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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...

borough_market.jpg

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...

 

Today I wrote to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, and asked her to visit Borough Market to speak to the traders and local residents following the horrific terror attack on our area on 3rd June. 

Letter to the Prime Minister

  Today I wrote to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, and asked her to visit Borough Market to speak to the traders and local residents following the...

 

Thank you!

On 8th June more than half of all the voters in Bermondsey and Old Southwark chose me and Labour. I am hugely grateful and proud for the continued support and for the overwhelming result: a vote for the positive, transformative agenda Labour offered and trust in me to keep my promises.

There are so many people to thank but all those who gave an hour, a day or more to the campaign have made such a difference. We knew we could win but the hours of campaigning made such a difference. There were many people who volunteered for the first time - and I hope enjoyed it!

My young team stepped up to the plate and delivered a professional, positive campaign based on my track record of reaching 30,000 people in two years and a positive offer on housing, policing and education. My caseworkers deliver results daily and work their socks off for the local people who need my support.

After seven years of Tory and Lib Dem cuts and damage to Southwark, local people overwhelmingly voted for something different. 53% voted for something better and more positive and helped me almost triple the majority I won in 2015. An incredible result and one for which I am proud.

I will keep working hard for our community and will continue to keep my promise. Thank you once again for the privilege of serving our brilliant part of London.

Thank you!

  Thank you! On 8th June more than half of all the voters in Bermondsey and Old Southwark chose me and Labour. I am hugely grateful and proud for the...

Bermondsey and Old Southwark stands shoulder to shoulder with all the people of Manchester following the murderous and cowardly terrorist attack.

All responsible political parties chose not to campaign yesterday after the targeting of children and young people out for an evening celebrating music, culture and their youth. The pain inflicted on the families who have lost loved ones, the city of Manchester and our country collectively is hard to comprehend. Our thoughts and prayers must be with all those affected.

But we will never be cowed and must show in how we choose to continue living our lives that we cannot be intimidated or prevented from sticking to our values. We should also recognise that, even at the height of the attack and when many people were terrified, we also saw some of the best of British values in the cabbies who gave free rides to help people escape and reunite families; the homeless man who ran towards danger to help injured people; the hotels and restaurants who opened their doors and provided food, a safe haven and accommodation; and also the hundreds of Mancunians who were queuing to give blood as soon as they could. We must also thank and commend our brilliant emergency services who not just responded so swiftly in Manchester, but keep us safe and work to prevent further attacks every day. They are the best; they represent Britain and our values.

Some will attempt to use the attack to provoke division and further hate. But hate cannot conquer hate and in dark moments like this, only love and unity can triumph.

I thank my volunteers and all those helping campaign locally for acknowledging yesterday's pause. Today the national party will remain paused but locally we must get back to work and continue to fight for the very democracy that terrorists wish to undermine and overthrow.

Bermondsey and Old Southwark stands shoulder to shoulder with Manchester

Bermondsey and Old Southwark stands shoulder to shoulder with all the people of Manchester following the murderous and cowardly terrorist attack. All responsible political parties chose not to campaign yesterday...

 

 

 

Despite the hectic campaign schedule, with nine teams of volunteers out campaigning with me yesterday, it was also important to show my respect at important local events.

First, the Imperial War Museum in SE1 hosts the 9th May 'Victory Day' celebrations. This is attended by veterans and representatives of the former Soviet countries to mark their equivalent of Victory in Europe Day and is a tribute to the 27 million citizens of those states who gave their lives fighting fascism and Nazism. Their contribution deserves recognition and their sacrifice deserves our respect.

 

It was also great to mark the unveiling of a blue plaque at the Surrey Docks Farm. The Farm is a wonderful burst of life on the riverside in SE16 and attracts huge numbers of visitors to see their pigs, sheep, donkeys and more right opposite Canary Wharf on our side of the river. The Farm is very close to our Mayor's heart and has been one of the charities she's been fundraising for this year. I've promised to muck out the pigs at some point - and I keep my promises!

Neil

Showing respect

      Despite the hectic campaign schedule, with nine teams of volunteers out campaigning with me yesterday, it was also important to show my respect at important local events.... Read more

Today I visited the City Hope Church foodbank in Bermondsey run as part of the Pecan network in Southwark and Trussell Trust national system. As MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, it has been a privilege to support and witness the work they have done in the local community. The commitment of their staff and volunteers is commendable and a mark of the solidarity in our community. But foodbanks should not have to provide people with the basics in a wealthy, modern country. 

That thousands of people are reliant on their help in our community at the heart of London should shame us all. Sadly, hundreds of people using them are in work but are not paid enough to put food on the table. This national disgrace simply wasn't happening in 2010 and is the direct result of policies pursued by Iain Duncan Smith - the most right wing Secretary of State for welfare our country has ever had. All his policies were delivered in Coalition with the lib Dems and have caused huge harm in Southwark: 7,000 people used a foodbank last year, homelessness doubled, poverty is rising again, and over 4,000 local people have been hit with the bedroom tax. 

The Lib Dems have never apologised for voting for Coalition policies like these. I made a promise in 2015: I'll never vote for anything that will harm local people. I've kept my promise and will keep supporting the foodbank until I am in Government and able to overturn the policies that have done such damage to our community. 

Foodbank still clearing up 'Broken Britain'

Today I visited the City Hope Church foodbank in Bermondsey run as part of the Pecan network in Southwark and Trussell Trust national system. As MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark,...

 

Things can only get better

Twenty years ago today I cast my first vote ever. On 1st May 1997 I was proud to vote Labour. I went to the polling station with dad and we both knew how we were voting. We were pleased to be part of electing Labour with a thumping majority.

Our votes helped secure:

- a National Minimum Wage

- a Human Rights Act

- thousands of Sure Start centres

- 1.6 million pensioners and children lifted out of poverty

- peace in Northern Ireland

- the future of the NHS, with thousands more doctors and nurses

- more police and a fall in crime

- a doubling of funding for every school pupil in England and thousands more teachers and teaching assistants

- an axing of third world debt and a doubling of the international aid budget

- free entry to museums and galleries

As we approach the 8th June general election, that record stands out after seven years of Tory and Lib Dem/Conservative Coalition Governments who have:

- doubled homelessness

- increased poverty and destitution

- allowed reliance on foodbanks to rockets, including for working people

- squeezed public services which contributed to the referendum result and the potential costs and consequences of Brexit

- axed police officers leaving our community less safe.

A lot is at stake as we face the election. I am proud to be a Labour candidate again having kept my promises to local voters: I'll never support anything in Parliament that will damage our community or country. 

Things can only get better

  Things can only get better Twenty years ago today I cast my first vote ever. On 1st May 1997 I was proud to vote Labour. I went to the...

 

 

It was interesting to see the plans for a new school at the former fire station site on Southwark Bridge Road. Southwark needs more school places and the scheme will help in this regard.

The station was one of London's oldest however and should never have been closed. Southwark has a growing population, includes London Bridge station serving thousands of commuters and our borough is getting taller with The Shard locally and tall buildings appearing at the Elephant and Castle, Canada Water and Blackfriars.

Sadly, response times to fires and other emergency incidents have got slower since 2010. Coalition cuts to our emergency services were a mistake. Losing this fire station has put homes, businesses and lives at risk. 

 

 

Fire alarm!

    It was interesting to see the plans for a new school at the former fire station site on Southwark Bridge Road. Southwark needs more school places and the...

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