Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House.

Current News

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Campaigning in Peckham on Thursday 1st May with Cllrs Cleo Soanes, Chris Brown and Barrie Hargrove, candidate Johnson Situ and local members.

Campaigning in Peckham - 1/5/14

Campaigning in Peckham on Thursday 1st May with Cllrs Cleo Soanes, Chris Brown and Barrie Hargrove, candidate Johnson Situ and local members.

Today, at Culture, Media and Sport questions in the House of Commons, I welcomed Sajid Javid to his new role as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and asked him to intervene with the Education Department to make the case for music in schools:

Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab): I add my congratulations to the right hon. Member for Bromsgrove (Sajid Javid) on his promotion. His elevation to a seat at the Cabinet table sends out a strong signal that in this country, our politics must be for people from all communities, all ethnicities and all walks of life, and I wish him well in his job.

As the right hon. Gentleman takes over leadership of this important Department, we will be urging him to fight hard for the arts and to promote the crucial role that the BBC plays in the cultural life of this country. I want to ask him about young people and music. Creativity is being squeezed out of the curriculum; fewer pupils are taking music at GCSE and A-level; music services have been cut by almost 30%; and now the Department for Education wants to cut a further 12% of music resources available to schools through the education services grant. Will he intervene with the Education Secretary and make the case for music in schools?

Sajid Javid: I thank the right hon. and learned Lady for her warm welcome. The work that she did when in government, especially on equalities, has had a lasting impact and I welcome much of it. Music and arts in schools are important, and I have already had a discussion with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education on that issue. Action that we have already taken, such as ring-fencing funding for music in schools, is very helpful, but I want to see whether there is more we can do.

DCMS Questions - 01/05/2014

Today, at Culture, Media and Sport questions in the House of Commons, I welcomed Sajid Javid to his new role as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and...

HH Launch

In Redbridge, 500 local members joined together to launch Labour’s Local & European election campaign for 2014.
We were joined by Councillor Jas Athwal, Labour Group leader in Redbridge and Wes Streeting, Parliamentary prospective candidate for Ilford North.

Launch of local & European elections 2014 – Redbridge - 01/05/20

In Redbridge, 500 local members joined together to launch Labour’s Local & European election campaign for 2014. We were joined by Councillor Jas Athwal, Labour Group leader in Redbridge and... Read more

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On Saturday morning I celebrated the 100th anniversary of 'Arment's' Pie & Mash Shop in Westmoreland Road, Walworth. Great turnout from the local community. Thanks to owners Roy and Cheryl for such a great day.

Celebrating 'Arments' Centenary in Walworth - 12/04/2014

On Saturday morning I celebrated the 100th anniversary of 'Arment's' Pie & Mash Shop in Westmoreland Road, Walworth. Great turnout from the local community. Thanks to owners Roy and Cheryl... Read more

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We were joined by Labour councillors and Labour Party members. On Saturday I was out campaigning with Southwark Labour Party members in Rotherhithe.

Campaigning in Rotherhithe - 12/04/2014

We were joined by Labour councillors and Labour Party members. On Saturday I was out campaigning with Southwark Labour Party members in Rotherhithe.

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This morning I visited Canada Water Library & Culture Space with Council Leader Peter John, Council Lead for Culture & Arts Veronica Ward and Aine Gallagher. It's one of Southwark Council's flagship libraries which recently celebrated its one millionth visitor. Since opening in November 2011 the library has had a monthly average of 37,000 visitors and provides not only as a popular learning space for the local community, but also a cultural space which hosts live music, theatre and author events. Thanks to Pam Usher and Linda Foster for showing us around.

Canada Water Library & Culture Space - 10/04/2014

This morning I visited Canada Water Library & Culture Space with Council Leader Peter John, Council Lead for Culture & Arts Veronica Ward and Aine Gallagher. It's one of Southwark... Read more

Southwark Council is right to be setting up a Childcare Commission, chaired by local MP Tessa Jowell, to look at how all families can have access to good quality, affordable, flexible childcare. For all the progress on childcare made in recent decades, that is slipping back under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. Something needs to be done.

Since 2010, there are more children under 5 in Southwark but fewer childcare places. 15 hours a week free childcare is just not enough for many mothers to get a job or work the hours they need.  And childcare is too expensive for many families. The average cost of a part time nursery place in Camberwell & Peckham for a child under 5 is £110 a week. For a mother on average local earnings this is almost 40% of her pay on childcare. And some parents have to give up work and rely on benefits.  As mothers, whose pay has stagnated, save money by cutting back on the hours of childcare they use, they rely more on a patchwork of family and friends.  And this undermines the continuity of care for the child.

