Many residents are concerned about air quality, both locally and nationwide, so I know it will likely be of interest to know that clean air routes are coming to Tooting.
Clean air routes provide an alternative to the busier, more polluted commuter routes for those travelling by foot or by bike.
This great new initiative allows commuters to significantly reduce their exposure to air pollution while also enjoying the beauty of our local green spaces.
Working with St. George’s hospital, the Cross River Partnership (CRP) has developed a route from Tooting Broadway Station to St George's which will offer a cleaner alternative for staff, patients, and visitors alike.
For more information about this clean air routes, as well as others across London, see here.
I recognise that having a vaccine might be unfamiliar for some people and that many have questions about what it's like.
Working as an A&E doctor at St George’s Hospital throughout the pandemic, I was lucky enough to receive the first dose of the vaccine in January. Receiving my second dose this week, I want to show you exactly what happens when you go for your vaccine.
The sooner the vaccine is rolled out, the sooner we can begin to rebuild - together.
While we cannot celebrate in person this year, this International Women's Day I'm celebrating the women who make Tooting such an incredible place to live. I am beyond proud to represent an area with an array of admirable, determined and strong women from so many different backgrounds. Please join me in thanking those mentioned below, and all the women who play an important role in your life.
In 1912, Tooting dressmaker and suffragette Lillian Ball was arrested and sentenced for two months hard labour for her involvement in a window-smashing campaign in March 1912, with around 150 other women in London’s west-end. Being a working-class mother of three, it is said that Lillian received a harsher sentence than other suffragettes from wealthier backgrounds. During her time in prison completing the hard labour sentence, she recounted that she was blackmailed and coerced by senior police officers to give evidence against some of the key leaders of the suffragette movement.
To think of everything Lillian sacrificed for women like myself to put a cross in the ballot box, makes me exceptionally proud to think of all we have achieved in Wandsworth since then. All MPs in Wandsworth are women and we have 10 female councillors in Tooting alone.
I am also exceptionally proud to work for our NHS, where 77% of the workforce is made up of women. It was only in 1892 that The British Medical Association formally accepted female doctors into their register, and in 1948, under Attlee’s NHS reforms, it was required by law that a ‘reasonable proportion’ of medical students were women. My colleagues in St George’s, and beyond, are a true testament to what our health service embodies.
And within our local community, I am proud of the women who have gone above and beyond to aid those in need. In 2016, the first Little Village baby bank was founded in Balham to provide families in need with baby clothes and equipment, such as cots, bottles and sterilisers. In 2020, they helped an estimated 6590 children and have now set up banks across Wandsworth, Camden and Southwark.
Founder Sophia is a busy mum-of-three herself and has inspired many across the country, including royalty! Since 2020, the Duchess of Cambridge has supported the aims of Little Village and recently spoke to service users at the fifth anniversary of the organisation.
I am also proud of the efforts of Tooting Community Kitchen to support those in need of a hot meal or drink. Sahar Beg founded the Tooting Community Kitchen in 2018, inspired by her mum’s love for cooking, and has been providing hot food and drink to those in need ever since. The community owes a great deal to Sahar’s commitment to helping others and I for one am proud to know her and support her efforts.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to two amazing young women in the constituency, whose campaigns have helped many others. Hope Virgo is the founder of the #DumpTheScales campaign, which calls on the Government to review eating disorder guidance delivered by clinicians. She is open about her journey with anorexia and now supports young people, parents and educational staff understand eating disorders in more detail.
Tooting’s own Kate Isaacs founded the ‘Not Your Porn’ campaign after her friend was a victim of revenge porn, and has been fighting against companies profiteering from revenge porn since. For those who do not know what revenge porn is, it is the sharing of private sexual materials with intent to cause distress, typically without consent. Indeed, in 2020, the UK’s specialist revenge porn helpline recorded its busiest ever year with 2700 calls.
Last of all, I would like to send a message to all the women in Tooting. No matter what your background, race, gender or identity, you have the power to be a force for change. Look up to the outstanding role models we have in Tooting and most importantly, be proud of who you are.
For months, Labour have been calling on the Government to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent This increase has been a lifeline for many at a time where families across the country are struggling to make ends meet. In many cases, this extra money is the difference between being able to pay for the gas, electricity, or internet bill. Indeed, a report by the Resolution Foundation think-tank has warned that any cut would see a further 1.2 million people, including 400,000 children, fall into relative poverty.
While the Government never turned up to vote on Labour’s motion at the February Opposition Day debate, it is generally convention that the Government implements successful opposition day votes. We are therefore pleased that the Chancellor decided to extend the £20 uplift for another six months. While disappointing that this is not a permanent measure, I know this will bring much needed reassurance to many.
Given the number of families I know are struggling at the moment, I have included some links below which I hope will be of use:
For mental health issues and support, you can always phone Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this information is useful and, please remember, if you are struggling at the moment - you are not alone.
I am aware of residents’ concerns regarding the planning application at 56 Glenburnie Road, which on granting would see the existing house demolished to make way for nine flats. Whilst not a conservation area, I know many are worried about the occupancy increase and a potential increase in traffic congestion, as well as the removal of the existing family home.
So far, 51 residents have objected to these applications, which were approved by Wandsworth Council on December 4th 2020 with conditions.
On behalf of those Glenburnie Road residents who have expressed their concerns with these proposals, I have written to the Planning Technical Support Team at Wandsworth Council to make clear the strength of feeling on this issue locally.
It is important to me that concerns are properly recognised at this time. Please be assured that I remain in close communication with the local Councillor Annamarie Critchard and will continue to monitor developments on this closely.
Beyond all doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing issues within the private renting sector. I know that many have fallen behind on household bills and rent due to financial pressures caused by many factors such as unemployment and furlough.
Studies show one in four private renters have seen their earnings fall since the start of the pandemic and half a million private tenants are in rent arrears and at risk of eviction.
I want to say that my thoughts are with those experiencing uncertainty. I strongly believe it is important that Ministers drop their proposals to cut UC, end the five-week wait for housing benefit, and suspend the benefit cap. Furthermore, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) should also be increased to cover average rents throughout the pandemic.
In the meantime, the following organisations may be of some assistance if you are experiencing any financial difficulties:
• Shelter’s online webchat and advice pages
• Citizens Advice Wandsworth: 0800 144 8444
• Turn2Us (for issues relating to benefits): 0808 802 2000
here you can read about my campaign activities