Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

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For many people living on the Gloucester Grove and North Peckham Estates the first signs of spring have come not a moment too soon.  They have had a horrible winter thanks to the failing of the estate heating system.  For months over the coldest part of the winter the heating and the hot water has been going off in 1,200 flats.  Tenants have told me about going to bed in their overcoat – and even then still not being able to keep warm.  People have spent money on buying electric heaters and then spent huge amounts on their electricity.  Some tried to keep warm by leaving the gas on.  Expensive – and dangerous too.  And the only way to get hot water was to heat it in the kettle.  People had to go out to escape the cold in their flats.  And that costs too.  All the expense and inconvenience was compounded by finding that the heating was back on – but only at half strength.  Or it was back on and then went off again.

The Council have had contractors constantly down there to try and sort it out.  But now that it’s back on there are two issues that need to be dealt with.  Firstly the compensation.  It’s not enough for the Council to ensure that people are not charged for the heating and hot water they didn’t get.  People must be compensated for the extra costs they have incurred.  And for the misery and inconvenience they have endured.  The Council’s housing budget has been slashed by the Government but even so the Council should not, and I’m sure will not, penny-pinch and haggle about the amount of compensation.  One tenant has been offered £25!  That does not begin to be enough.  So the Council needs to put a lot of effort into sorting out the compensation.  After such inconvenience the last thing that tenants need is to have to chase the Council for compensation.

The next thing that needs to be sorted out is ensuring that this doesn’t happen again next winter.  Huge estate boilers were built when the estate was built with the aim of ensuring a constant supply of heating and hot water to all the flats and a low cost.  The problem is that when it goes wrong it’s a huge problem to sort out and hundreds of tenants are hit.  The Council is now working out what to do for the future.  It’s important that the tenants have a big say in this.  They are not technicians but they are the people directly affected.  Some of the blocks have always had small boilers for each flat.  And now with “combi” boilers they can be small and cheap to run.

So let’s be sure that the tenants can be properly compensated for all the expense and inconvenience and look forward to being cosy indoors next winter.

*The print version of this article is slightly shorter.

Southwark News Column - Southwark Council must compensate and work with Gloucester Grove and North Peckham tenants to fix heating problems

For many people living on the Gloucester Grove and North Peckham Estates the first signs of spring have come not a moment too soon.  They have had a horrible winter...

In the week that we've seen British success at the Oscars, London Fashion Week and the Brits, no-one should be in any doubt about the importance of our film, our music and all our creative industries.

The basis of future jobs and investment in those creative industries depends on the protection of Intellectual Property.

Will he undertake to ensure that in the consideration of a European Digital Single Market:

  • He will be absolutely vigilant to protect our creative industries including SME's;
  • That he rethinks the paper that the Prime Minister has sent to Juncker which would allow for changes which would pose a real threat to many independent projects;
  • And will he insist there is time for proper consultation before its implementation. 

Department for Culture, Media and Sport Questions in Parliament

In the week that we've seen British success at the Oscars, London Fashion Week and the Brits, no-one should be in any doubt about the importance of our film, our...

During February constituents in Camberwell and Peckham have sent me 434 emails on 77 different policy issues – from tax avoidance to unlicensed puppy breeding.  Here’s a full breakdown of the issues people have raised:

 

  • HSBC and allegations of tax evasion and tax avoidance – 120

  • Serious Crime Bill – Sex-selective abortion amendment –  Vote For - 34

  • Serious Crime Bill - Sex-selective abortion amendment - Vote Against - 10

  • Support humane and sustainable farming – 31

  • Human rights in Palestine – 28

  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home campaign to end unlicensed breeding of puppies – 25

  • Cancer on the health agenda – 12

  • Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations – Vote For - 5

  • Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations – Vote Against - 7

  • Modern Slavery Bill – 12

  • Jim Fitzpatrick MP’s Wild Animals in Circuses (Private Member’s) Bill – 10

  • Westminster Hall dpebate on non-stun slaughter of animals on Monday 23rd February – 10

