Harriet Harman

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

Policy Issues

A number of people have contacted about the difficulty of older people in getting to and from hospital appointments. I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about the restrictions on the use of Freedom passes for disabled people.

Mobility to access health appointments is essential for the wellbeing of older people, however Tory cuts are making it increasingly difficult for older people to access the healthcare they need. Deep cuts of almost 50% to local government budgets has forced local councils to cut dedicated transport options for older people as well as support for local bus services. The £22 billion worth of cuts to the NHS by 2020 has similarly forced local trusts to make up the losses with new revenues, including hospital parking charges.

A Labour Government would take action to combat the problems older people face in getting to and from hospital. Our commitment to supporting municipal not-for-profit bus companies will stop insufficient profit margins being an obstacle to bus coverage and will improve bus regularity. A Labour Government would also abolish hospital parking charges.

I will continue to work with Labour colleagues to put pressure on the Government to better fund public transportation and dedicated services for our older people.

Government Must Do More to Help Older People Get to Hospital Appointments

A number of people have contacted about the difficulty of older people in getting to and from hospital appointments. I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris...

Many constituents have contacted me to express their concerns surrounding funding of the NHS.

As always when there’s a Tory government the NHS suffers. The Tories have cut investment in the NHS by £22bn – waiting times for A & E are growing, cancer targets have been missed for the last 3 years and in recent weeks the government has been sent stark messages from the frontline of our public services, including the Chief Executive of the NHS, warning that 5 million people will be left on waiting lists by 2020/21 if additional funding is not found in this Budget.

A quarter of nurses are forced to take a second job just to be able to make ends meet yet this Government’s plans will mean per head NHS spending is due to fall next year. For many who have dedicated their lives to public service and our NHS, the strain is becoming too much to bare. They feel they have no alternative but to leave the profession and the combination of cuts and Brexit uncertainty means the NHS now faces the worst recruitment crisis in its history. Our public services cannot function without staff, and they cannot function well unless those staff are properly rewarded – that’s why Labour are calling on the Chancellor to end the public sector pay cap right across the health service. 

A Labour Government would invest £30 billion in the NHS over the next Parliament. This would allow us to guarantee that all patients can be seen in A&E within the four hour waiting time target and guarantee access to treatment within 18 weeks – reducing the waiting list for surgery by over a million.

Please be assured my Labour colleagues and I are doing all we can to call on the Government to use next week’s Budget to give the NHS the real terms increase in funding it desperately needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact me again. 

Government Must Provide the NHS with the Funds it Desperately Needs

Many constituents have contacted me to express their concerns surrounding funding of the NHS. As always when there’s a Tory government the NHS suffers. The Tories have cut investment in...

This Bill is not about whether we leave the EU, it’s about how we leave the EU. The Government want us to vote through a Bill which would give the Government the power to bypass Parliament. Despite all the rhetoric in the Referendum being about “taking back control” – the EU Bill would take power from Brussels, not to give it to our democratically elected House of Commons but to give it to Ministers without any accountability to Parliament. As Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has said this is “an unprecedented Government power grab” and that is why I and my Labour colleagues voted strongly against it at Second Reading on 11th September 2017.

Labour have been clear that the Bill the Government have put forward is not fit for purpose. It concentrates power in the hands of Ministers with too little parliamentary scrutiny. That is why Keir Starmer has tabled dozens of amendments to attempt to stop the Government’s power grab and I have added my name to these.

Whilst it is not yet clear which amendments will be voted on, Labour have made it clear that we are willing to work across the House to improve this Bill and support amendments which would restrict the scope of ministerial powers to ensure that vital regulations and protections are enforced.

Please be assured that when the Bill comes back to the House that is what I will do.

Opposing Government Power Grab - European Union Withdrawal Bill

This Bill is not about whether we leave the EU, it’s about how we leave the EU. The Government want us to vote through a Bill which would give the...

A number of people have contacted me about the important issue of Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. I am very concerned this and have signed EDM 128 calling on the Government to ensure the right of Parliament to properly scrutinise and have a meaningful vote on new trade deals.

Future trade deals after Brexit should not lead to a race to the bottom. Britain should seek to use trade deals to maintain and build on standards. It is important that Parliament is given proper time to scrutinise deals.

