This week’s Budget announcement from the Chancellor was, I think, what we’ve come to expect from this Government: short-sighted, ill-focused, and showing a complete disregard for the needs of ordinary people up and down the UK. We have experienced as a country the worst death toll in Europe and the worst economic crisis of any major economy and yet, instead of a focus on jobs and businesses to support local economies, and assistance for hard-working, struggling families, we get delayed support for businesses and nothing for those suffering due to the pandemic, risking Britain’s recovery before it has even started. We do not want a return to ‘business as usual’ – business as usual was not working. Inequality, a lack of investment in jobs and the high street, and insecure jobs do not create and support a prosperous national economy, in fact, quite the opposite. The national economy is supported by the local economies across the country, not just in London – we need investment in those local economies and the jobs they create. After ten years of punishing austerity, when will this Government learn their lesson?
The Chancellor gave nothing but disappointment to the many people in Birmingham Ladywood who have worked so hard during this pandemic. For the key workers earning over £18,000, there was a real terms pay cut; for those on Universal Credit there was the looming prospect of a cut in support in the Autumn; and for those living in homes with unsafe cladding there was no commitment to help. The Chancellor promised to back the people of the UK throughout this crisis and instead he’s putting more obstacles in the way of their recovery. It is simply not good enough.
There was news this week in The Independent of a major Chinese study, revealing Beijing’s goals to ‘reduce Uighur population density’ through assigning many of them new jobs far from home. The reasoning behind this is to assimilate Uighurs into the majority Han culture by changing their lifestyles and thinking. This is yet another report that is showing systematic and cruel persecution of minorities in China and yet still no action is being taken by the UK Government. A genocide is taking place and the UK is standing idly by under this Tory Government. We simply cannot allow this to happen.
The upcoming May elections are important, despite the pandemic, but there are ways to avoid voting in person for those concerned about the virus. Registering to vote by post is simple: fill in your details, print, sign, and post your form to register. You can apply for a postal vote here: https://postalvote.labour.org.uk/. The pandemic should not stop you having your say and making your voice heard.
There is some good news! Next year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games’ schedule has been published with more medal events for women than men for the first time in Commonwealth Games’ history, as well as a fully integrated para-sport programme. With 11 days of swimming and diving, 8 days of cricket, 8 days of gymnastics, and 7 days of athletics, including the marathon, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take a look at the schedule on the Birmingham 2022 website here.
If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0121 661 9440. My team and I are of course subject to many of the same challenges and restrictions as other families in Birmingham Ladywood at the minute, but we will do everything we can to help constituents in these difficult times.
Keep your social distance, stay safe and healthy – and please, keep washing your hands!