  • Living Streets campaign to support older pedestrians – 8

  • Support a NHS Reinstatement Bill to reverse privatisation – 6

  • Support a rental cap in London – 5

  • Energy Bill Revolution ‘End Cold Homes’ campaign – 5

  • Climate Change – 5

  • Infrastructure Bill – Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy – 4

  • Mental health – 4

  • Infrastructure Bill – community pubs – 4

  • Trident – constituents want to know your views – 4

  • Save the Children’s ‘Read On. Get On.’ campaign to improve literacy among poorer kids – 4

  • Constituents have contacted you saying privatisation of energy has been a disaster – 4

  • Alcohol Duty – Call on the Chancellor to make a 2% cut in the 2015 Budget – 4

  • Religious freedom – 3

  • EDM (Early Day Motion) 746 – The Big Palestinian Bike Ride3

  • Support a Nature and Wellbeing Act in Labour’s manifesto – 3

  • Serious Crime Bill – Support better legal protections for child abuse victims – 3

  • BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) and Cruelty Free International campaign to reduce the number of scientific experiments on animals – 2

  • Attend Backbench Commons debate on epilepsy on Thursday 26th February – 2

  • Immigration – Labour’s plans – 2

  • Westminster Hall debate on respiratory health on Tuesday 3rd February – 2

  • Social care and military compensation for veterans – 2

  • Ticket touts – 2

  • EDM 488 – Youth Services2

  • EDM 636 – Animal Welfare (No. 2)2

  • Tackle global violence against children – 2

  • Dementia care – 2

  • Labour’s announcement on paternity leave – 1

  • Equal pay transparency – 1

  • Breast cancer – drug treatment – 1

  • Support VSO’s (Voluntary Service Overseas) ‘Women in Power’ campaign – 1

  • Support standardised packaging for tobacco products – 1

  • A constituent emailed with concerns about the cost of childcare – 1

  • Protect the countryside and oppose major road-building projects – 1

  • 2015 Nigerian presidential election – 1

  • Teacher workload – 1

  • Opinion polls – 1

  • International Development and the UK’s role in helping developing countries – 1

  • Union of South American Nations dialogue with Venezuela – 1

  • UK help for Syrian refugees – 1

  • A GP who lives in the constituency emailed with concerns about the NHS – 1

  • Counter-terrorism powers – 1

  • EDM 646 – Rail Fares1

  • EDM 612 – Buffer Zones Around Abortion Clinics and Pregnancy Advice Bureaux1

  • EDM 648 – Employment of Supply Teachers1

  • EDM 445 – Naloxone Availability1

  • EDM 701 – Imprisonment of Human Rights Activists in Mauritania1

  • Ban letting agents fees for tenants – 1

  • Revenue-Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend Scheme – 1

  • Use of antibiotics on farm animals – 1

  • Independent Living Fund – 1

  • Air pollution in the Middle East – 1

  • Pubs and Planning Regulations (England) debate on Thursday 12th February – 1

  • Mandatory scanning of pets found killed on the road – 1

  • Cats Protection's Manifesto for Cats campaign – 1

  • National Housing Federation’s Homes for Britain campaign – 1

  • Thameslink train services into central London – 1

  • Women’s pensions – 1

  • Attend British Lung Foundation event in Parliament on Wednesday 25th February – 1

  • Concerns about landlords checking the immigration status of tenants – 1

  • Multiple Sclerosis – 1

  • Support the Medical Innovation (Private Member’s) Bill – 1

  • Allegations of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) hacking SIM card manufacturers – 1

  • Support the work of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) – 1

  • Support a Public Service Users Bill – 1

  • Labour’s proposals for GP access – 1

  • Attend rally in Parliament on Leveson on Wednesday 25th February – 1

  • Radioactive waste regulations – 1

     

Policy issues raised by constituents in Camberwell and Peckham

During February constituents in Camberwell and Peckham have sent me 434 emails on 77 different policy issues – from tax avoidance to unlicensed puppy breeding.  Here’s a full breakdown of the...


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