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The Taylor Review into modern work practices has been published. It aimed to tackle some of the issues that leave working people unable to cover living costs, reliant on foodbanks and on housing benefit and tax credits. It has taken the Labour movement a century to secure basic employment rights that have been rolled-back by some of the less responsible companies in the gig economy.

I am pleased the Taylor Review builds on recommendations made by my Work and Pensions Select Committee in May, but companies like Deliveroo and Uber are, in my opinion, failing to acknowledge their responsibilities as employers. It is unacceptable that a million workers fall into this grey area in the new economy and are denied access to basic rights, leaving them and the taxpayer worse off.

The Review calls on the Government to define people who work for gig economy companies as ‘dependent contractors’ to secure some access to sick pay and holiday leave. Simply pushing for a change in status does not go far enough or answer the challenges faced or the shirking of responsibilities by some rogue companies.

Whilst Uber have not embraced the precepts of the Taylor Review, many people have been in touch to suggest that companies like it have been let off very lightly. I hope the report on the future of the UK Taxi Trade, to be published next week, will go much further and pressure Ministers to devolve greater powers to the Mayor of London.

The Review also recommended more widespread digital transactions take place, eventually phasing out the largely untaxed ‘cash-in-hand’ economy which would raise around £6bn in tax revenues, tackle crime, and drive up employees’ rights.

The Taylor Review provides a basis for addressing many of the issues presented by the growing gig economy, but ensuring working people have access to a stable career, fair pay, and the fundamental rights we expect from employers warrants firmer, swifter action.

Workers’ rights in the gig economy

The Taylor Review into modern work practices has been published. It aimed to tackle some of the issues that leave working people unable to cover living costs, reliant on foodbanks and...

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It is one month since the horrific terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. On the night, in the immediate aftermath and ever since the response from local people has been incredible. Our community has pulled together magnificently and shown why terrorists will fail to beat how we live and who we are.

We witnessed an inconceivable degree of bravery and commitment from our emergency services and NHS as well as huge amounts of generosity from local people, businesses, Southwark Cathedral (also directly affected and forced to close briefly as a result of the attack) and the wider public. I thank everyone for making me even prouder to be the local MP!

8 people were murdered, 48 injured and about 160 have sought counselling or other support since the attack. British Transport Police offered their counselling support to people directly affected and traumatised by what they’d seen and, four weeks on, some people are unable to return to work yet.

The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced £300,000 towards all three London major incidents, the Borough Market Traders Support Fund has raised over £100,000 in donations, and News UK have provided help worth about £25,000 through all staff being given market vouchers. Many of their staff were directly affected by the attack as their office is at London Bridge station.

Despite the amazing response to the attack from so many, some of the independent local traders and businesses have been in touch to outline the impact. The attack was over in under ten minutes, but the site was locked down for ten days due to the investigation. This has caused some small traders to lose out, including fruit and veg sellers at the Market who’ve lost £17,000 and Applebees restaurant who have lost closer to £40,000. It is estimated that the attack cost about £1.4 million in total to local businesses putting at least two in touch with me at risk of closure.

Ministers – and Theresa May – have stated that the ‘terrorists cannot win’. I agree, but extend ensuring they lose to protecting jobs and businesses if/when attacks occur. I wrote to the Prime Minister urging her to visit the area and speak with those directly affected. This has not yet happened. I also asked the Business Secretary to meet with local people affected and one of that Ministerial team is coming. I hope the Government responds with the same generosity and spirit others have shown and acts now to protect everyone affected by the attack. To date, their response has been slow and limited.

This article highlights concerns of some traders towards the lack of support they are receiving from the Government and insurance companies. Insurers need to pay out asap to prevent any firms and jobs being lost. I have called on the Government to pull its finger out and for insurance companies to properly cover all those affected by the ten-day closure which followed the attack.

London Bridge one month on

It is one month since the horrific terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. On the night, in the immediate aftermath and ever since the response from local people...

Empty speech from an empty vessel

Theresa May made the Queen read an empty speech today. The speech was supposed to set out the Government’s agenda for two years despite May not having a majority or mandate for one.

After seven year as Home Secretary and Prime Minister, Theresa May is showing she has learned nothing from losing her majority and is out of tune with voters’ wishes. On 8th June voters rejected her hardline approach to Brexit and to more austerity. Today’s speech shows May wishes to continue with both.

A grubby and uncertain pact with the DUP to try and deliver a disastrous Brexit won’t wash with voters. The speech also covered some Brexit plans but also claimed our economy will be ‘strengthened´ and that the UK will attract further investment – despite the Bank of England warning yesterday that Brexit will make all of us worse off. It will be harder to attract investment outside the EU and companies in Southwark are already disinvesting or expanding elsewhere in the EU sadly. The Government should be listening and not risking further damage.  

The Tories did not win a majority on 8th June after seven years of austerity. Southwark has lost out heavily in those seven years – police cuts, long delays to seeing GPs and in hospital waiting times, a national drop in home ownership and huge cuts to our council. May wants to continue with this agenda. The speech today includes very few Bills but managed to announce plans to push ahead with vicious school cuts which could cost Southwark schools £5 million and court closures that risk denying even more people access to justice.

May has learned nothing from her rejection by voters. She is an empty vessel Prime Minister with yesterday’s agenda and no guarantee she has a tomorrow. I hope her Government’s speech is defeated next week. 

Empty speech from an empty vessel

Empty speech from an empty vessel Theresa May made the Queen read an empty speech today. The speech was supposed to set out the Government’s agenda for two years despite...

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