to ignore the opportunity to invest is at best irresponsible and at worst incompetent.
Not content with bringing in tax cuts for the wealthiest, the Tories have decided to engage in a festival of bring-backery. Grammar schools, a system that writes off scores of eleven year old children, are to be the new flagship policy of the May era. A party that claims to govern for one nation is seeking to quite literally divide children at an early age. It has nothing to do with excellence and is only supported by the sepia tinged memories of the Tory back benches. Labour will always oppose a return to such a retrograde policy that will not only cause a generation to be written off, but cause lasting social division.
Are you a constituent experiencing difficulty or do you have a cause you wish to raise? You can email email@example.com, call 01670852494 or write to Ian Lavery MP, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8QZ