Many parents have let me know the problems they have trying to balance work and childcare. For example, a self-employed single mother of 2 children from Peckham told me that the 15 free hours don’t offer enough flexibility to allow her to expand her mobile hairdressing business. So she has had to reduce her working hours to look after her children – just like her mother had to.

A mother of 3 children from Camberwell said that she had left her senior role in a national charity to become a professional child minder and look after her own children at the same time because she couldn’t make work pay and afford the childcare she needed.

When I first became an MP in the 1980's, one of the biggest complaints from local mothers bringing up young children on their own was the lack of childcare. There were no community nurseries and no help with the cost of the very few private nurseries, or with the cost of childminders.

When we got in to government in 1997, our National Childcare Strategy – through childcare tax credits, Sure Start Centres and nurseries in the NHS and colleges – led to a massive increase in childcare provision.

Today the Government is cutting back on childcare tax credit - which helps parents pay nursery or childminders fees - and the Government Grant to Southwark for children services like Sure Start. The price is being paid by children and parents and a growing benefit bill.

That's why Southwark Council is working hard to protect children's services and why we, if we get back into government, will guarantee parents 25 hours free childcare.

Southwark News column: Childcare in Camberwell & Peckham - 10/4/2014

Southwark Council is right to be setting up a Childcare Commission, chaired by local MP Tessa Jowell, to look at how all families can have access to good quality, affordable,...

Milton Keynes Launch_10042014

Over 150 people attended the launch of Labour’s Milton Keynes Local Election campaign at the MK Academy in Leadenhall last night.  These are very important elections for Milton Keynes with all 57 councillors up for election on the newly expanded Milton Keynes Council.

Launching Labour’s Milton Keynes Local Election Campaign – 09/04

Over 150 people attended the launch of Labour’s Milton Keynes Local Election campaign at the MK Academy in Leadenhall last night.  These are very important elections for Milton Keynes with... Read more

KieronBryan

Today Kieron Bryan, a freelance journalist who was detained in Russia after his arrest with Greenpeace activists in September 2013, visited Parliament with his brother Russell and his parents Ann and Andy. Chris Bryant MP, who also campaigned to free Kieron, joined us.

In Parliament I led a campaign to free Kieron, who lives in Peckham, as he was employed on a short-term contract to document a protest and was not a threat to the Russian state. Kieron spent two months in detention and one month on bail until the charges were dropped in December last year and he was allowed to return home to his family. We talked about Kieron's experience in Russia and his future journalism plans.

Meeting Kieron Bryan - 09/04/2014

Today Kieron Bryan, a freelance journalist who was detained in Russia after his arrest with Greenpeace activists in September 2013, visited Parliament with his brother Russell and his parents Ann...

Every week people ask me for help with housing problems, and for a lot of people the biggest concern is the cost. Whether they’re young people who’ve grown up in Southwark and want to find a place of their own, young couples hoping to start a family or people who’ve found jobs in Southwark and need to find somewhere to live, there is a pressing need for homes that people can afford.
 
With over 20,000 people on the council housing waiting list, and house prices sky high, many turn to the private rented sector. Because Southwark is so close to the centre of London the average cost of a privately rented two bed flat is £2,000 a month. Such high rents mean that many local people are forced to move away.
 
Here are some examples of people who’ve recently contacted me about their housing problems with renting in the private sector
 
-A lone mother and her teenage daughter were evicted from their Peckham flat.  She’d had many problems with the flat, including damp and mould as well as faulty electrics, and asked her landlord to deal with these problems. He didn't and instead he evicted them. They've been looking for a new home ever since but can’t find anywhere they can afford. She works as a care assistant and her hours are changeable so many landlords are reluctant to let to her. They are now living in a hostel as she continues to look for a new home.
 
-A couple who have lived in their Walworth home for over 20 years face eviction as their private landlord has decided to sell the property. The couple, a student and a part time cleaner, don’t know how they are going to find an affordable home with rents as high as £1,500 a month for a one bedroom flat in their area. Their landlord has agreed to let them stay while they look for somewhere else but they will have to move away from Walworth to an area where rents are cheaper.

-A lone mother from East Dulwich with an 11 year old son faced eviction last year because her landlord raised their rent from £850 to £1,100 a month. She couldn't afford this increase as she works part time as a sales assistant at Argos, and she couldn’t find anywhere else in the local area that she could afford. She didn't want to move away from her friends, her job and her son’s school but in the end she had no choice. She found an affordable home in Croydon but had to uproot her family and find a new school for her son.
 
London is facing a housing crisis, with a chronic lack of affordable housing across the capital. Under this Government, the situation is getting worse with cuts to housing benefit and not enough new houses being built. As the need grows, it gets even harder for the Council to help people with their housing.  So it is all credit to Southwark Council that they are tackling this by clamping down on bad landlords and building 11,000 new homes - when the Lib Dems ran the Council, they only built one new home! This is the most ambitious social house building programme anywhere in the country.
 
