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January Report Back


It has again been a busy couple of weeks in Parliament and locally since I last emailed you. As I write the big political story of the week is David Cameron's deal with the EU - no doubt this will dominate the political world for months to come. I need to look at the detail and talk to you about this further but my instinctive view is that we should stay in. I'd be interested in your opinion - you can email me with your thoughts.

The Housing and Planning Bill came back to the Commons in early January, with many new amendments that had not even been discussed by the Bill Committee. This Bill imposes the Right to Buy on Housing Associations with discounts funded by enforced sale of high value Council Housing. Starter homes to buy will be sold at 80% of market value using public subsidy, and there will be no more Government support for Council and HA housing for rent. The Planning elements of the Bill enable virtually all employment land and buildings to be converted to Housing without requiring planning permission, a rule which will seriously harm the development of small businesses as they struggle to obtain office space in the overpriced London property market. This bill will exacerbate the Housing Crisis, spells the end of new social rent housing (Council and Housing Association) and gives tax subsidy to prop up the unaffordable 'starter home' market and causes economic problems as working people can no longer afford to live in London. I spoke in the debate on the economic impact of the housing crisis, and on the privatisation of planning services.

I also attended and spoke in a very important debate about getting more women into science and engineering. We still live in a world where only 14% of all science technology roles and jobs are taken by women, and only 9% of engineering jobs. This is the lowest proportion among European countries. Given that we have a shortage of new engineers coming through (it is thought that we are not even producing enough new engineers to replace those who are leaving the profession) increasing the number of women in these professions would not only be the right thing to do but it would be good for our economy. Companies like GlaxoSmithKlein do a great apprenticeship scheme (34% of its STEM apprenticeships are taken by women) but businesses like them need a steady pool of UK grown engineering and science talent. You can find my speech online here.

I have also been campaigning against fuel poverty following the revelation by the Office of National Statistics that the number of people dying prematurely was two and a half times higher than the previous winter. Poorly insulated cold homes are a huge part of the problem and I am very concerned that the Government is cutting back on life saving energy efficiency measures by some 65%. The House of Commons library has produced a very useful report on what help is available to consumers with their energy bills. It is quite detailed but if you know of someone who is struggling it is worth reading this report as a starting point.

Locally I have been out campaigning with Sadiq Khan - anyone who wants to join this campaign should contact Oana on 07918 853613 to get involved. Sadiq has been focussing on affordable homes which I know is a real concern for many of you. Sadiq has a comprehensive plan to tackle this problem. Among other things he will ensure:

  • A 50 per cent affordable housing target for new developments

  • Use of mayoral planning powers to stop 'buy-to-leave'

  • That first-time buyers and local buyers are given 'first dibs'

  • He will end the scandal of homes being sold off in advance to foreign investors.

As always please do get in touch with your thoughts.

Best wishes

Ruth Cadbury MP

More news below

What I've been doing in the Constituency

  • Asian Music Circuit – discussing a future for this important organisation that brings traditional music and musicians to the UK
  • Hounslow Gurdwara to meet the new general secretary and discuss how I can work more closely with the Sikh community
  • A constituent who is a film student interviewed me about youth unemployment and mental health support for young people – of which there is not nearly enough
  • Osterley Park; the National trust team there told me about the series of cycle trails and activities they are developing to encourage local people of all ages to use the magnificent park
  • I visited Sainsbury’s in Chiswick and leaned about their employment policies that reject the use of zero hours contracts and the use of the minimum wage
  • I spoke to Gumley House school year 10 students
  • I met Devonshire Road (Chiswick) independent businesses who are having to deal with their road being closed for 3 months due to Thames Water flood prevention work
  • Strand on the Green Residents Association AGM covered a number of issues including major developments, Hounslow’s energy efficiency record, lighting on the footbridges and street cleansing
  • Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Mayoral Candidate, came to meet local small business owners at a crowded event organised at short notice by Seema Malhotra MP. He outlined his commitment to business, and heard of difficulties faced here; problems with the Heathrow supply chain, and also with banks, skill shortages, parking ,and the lack of career support for older women
  • I met with Cllr Steve Curran and Seema Malhotra MP. We covered housing repairs, Hounslow’s development proposals, Able2’s bad decisions for applicants for Blue Badges & Freedom Passes and the Council budget .

What I've been doing in Parliament

  • Attended the launch of report Aircraft Noise and Public Health, the evidence is loud and clear an important report launched by HACAN & the Aviation Environment Foundation
  • Transgender Equality Inquiry, the 1st report of the Women & Equalities Select Committee on which I sit was released
  • I met the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McGlouglin, with officers of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group which I co-chair. Important discussion on the power the Department for Transport has to insist on cycle-proofing all new road schemes and national design standards
  • CEO’s of two of London (and Hounslow’s) largest housing associations briefed me on the devastating implications of the Housing & Planning Bill and their ability to provide decent truly affordable housing
  • I met the SNP’s transport spokesperson, Drew Hendry MP, to discuss the Airports Commission report . The SNP are concerned to see more flights from more Scottish cities to London, but have an open mind about where the additional runway should be
  • Non EU experienced nursing assistants who want to qualify to be nurses face a stiffer language test than EU nursing assistants. After meeting two people affected in my surgery, I attended a briefing from the Indian Workers Association, the RCN and Unison who are campaigning on this important issue
  more to read   

Fuel poverty

> Read more about cold weather deaths and my concerns about fuel poverty

'Curve' planning application

>My views here

Rent rises

> Read about Sadiq Khan's campaign on soaring rents

Universal credit cuts

My call to the Chancellor to reverse these damaging cuts

Rail fare rises 

> Out campaigning against the 22% increase in rail fares in the last 5 years

Debate on women in science

> My speech on getting more women into science and engineering

visit me
Advice surgery details on my website
367 Chiswick High Road
London, LON W4 4AG
United Kingdom
020 85813646
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Printed from an email sent by Ruth Cadbury MP.