It is incredible to see the work being done in Wandsworth Town Hall by the new Labour council. Recently, it was announced that free school meals would be available during school holidays for eligible children, while parents of pupils on free school meals will also have access to uniform vouchers to help cover this expense. With the Tory cost-of-living crisis, this is a hugely beneficial scheme for hard-working families across the borough.
This is the difference that Labour makes in power and I look forward to continued close cooperation with the new council administration in order to make our communities even better places to live. For further details, see here.
Today, Justin Madders MP and I met with the Retail trade union Usdaw and a group of retail workers in Westminster to talk about how the cost-of-living crisis, rising violence and abuse in stores, and the impact of Christmas holiday trade is affecting the mental health of customers and colleagues.
Far too many people are facing this Christmas period worried about how to provide for their families. With so many Usdaw members having their mental health impacted as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and increased levels of abuse in the workplace, it is deeply important that we, as politicians, take the time to listen.
Recently, I visited the fantastic team at Love Triangle, a brilliant pizza restaurant situated between Balham and Tooting Bec.
They’ve been selling pizza to the community for two and a half years now, but things are getting increasingly difficult.
The cost-of-living crisis is hitting small businesses hard, with customers having less money to spend to things such as meals out, and the cost of energy and supplies rising astronomically.
Will, who owns Love Triangle, told me that despite trying many different creative ways to stay afloat, things are only getting more difficult. Love Triangle have tried different opening times, and an array of different promotions and deals to help combat the challenges, but it is still far from easy, just to keep their head above water.
The rising cost of food and energy, coupled with the reduction in disposable income for many is proving a difficult picture to navigate.
Speaking to Will, and other business owners in our community, one message stands out. It is crucial to support local businesses where you can, or we risk losing more of our fantastic local businesses from Tooting, and across the country.
Watch my visit to Love Triangle here:
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.
The Prime Minister has been forced to abandon her unfunded tax cut for the 1% of highest earners.
This Government U-turn is too late for the families who will pay higher mortgages for years to come. It will also do nothing to help or to reassure the people in Tooting and beyond.
The Tories have destroyed their economic credibility and damaged trust in the British economy.
Twelve years of Tory government have left the economy in chaos, and the new Prime Minister continues to make it up as she goes along. Today’s U-turn does not mark a move away from disastrous Tory economics, it’s just some districation.
The Government needs to reverse their trickle down strategy. It just doesn’t work. Instead, they need to offer a programme of measures that will offer real support to those struggling with rises in food and energy bills, and increases in rent and mortgage payments. Too many people will struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table this winter, and the Government must step in now.