The Government want to muddle through behind closed doors when actually it would be better for them to face up to the fact that Parliament’s involvement will make a perilous situation better.

This is all unprecedented – no country has left the EU before, no country has ever turned its back on its largest trading bloc. I together with fellow Labour MPs will be looking to protect the country as best we can.  

I will continue to work with my Labour colleagues to ensure the power of Parliament and regulatory protections are not undermined as we leave the European Union and enter into new trade agreements.  

Parliamentary Scrutiny of New Trade Deals

A number of people have contacted me about the important issue of Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. I am very concerned this and have signed EDM 128 calling on the Government...

Many constituents have contacted me about the important issue of cuts to children's services and campaigns by The Children’s Society.

I share concerns that the Government is not doing enough to help vulnerable young people. The Tories have cut local authority budgets, including in Southwark, by almost 50% since 2010, – forcing counselling and support services to be scaled back and youth clubs to close. I was extremely disappointed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, failed to provide any additional funding for children’s services in the recent Autumn Budget.

The Government’s cuts and benefit changes have forced more children into poverty – almost four million children in the UK today live in relative poverty and a third of families struggle to pay the bills. This means children going hungry, being cold in their homes and lacking school essentials.

The last Labour Government prioritised the welfare of vulnerable children and lifted a million children out of poverty. The next Labour Government will do so again through:

  • The introduction of a new Child Poverty Strategy,
  • Raising the minimum wage to a living wage of £10 an hour to improve living standards for children in the most disadvantaged families
  • Reforming Universal Credit
  • Introducing universal free school meals
  • Providing greater support to children from low income families and working to close the attainment gap between children from different backgrounds by investing £90 million per year in school-based counselling and cutting class sizes.

I will continue to work with my Labour colleagues to put pressure on the Government to do more to help the most disadvantaged children.

Government Must Do More to Protect Child Services

Many constituents have contacted me about the important issue of cuts to children's services and campaigns by The Children’s Society. I share concerns that the Government is not doing enough to...

Many constituents have contacted about the important issue of breeding cages for pheasants and partridges. The conditions in which these animals are kept is inhumane. The Animal Welfare Act states that it is an offence if a person fails to ensure that the needs of an animal are met to an extent required by good practice. These needs include the need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and a suitable environment. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ guide to breeding animals states that barren cages for breeding pheasants should not be used. The government needs to ensure that all breeders in the UK conform to these regulations.

The last Labour Government achieved much to end the cruel and unnecessary suffering of animals: the banning of hunting with dogs, securing an end to cosmetic testing on animals, banning fur farming and introducing the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The current Conservative Government must do more to enforce policies that were implemented to improve animal welfare standards, and Labour will continue to hold them to account on this. 

Ban on Breeding Cages for Pheasants and Partridges

Many constituents have contacted about the important issue of breeding cages for pheasants and partridges. The conditions in which these animals are kept is inhumane. The Animal Welfare Act states...

A number of people have contacted me about the growing issue of children going hungry during the school holidays.

It is unacceptable that 3 million children are at risk of going hungry during the school holidays as a result of stagnant pay and the Tories’ withdrawal of free-school meals outside term time. The scale of the problem was demonstrated the Trussell Trust reporting a significant rise in demand from food banks over the summer holidays last year - with 67,506 three-day emergency food supplies distributed in July and August 2016, compared with 63,094 in the previous months.

Holiday hunger is devastating to a child’s life chances and worsens income inequality. Poorer children are at risk of starting the school term malnourished, sluggish and several weeks, if not months behind other children.

I fully support Frank Field MP’s bill to require local authorities to facilitate the delivery of programmes that provide free meals and activities for children during school holidays and to call on the government to give local councils the money they need to support children in poverty and meet the growing demand.

Without action, it is expected that over 5 million children will live in poverty by 2020. A Labour Government would work to end the scandal of child poverty through the introduction of a new Child Poverty Strategy, raising the minimum wage to a real living wage of £10 an hour, pausing and reforming the disastrous Universal Credit rollout and introducing universal free school meals. 

Government Must Do More to Combat Child Hunger

A number of people have contacted me about the growing issue of children going hungry during the school holidays. It is unacceptable that 3 million children are at risk of...

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