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Counter Terror Bill work – an update

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill has now completed Commons committee stages. I asked to be on the committee following the terror attack on London Bridge and Borough Market in the constituency last June. The Bill was a chance to raise some of the issues that affected the local community following that attack.

A win

The Bill brought forward an update to terror insurance that I have asked for since last June. That is to include ‘non-physical’ damage to firms in areas attacked by terrorists under coverage offered by the Government-backed Pool Reinsurance system. Before now, only physical damage to premises could be covered. In SE1 that meant businesses who lost produce, stock, had staff leave and needed to recruit, lost contracts or bookings all had no protection from the Government.

The Bill should mean that UK employers are better protected in future, wherever an attack might occur.

Coverage could have been backdated under this Bill to better help those affected by last year’s attacks. The Government was warned in advance of the need to cover ‘non-physical’ damage but ignored advice. The Minister claimed Government’s do not retrofit provisions – despite the retrofitting of laws like the Bedroom Tax for example, which hit hundreds of thousands of people. Retrospective coverage would have helped the London Bridge and Borough Market area where 150 businesses lost around £2 million due to the attack last year but, after thirteen months of waiting for central Government support, traders were denied assistance.

Instead, the Minister offered to meet to develop a ‘compensation’ plan of some description which I hope the council and City Hall will help develop in conjunction with Borough Market Trust and the businesses directly affected.

Other amendments

I raised several other amendments which were discussed on committee, including:

  • Introducing an annual review to ensure Government backed systems were kept up to date, in the face of any further changes to the kind of attacks we might experience;
  • Better systems of more swiftly classifying acts of terror to prevent insurers withholding help;
  • Boosting take-up of insurance to protect from attacks and their potential impact; and
  • Covering the use of rented vehicles in terror attacks.

Ending profits from terrorism

The Government sadly blocked my efforts to prevent anyone profiting from public donations to terror attack victims and communities.

Online platforms that help collect and pass on donations to the people who have experienced attacks often take not just their admin fees or obligatory charges for the charities involved, they also take revenues. They make money from the attacks.

After the May 2017 Manchester Arena bomb, people donated £5.5million to help the families affected. But JustGiving took £277,000 from this on top of admin fees and charges. I think this is unacceptable and sought to end this grim practice of creaming off donations. The Government voted it down sadly, although suggested the Treasury and other departments are examining this and related issues for regulations further down the line.

Next

The Bill will soon have Commons Report Stage and will then go to the House of Lords for similar scrutiny.

 

 

Counter Terror Bill work - an update

Counter Terror Bill work – an update The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill has now completed Commons committee stages. I asked to be on the committee following the terror attack...

Today I visited Transport for London (TfL) headquarters in Southwark. Today, TfL changes to the northern line mean the Bank branch is closed form Kennington station until mid September affecting about 35,000 people daily.

Commuters are advised to get on the right branch at their home station and not seek to change as the impact will mostly be felt at Stockwell, Kennington and Elephant and Castle. No additional bus services are available. TfL are providing about 20 extra staff at the main stations affected as well as distributing lots of leaflets and making announcements about the changes.

The change results from platform level works linking the two branches for passengers. TfL did not advertise the closure until very recently and made no mention of works during the public inquiry into the northern line extension and its impact in Southwark and Lambeth. Local people will experinece much of the inconvenience of the works, including this enforced closure and the new shafts, but few of the benefits. I am still pushing for Kennington's rezoning (to Zone 1) to be brought forward when the closure ends in September.

TfL information on the changes can be found at: https://tfl.gov.uk/status-updates/major-works-and-events/kennington-improvements and if you need a Personal Journey Plan updating to reflect the changes please contact TfL directly.

 

Northern Line extension impact on Kennington station

Today I visited Transport for London (TfL) headquarters in Southwark. Today, TfL changes to the northern line mean the Bank branch is closed form Kennington station until mid September affecting...

3 years new


Three years ago I was first elected to serve Bermondsey and Old Southwark. In that short period, a lot has changed, but also far too much remains the same.


My election helped end the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition Government run by Cameron and Clegg that had brought so much damage to the local community. My Lib Dem predecessor supported the tripling of tuition fees which affected thousands of local people, axed legal aid for families, voted eight times for the bedroom tax which hit over four thousand people in Southwark and never once apologised.


Voters put their trust in me in 2015 and my promise never to vote for anything that would harm our community. I've kept my promise.


It has been a rollercoaster three years in which we have seen the divisive Brexit referendum, the departure of Cameron and May's arrival as Prime Minister. I lost my friend and colleague Jo Cox, murdered by a rightwing coward. My daughter Esme arrived two years ago and continues to brighten any day. I helped change the law - from Opposition - to better help many disabled people. Last year we experienced the terror attack at London Bridge and Borough Market and the Government has now backed my campaign to better protect British employers in the event of any further attack in the UK. We have also already had a further general election, which saw May lose her majority and me returned in Bermondsey and Old Southwark with an amazing 13,000 majority.


I have helped thousands of local people, and remain grateful for all the support and trust this has helped build. I continue to work hard for anyone who seeks my help - as well as running my weekly surgery meetings, I organise extra 'reach out' sessions across the whole community I serve. Since last June's election, over three thousand people have sought my help with housing, visas, benefits and other issues.


Since that incredible election win in May 2015, too much continues to stay the same though.


Every week I help people hit by avoidable, unnecessary problems caused by callous, incompetent policies like the Coalition's Universal Credit which was rolled out in Southwark with devastating consequences for many local families. Local foodbanks are overwhelmed as a result of Universal Credit delays and other problems and in the last year there has been a tripling in the number of children reliant on foodbanks to survive. Debt, destitution and poverty continue to flourish under a Government neglecting the domestic UK agenda whilst pursuing a damaging Brexit agenda which I continue to oppose.


The Windrush scandal has rocked the nation, but is a direct result of policies pursued under May as Home Secretary for the Coalition since 2010 and as PM since 2016. The 'hostile environment' has had terrible ramifications for too many local people caught up in Home Office processes despite being legally entitled - or born - in the UK.


The housing crisis continues unaddressed, the NHS is struggling to run now in summer after the worst winter crisis since the Tories were thrown out in 1997, and the police now cannot investigate all crime. The shocking rise in violent, sex, knife and gun crime (including in Walworth last weekend), follows eight years of cuts to police numbers. Southwark lost over 200 police officers and PCSOs in budgets backed by Lib Dem and Tory MPs and Ministers and the impact is still being felt.


It is tough being in Opposition in the face of such an awful Government. But it is far tougher on the local community and all the people I serve who need action on housing, policing, the NHS and low pay. I will continue to fight for our community and to keep my promises. I hope the next three years sees a national change in direction and policies which benefit Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

3 years new

3 years new Three years ago I was first elected to serve Bermondsey and Old Southwark. In that short period, a lot has changed, but also far too much remains...

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