It was great to bring together local charities, faith leaders, and leader of Wandsworth Council, Simon Hogg who are all working tirelessly to support local families through the cost-of-living crisis.
I have already been contacted by countless Tooting residents who are concerned about how they are going to pay their bills and put food on the table this winter, and I fear this will only get worse as we move further into the winter months. With so many households already feeling the squeeze, it’s crucial that we work together to tackle poverty.
Representatives from Earlsfield and Wandsworth foodbanks as well as Dons Local Action Group and Little Village Tooting told me that they are seeing unprecedented demand at present, as more and more of those who were just-about-managing become unable to afford the basics.
All the organisations represented spoke of the added difficulties the rise in energy prices have brought. The hike in energy prices has meant that even the local charities who are there to address the crisis are struggling to pay their bills, and this means they are less able to help those in need. This comes at the worst possible time, when demand is at it’s highest level for decades.
Everyone at the event had numerous stories of people facing hardship, people in overcrowded accommodation, people not being able to put food on the table or buy school uniforms for their children. Many people are also concerned about how they will meet the additional cost of christmas.
Despite heartbreaking stories, it was uplifting to see so many people who donate their time, energy and money into making things better for people in our community. I am always amazed by the generosity of people in Tooting. However, in Britain in 2022 these organisations and charitable schemes shouldn’t have to exist. It is imperative that the Government take action immediately to support people through the months ahead.
It was great to attend and speak at the annual Balham and Tooting Community Association’s multi-faith peace ceremony in Tooting Broadway.
Local people of all faiths and none gathered to celebrate all that unites us. We heard prayers and moving speeches from leaders of six different faiths and school students. I love representing a community where so many faiths are represented. People of all faiths and none live and work alongside each other in our community and I was honoured to be part of such a joyous occasion that celebrates our diversity and our commitment to common values of tolerance and understanding.
Leaders from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities spoke and prayed in their own traditions. Senior school pupils from Al Risalah Girls Secondary School spoke of what their faith means to them and their hopes for peace.
This event has taken place in Tooting for many years now and it’s always an inspiring and uplifting event that I look forward to attending.
It’s always fantastic to see our community come together. Thank you to all who attending and to those who worked so hard to make this event a success.
I've written to the Chief Executive of Bellway on behalf of residents at Fitzgerald and Fleming Houses on St George's Grove, many of whom have been left in limbo, unable to sell or re-mortgage their properties due to the flammable cladding that was installed by Bellway, when the houses were built.
In May, London Fire Brigade instituted a waking watch on both of the buildings due to fire risk, which residents were forced to pay for themselves. I have been working alongside Bellway resident directors in good faith for months but have been met with delay and excuses while their properties remain without a suitable facade.
My position is clear: Developers must fund remediations works on these properties and the replacement of the cladding to the new required standard. Leaseholders cannot be held liable for these costs.
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An undercover joint investigation by Sky News and The Independent has raised serious concerns about the safety of patients at inpatient settings ran by the Huntercombe Group.
This is the third investigation into abuse in secure inpatient mental health settings, in four weeks. The system is broken.
I previously wrote to Therese Coffey, the previous Health Secretary, to raise my concerns about other similar investigations highlighting allegations of abuse, by Channel 4 Dispatches and BBC Panorama, but did not receive a response. The Government has been silent over these allegations and for weeks there wasn’t even a functioning Mental Health Minister.
Patients, and their families, deserve answers. They deserve dignity, respect and access to high quality treatment, which is why I have called for a rapid review into mental health services and the way patients are treated in inpatient settings.
See my statement in Parliament here: