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Photo by user 'Evelyn Simak', sourced from Geograph and used under Creative Commons License.

I was delighted to visit Birmingham Ormiston Academy today, speaking to students about everything from foreign affairs to being a woman in Parliament. The students came well-prepared with their questions and demonstrated a deep knowledge of our community and the world as part of their lessons on citizenship. It was fantastic to meet everyone and tour the academy to learn about the first class facilities used by staff and pupils. 

This week, I wrote to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport raising concerns about the ownership and direction of Birmingham City Football Club, after several constituents reached out to me. Some Blues fans are concerned that their club is on the brink of financial ruin after allegations of financial misconduct by the owners. I also highlighted the closure of the Kop and Tilton stands at St Andrews and the disastrous approach to repair works that has delayed the safe re-opening of the stands, meaning the ground can only operate at a third of capacity. I asked the Government what support they could provide to Blues fans, who are keen not to see their club with a proud 147 year history in Birmingham sunk by professional mismanagement. 

I submitted written evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Inquiry into exempt accommodation. In my evidence I provided case studies based on the stories of constituents trapped in exempt accommodation. I outlined the key issues of the sector, including the weak regulation and prevalence of organised crime that place vulnerable residents at further risk. My evidence will be read as part of the inquiry, which will then create a report with a range of recommendations which the Government must respond to. I have long-campaigned for the Government to close the legal loopholes within the sector and so it is welcome that the Committee is undertaking the inquiry.  

Earlier this week, the Government announced additional funding to cover the costs of waking watches for buildings affected by the building safety scandal. However, the announcement will mean little if insurers are still able to hike up their premiums by 1000% irrespective of the alarm systems and other safety measures put in place to reduce risk. The Government has also stated that this won’t be implemented retrospectively, meaning it will penalise those leaseholders – like those in Birmingham Ladywood – who did the right thing and have already paid for their new alarm systems themselves. I will continue to call on the Government to finally do right by leaseholders and protect them from all the costs associated with building safety. 

Tomorrow, Saturday 29th January, thousands of Labour supporters across the country will be out campaigning and speaking to people about Labour’s plan for lower energy bills. It would be great to see as many of you out campaigning on the Labour doorstep as possible, see which events you can join here: 

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