The next Labour government will deal with the chronic insecurity of Britain’s private rental market. We will stop sky high rent increases and make long term tenancies the standard. This is Labour’s fair deal for rented housing - so that people can settle down, know where their children will go to school, and know they won’t be priced out of their home.
 

Southwark News column: Housing in the private rented sector - 8/

Every week people ask me for help with housing problems, and for a lot of people the biggest concern is the cost. Whether they’re young people who’ve grown up in...

Door Knock

This evening I joined Jo Baxter, Cllrs Mark Glover & Nick Dolezal and council candidates Jamille Mohammed and Jasmine Ali to campaign on the doorstop of Gordon Road in Lane ward.

Campaigning in Lane Ward - SE15 - 03/04/2014

This evening I joined Jo Baxter, Cllrs Mark Glover & Nick Dolezal and council candidates Jamille Mohammed and Jasmine Ali to campaign on the doorstop of Gordon Road in Lane... Read more

Door Knock

This evening I joined Jo Baxter, Cllrs Mark Glover & Nick Dolezal and council candidates Jamille Mohammed and Jasmine Ali to campaign on the doorstop of Gordon Road in Lane ward.

Campaigning in Lane Ward - 03/04/2014

This evening I joined Jo Baxter, Cllrs Mark Glover & Nick Dolezal and council candidates Jamille Mohammed and Jasmine Ali to campaign on the doorstop of Gordon Road in Lane... Read more

Creative Writing_04042014

In Carlisle, in the run up to the Council elections in 2012, one of the Labour group’s central pledges was to create a vibrant arts and culture hub to help the economic recovery of the city. I joined Lee Sherriff, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Carlisle and Colin Glover, Leader of the Council to see the Old Fire Station as work gets underway to create a new £1million art venue for the city. Whilst I was there I met with some of the creative groups who are already using the venue.

Arts and Culture in Carlisle – 03/04/2014

In Carlisle, in the run up to the Council elections in 2012, one of the Labour group’s central pledges was to create a vibrant arts and culture hub to help... Read more

Canvassing Carlisle_04042014

On 10th April there will be a County Council by-election in Belle Vue ward in Carlisle. I joined Labour’s candidate Christine Bowditch, Lee Sherriff, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate and Labour members for campaigning in the area. People on the doorstep raised the lack of jobs for young people, and rising costs to their food and energy bills.

Campaigning in Carlisle – 03/04/2014

On 10th April there will be a County Council by-election in Belle Vue ward in Carlisle. I joined Labour’s candidate Christine Bowditch, Lee Sherriff, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate and Labour members...

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Today I met with the Leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Peter John. We discussed the regeneration plans for Peckham, local policing, school choice, childcare and the Council's future plans re: housing, education and public health.

Meeting Southwark Council Leader Peter John - 31/3/2014

   Today I met with the Leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Peter John. We discussed the regeneration plans for Peckham, local policing, school choice, childcare and the Council's future plans...

Summit

Over 100 women attended the Welsh Women's summit ahead of Welsh Conference today.

Welsh Women's Summit - Wales Conference - 28/03/2014

Over 100 women attended the Welsh Women's summit ahead of Welsh Conference today. Read more

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations and recruitment, and police engagement with young people and community stakeholders.

Meeting Southwark Police Borough Commander Zander Gibson - 26/03

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations...

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations and recruitment, and police engagement with young people and community stakeholders.

Meeting Southwark Police Borough Commander - 26/3/14

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations...

Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, responding to questions about Labour’s position on proposed amendments in the Deregulation Bill covering decriminalisation of non-payment of the BBC’s licence fee, said:

“The BBC is an institution of enormous importance to our culture.  It is loved in this country and admired around the world.  We need to maintain funding for the BBC.  But no one wants to see people in prison for non-payment of the television licence fee. 

“That’s why Labour will support these amendments on decriminalisation, but on condition that any decision is taken after a comprehensive review so that the funding of the BBC is not undermined. 

“Labour believes the licence fee is key to the independence of the BBC and remains the best funding model.”

Ends

BBC - Statement re decriminalisation of non payment of the license fee

Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, responding to questions about Labour’s position on proposed amendments in the Deregulation Bill covering decriminalisation of non-payment of the BBC’s licence fee, said:...

PMQs 13032014

Today I challenged Nick Clegg on tuition fees following research that shows that the trebling of tuition fees is on course to cost the taxpayer more than the system it replaced. The full exchange is below. 

Challenging Nick Clegg on Tuition Fees – 25/03/2014

Today I challenged Nick Clegg on tuition fees following research that shows that the trebling of tuition fees is on course to cost the taxpayer more than the system it... Read more

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