My congratulations to the England football team for their incredible achievement last weekend. Although they were unable to clinch the title, they have shown throughout this tournament that they are excellent role models for our young people – taking a stand against racism despite immense criticism and attacks on their personal and political views. What a contrast to the actions of this Government, with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary attacking the players’ stand against racism.  I am also  appalled by the shocking scenes and stories coming from Wembley Stadium and reports in newspapers that foreign fans, even children, were abused in the streets and made to feel uncomfortable on the streets of London. I am seriously concerned  by the apparent lack of security around the stadium and the fact that some were able to force their way into the stadium without tickets. Given the UK’s experience of terrorist attacks and recently the Manchester Arena bombings, it is incredibly worrying that this was allowed to happen and there must be an inquiry to ensure that such lax security will not be allowed again.

On Monday a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Disability and Fire Safety took place to discuss the importance of the Government’s consultation on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for disabled residents unable to self-evacuate from buildings. It is vital that the views of disabled people are heard and the Government listens to those living in high-rise buildings. The Government recently launched a consultation on evacuation plans for disabled residents, which can be contributed to here via the website, amid calls for assurances that everyone would be included in evacuation plans. Under the current proposal, disabled people living on higher floors would be excluded simply because their overall building does not meet the arbitrary building height. There is also no mention of the costs of evacuation aids. Building owners need to take responsibility for buildings which were not designed with an inclusive evacuation strategy. Alternatively, the Government must set up a central funding mechanism. Charging disabled people for their means of escape is wrong. If buildings are not designed to meet the needs of 21st Century society then they are not appropriate for our towns and cities. No one should be excluded from safety and security.

Along with Labour colleagues, I voted against giving a Second Reading to the Health and Care Bill this week. We need a Health and Care Bill that will increase the size of the NHS workforce and see them better supported both in terms of pay and workplace support, that will put forward a plan that would give the NHS the resources it needs to invest in modern equipment, repair the crumbling NHS estate and ensure comprehensive, quality healthcare. The NHS needs to be given the resources to tackle the growing health inequalities that exist across the country – to tackle dietary and exercise issues, to tackle mental health, to tackle pollution-related illnesses. Reforming healthcare isn’t easy and we are not pretending that it is, but this Bill appears to ignore the most pressing problems of staff burnout and growing waiting lists and instead prioritises the encroachment of the private sector into one of the public institutions we as a country are most proud of. This Bill seeks to reorganise this complex and immense institution during a global pandemic, allowing more private sector onto NHS boards – a creeping privatisation that threatens the goals of reducing health inequalities and supporting the development of a more resilient population. This is a complete dereliction of duty by this Tory Government.

People in the West Midlands are the first in line to apply for tickets for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The West Midlands Ballot is open until 30 July 2021 before the main ballot opens in September. There will be 286 sessions in 19 different sports across 11 days of competition. It’s set to be a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham and it would be great to see local residents taking the chance to be a part of this incredible event and maybe even be inspired to take up a new sport!

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing 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!

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