This week, the Government brought forward the Economic Crime Bill to the House of Commons. The Bill is designed to make it harder for oligarchs to hide their wealth in British property. The Labour Party made a number of amendments to take the action needed now while the Government want to give oligarchs months to escape justice. The Government have dragged their feet on stopping dirty money flowing through our economy, these steps were first promised in 2016, since then £1.5 billion worth of property has been bought by Russians accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin.
I met with the fans of Birmingham City Football Club to discuss the repairs needed on some of the stands at St Andrews Stadium as well as wider concerns about the ownership and financial management of the club. I was grateful for the hospitality of the Royal George Hotel who hosted the meeting. Fans exchanged their frank views on the direction of the club and we had an insightful discussion about plans for the future. Blues fans care deeply about their club and want to see it back at its best – I’m determined to see its 147 year legacy protected in my constituency. I’ll be raising their concerns with senior leadership at Birmingham City in a forthcoming meeting.
This week, BBC Midlands Today published an investigation into exempt housing finding those who had previously worked in the sector claiming that vulnerable people are left in worse conditions than when they entered the sector. I gave an interview to the BBC as part of their investigation, explaining that this problem is simply not going to go away. Unscrupulous operators are exploiting lucrative loopholes in the law, whilst failing the vulnerable people they are supposed to support and creating chaos for our local communities. The Government needs to act now, and bring forward legal changes to put a stop to this dysfunctional system. You can watch my full interview here: https://twitter.com/ShabanaMahmood/status/1502275075847954434
The Labour Party also used a debate in Parliament this week to call on the Government to cancel its planned 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance Contributions, that will cost families an average of £500 per year from April 2022. Even before the Ukraine crisis, inflation was spiralling, and Conservative choices have left us exposed to a devastating cost of living crisis. The price of petrol, food and energy are still soaring, and I know people are worried about the future. A Labour Government would bring in fully-funded measures now to reduce the expected price rise on energy bills in April – saving most households in Birmingham Ladywood around £200 or more. We would also increase and expand the Warm Home’s Discount, targeting extra support to the squeezed middle, pensioners and the lowest earners, saving households up to £600 off bills in total. Instead, the Conservatives are choosing to increase national insurance on working people and businesses at the worst possible time.
Finally, on Monday, we welcomed our new Labour MP for Erdington to the House of Commons. It was fantastic to accompany Paulette as she took the oath and I know she will be a brilliant champion for Birmingham Erdington.