Opinion: My priorities for the coming parliament
PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 February 2020
Labour lost the election, but all the issues we raised during the campaign remain. In opposition, MPs can put pressure on ministers and – on occasions – force changes to government policy. Here are some of my priorities for the coming parliament.
I will continue to point out the problems with Brexit. We still aren't being told the truth about the problems for UK jobs and the economy.
For example, the government's own Impact Assessment states there will be checks on goods moving between the UK
and Northern Ireland.
Yet the prime minister keeps claiming there won't be!
I will be renewing my focus on Universal Credit.
Simplifying the benefits system by merging six predecessor benefits into one was a good idea.
But implementation of Universal Credit has been dreadful.
The biggest problem is the five week delay after applying. (With Jobseekers Allowance it's seven working days.)
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This has led to increased foodbank demand and homelessness.
I am calling for the five-week delay to be drastically cut.
I also want the government to end its hostile environment for immigration.
Hard working families have to pay exorbitant fees and NHS surcharges every two and a half years to renew their leave to remain.
By the time they apply for indefinite leave to remain, after ten years, the fees have cost thousands.
This is unfair.
More and more families struggle with inadequate housing.
I can just remember the outcry in the 1960s, prompted by the BBC drama "Cathy Come Home", about families being destroyed by dreadful housing conditions. It's happening again now.
The solution, now as then, will be a major council house building programme.
We need it in Newham more than anywhere.
If you live in East Ham, please do get in touch if you'd like to highlight issues I should raise.