I was shocked to discover that companies are increasing their charges on materials and work for re-cladding tower blocks after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. As reported in the Evening Standard, the price of work on a block in Southfields increased almost £5 million after Grenfell, and a second Wandsworth council block is predicted to cost much more than initial estimates at almost £7 million more.
It is horrific that firms are doubling the price to re-clad blocks covered in flammable cladding. They are holding councils to ransom. Dozens of people lost their lives in an horrific event because profits were put before people — and now some companies seek to profiteer further. They should honestly be ashamed of themselves.
If the past year was anything to go by, we have so much to expect from 2018. It promises to be a year of surprises and of the unexpected.
I wanted to reflect on some of 2017’s biggest moments and share some of the incredible work we achieved together. So here are 10 things we did together, in Tooting and beyond:
1. Fighting a hard Brexit:
I voted against triggering Article 50, standing up for Tooting and everyone who voted to remain here. We managed to defeat the Government a few weeks ago, forcing them to give Parliament a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal. If the final deal isn’t good enough - I won’t support it.
2. Christmas homelessness:
2,500 Wandsworth children woke up homeless on Christmas Day. I raised this with Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions recently but she refused to accept that it was a problem. Read more here.
3. Standing up for our schools:
Every child deserves the right to the very best education - this is why I have been fighting against school cuts. Schools are already having to make cuts as budgets are stretched - we’ve even heard of children having to clean their classrooms.
Millions of pounds will be cut from school budgets in Wandsworth over the next few years. In May, we have local elections in Wandsworth - you can stop the cuts by voting Labour.
4. Helping local people:
In 2017, 5,419 people came to me for help with issues or questions and I wrote a total of 8,312 related responses. Biggest issues included: animal cruelty, housing, Brexit and issues with changes to the benefits system.
5. Rohingya crisis:
When I visited refugee camps on the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh, I heard stories of despicable suffering from the Rohingya people who had fled Myanmar. We can’t be bystanders to a genocide and, along with thousands of others, I called on this Government to act.
6. England tickets for schoolchildren:
At an England football match in the autumn, there were 28,000 empty seats in Wembley. I saw that as 28,000 missed opportunities. Along with 128 MPs, I called on the FA to give spare tickets to schoolchildren across the country. The FA acted and it was great to see so many children attend their next game, including 150 children from Ravenstone Primary School.
7. Championing local women:
I’ve held a series of events for local Tooting women, whether they help out in the community as volunteers, run businesses or are doing great things elsewhere - I want to champion their voices. I was delighted to invite 50 local women to Parliament for International Women’s Day - please get in touch if you want to get involved in 2018.
8. Election result:
One of my proudest moments was being re-elected as the Tooting MP - 34,500 people voted for me. If you were one of them - thank you! If you didn’t vote for me, please know that I want to represent everyone, so do not hesitate to get in touch or ask me any questions.
9. Standing up for St George’s Hospital:
Last Christmas, over the Easter Bank Holiday and during the summer break - I helped out at St George’s Hospital, working as an A&E Doctor. The staff are absolutely fantastic and do incredible work under extreme circumstances. Read about one of my shifts here.
10. Tooting, united in hope:
The summer saw some truly awful attacks on our country as well as a rise in hate crime. Tooting is a fantastic local community and I was proud to hold a peace vigil outside Tooting Broadway Station. We were joined by hundreds of people from the local community as well as many faith leaders. This is the Tooting I love, thank you.