With so much focus on Brexit, it's easy to think that not much else is happening, but locally and in Parliament I've been as busy as ever working on local issues and also on national campaigns on helping people renting get better access to affordable credit, and on improving social mobility.
In response to the issues I've raised about Putney High Street and other shopping areas, the Budget statement saw the Chancellor launch a £675m Future High Streets Fund, for investment in supporting places like Putney High Street, alongside extra business rates cuts for businesses in smaller premises, which was great news.
As you know it continues to be hugely important time in Parliament as the Government's Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration in relation to Brexit were finally set out earlier this month. Next week the pivotal debates begin on the Prime Minister's negotiated deal and it's been very helpful to have had such a wide range of views from people at my surgeries, coffee mornings and through my casework. This month, alongside broader concerns I have about the proposed PM Deal, I also raised the issues of EU citizens' rights on behalf of local residents and employers. I'll be sending out a separate and fuller Brexit update as the debate gets underway next week.
In the meantime, scroll down to see what I've been up to locally and in Parliament. As always, if you'd like to get involved in a project or campaign I'm working on or have any concerns I can help out with, let me know.
I'm currently doing a residents' survey to make sure I am continuing to focus on our priorities as a community. It's very straightforward to do so it'd be great if you could take a minute and fill out the survey on my website so I can make sure I keep working hard on the issues that matter to us.
Working in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields
In November, I had a busy month getting out and about, working on local issues raised with me by residents. I:
- Wrote over 1000 letters or emails to constituents about their concerns.
- Had over 100 meetings in my role as MP.
- Visited South Thames College and got to meet and discuss higher education funding proposals with students there.
- Met with TfL senior managers to discuss ongoing issues with the 72 bus serving Roehampton as well as the consultation on the 969 route.
- Presented the Uplifting Image Awards on behalf of South West London Mental Health Trust at Springfield University Hospital.
- Joined local residents at a meeting with the AELTC to discuss community relations and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
- Attended a number of Remembrance Day events locally to remember those who lost their lives for our country and to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.
- Met with Hollybrook Developments to raise residents' concerns about their proposed Riverside Quarter project.
- Visited Ashcroft Academy to meet students and staff.
- Held a coffee morning to hear from local residents on a number of local and national issues including Brexit.
- Visited the Ashburton Youth Centre with the Chelsea FC Foundation to see a football session with children and young people from Wandsworth in action.
- Met with the head of Adults' and Childrens' Services at Wandsworth Borough Council, John Johnson, for an update on services locally.
- Was part of the opening of the new Roehampton Citizen's Advice Bureau.
- Joined fantastic local charity Regenerate to celebrate their 18th birthday and work with young people on the Alton and Ashburton estates.
- Met with local residents to get an update on the Roehampton Playing Fields Community Trust.
- Visited the University of Roehampton to speak to Vice Chancellor Paul O'Prey and Student Union President Chuchu Nwagu about higher education finance, Brexit and plastics.
- Attended the Wandsworth Health and Care Design Event discussing local healthcare services.
- Held a local event on prison reform with Prison's Minister Rory Stewart MP.
- Joined the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association on a sensory walk along Putney High Street to experience the very practical challenges those with seeing impairments have on our busy streets and also hear about the way we can help improve things further.
- Met with NHS South West London Alliance Senior Managers to discuss overall healthcare provision in the borough and priorities for the NHS 10 year strategy and additional £20bn investment.
- Joined other local residents at St Mary's church off Putney High Street to see the Christmas lights switched on.
Working in Westminster
As your local Member of Parliament, this month in Westminster I have:
- Spoke in debates and asked Parliamentary questions on:
- The Budget
- EU Citizens' Rights
- Universal Credit
- Social Mobility
- Higher Education Funding
- EU Exit Negotiations
- Brexit Treasury Analysis
- Stalking Prevention
- You can see all my contributions here.
- Attended a round table with the Economic Secretary, Lord Bird and credit lenders to discuss the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill I am trying to push through the House of Commons.
- Met with Our Future, Our Choice to discuss young people's views on Brexit.
- Worked with a cross party group of MPs on an amendment to the Finance Bill to ensure that steps by Government to tackle problem gambling were introduced earlier next year, rather than being delayed.
- Successfully pressed the Chancellor for a new £675m Future High Streets Fund to help places like Putney High Street, which was announced in the Budget. It can help not only Putney High Street, but also potentially Southfields Village and Roehampton High Street. I'll work with our local council and Putney Business Improvement District to develop a strong bid proposal.
- Brought my Creditworthiness Assessment Bill to Parliament for a Second Reading debate, and I plan to retable it for debate in January.
- Spoke with Lady Rothschild about the EPIC project, which supports the world's largest investors in measuring and investing in human capital.
- Joined women MPs from parliaments around the world at the Women MPs of the World Conference.
- Spoke at two People's Vote events in central London to make the case for a second referendum to break the gridlock in Parliament.
- Welcomed Hurlingham School students to Parliament and fielded their excellent questions on how Parliament works.
- Met with the No Third Runway Coalition to discuss the ongoing judicial review of Heathrow's third runway case.
- Discussed the Social Mobility Pledge with a number of businesses and charities including Michael Page, the Education and Employers Charity, Milton Keynes Councillors who have now had Milton Keynes Council commit to the Pledge alongside Wandsworth Borough Council, Making the Leap and WhiteHat, both organisations working on social mobility and opportunities for young people.
- Met with the British Youth Council, of which I've been made an honourary president, to run through the work they have underway and how we can work together more on their campaigns.
- Met with local women who I invited to Parliament as part of the #AskHertoStand campaign.
- Got an update from the Chief Executive of the Coalition for Global Prosperity on what their plans are for the upcoming year.
Meeting with TfL on our local bus services
This month I met with representatives from Transport for London to discuss the ongoing issues with the 969 and 72 buses.
We discussed the poor service on the 72 route, particularly at rush hour, and we looked at ways to increase service during peak hours. This is constrained by ongoing works on Hammersmith Bridge. It's concerning that the council still have no clear plan for when the final work to repair the bridge will happen, so I’ve contacted Hammersmith and Fulham Council to ask for a clear timeline of the repair works.
I also pressed TfL to again look at proposals to extend the 424 service to stop off in Putney Village to help constituents who currently have to walk to/from the Putney Heath Green Man stop.
I made clear my constituents’ opposition to the discontinuation of the 969 service which helps people get from the Lennox Estate to Asda in Roehampton, and we discussed ways of mitigating any disruption for people living on the Lennox Estate. Transport for London have explained they will be launching a consultation before any decision is made, and I’ll keep you updated with any further developments.
University of Roehampton meeting and higher education funding
As you may be aware, the Department for Education is reviewing how it funds higher education and is due to publish its report early next year.
This is an issue that comes up frequently when I talk to young people and parents in our community, particularly with having the University of Roehampton locally. This month, I met with South Thames College students and the President of the Roehampton Student Union, Chuchu Nwagu, to discuss their concerns and my proposals for fixing the current student fees system.
We had a broader discussion about the progress the University is making locally and it's great to hear about plans for developing new courses in nursing, which will work well alongside the strong footprint the University already has in teacher training.
I also fed in the concerns that were raised and my ideas to the Higher Education Minister, Sam Gyimah, to feed into the review. You can read about my proposals here.
NHS Winter Champions
This month, I had a number of meetings with local NHS organisations including the South West London Mental Health Trust, the South West London Health and Care Partnership Alliance and I attended the Wandsworth Health and Care Design Event. We discussed the health needs of our local community and how each group would like to see the extra NHS funding spent.
Also, importantly, I met up with local NHS clinical leads in Parliament to discuss what we can all do to ease pressure on the NHS during the winter. It is important that we all know what we can do to stay healthy and help those around us, particularly the very young or very elderly, or those with compromised immune systems, stay healthy too in the colder months. Below are tips that may be helpful:
- See a pharmacist. Pharmacists often have private consultation areas and are experts in many areas so they may be able to help you if you don't think the issue is important enough to need to see a GP.
- GP appointments are now available from 8 am to 8 pm 7 days a week. Book an appointment if the issue isn't an emergency to help ease pressure on A&E.
- Call 111 for free advice from trained medical advisors who can help at any time.
- Get a flu shot. It's not just to protect you. It is to make sure people who may be vulnerable or sick around you also don't catch the virus.
I hope that this update gives you a brief snapshot of some of the things I am working on as our local Member of Parliament. As ever, if you would like to contact me or raise an issue, then please get in touch and I will do the best I can to help. You can email me on email@example.com, write to me at 3 Summerstown, SW17 0BQ or call my office on 0208 946 4557. You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see all my latest updates.