Harriet Harman

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

Current News

 

Financial Protection for People on Heat Networks

 

10th August 2022

Whilst the Conservative Party is bogged down in internal political crisis, the Government is not functioning and people in Camberwell and Peckham, already struggling with the very real cost of living crisis, face even higher bills. But even though the Government is in crisis, they must take action to ensure people are not left anxious and unable to pay their bills.

The cost of living crisis is hitting people with soaring inflation, petrol and food increases and above all rocketing energy costs. Latest figures show that consumers already owe £1.3bn to energy suppliers, and this is before bills are expected to jump by over 80% in the Autumn. Households are projected to face annual energy bills of up to £4,200 next January. And inflation hits the poorest families in the UK hardest, because they spend more of their total budget on gas and electricity than the better off.

The crisis therefore hits particularly hard in Camberwell and Peckham where more people are on tight budgets. We have a higher percentage of people on low incomes than the regional average and the constituency is in the top 15% nationally for the proportion of people relying on Universal Credit. People just aren’t able to afford sudden price increases for things that are essential to their daily lives. And this crisis will not only hit individuals and their families but also the local economy in Camberwell and Peckham, as local people will have far less money in their pockets to spend in shops and in the local community.

In light of these price increases it is even more scandalous energy company profits and their payouts to shareholders and bonuses to top executives have soared. BP announced its profits had tripled to £6.9bn between April and June this year, and that it would be handing out £4bn to shareholders as a result. The BP Chief Executive took home £4.5m in 2021 alone. These profits show Labour was right to repeatedly call for a windfall tax on energy companies, something which the Government only reluctantly did after a U-turn following political pressure from the Opposition, and it shows how totally wrong it is that the Government has given big tax cuts to oil companies. Labour would abolish these tax cuts and use the money to help insulate people’s homes to help them cut their energy costs.

In the face of this looming crisis, the Government has done nothing to assure people that they will get the support they need to afford the basics this Autumn. That is why I strongly back calls from Labour former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for an emergency budget before the UK hits a “financial timebomb”. Only this can stop millions being pushed into poverty and debt when energy prices rise again in October. I also strongly agree with Labour leader Keir Starmer that the Government should cut VAT on gas and electricity bills now. Taxes on low income people should also never have been raised and the Government should scrap their National Insurance tax increase, which they promised in their manifesto they wouldn’t do but which came into effect in April this year, just when people could least afford it and hitting hardest those who can least afford it.

The Labour Party is putting forward workable policies which would make a difference to people’s lives right away when they need Government support most. So far neither of the two candidates to be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister has put forward a credible and clear plan to help those most in need and the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is rejecting calls to get a grip of the situation. But a crisis in the Conservative Party and a crisis in Government cannot mean that people are left without support in the face of mounting debt and a struggle to afford the basics for themselves and their families. The Prime Minister and the leadership candidates must act now before it is too late.

The Government must act now on the cost of living crisis

10th August 2022 Whilst the Conservative Party is bogged down in internal political crisis, the Government is not functioning and people in Camberwell and Peckham, already struggling with the very...

 

 

You can read my submission to Transport for London's Central London Bus Review here

Stop the bus cuts in Camberwell and Peckham - submission to the Central London Bus Review

    You can read my submission to Transport for London's Central London Bus Review here. 

You can read my 2021/2022 annual report here

Parliamentary Annual Report 2021/2022

You can read my 2021/2022 annual report here. 

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), which I chair, has published its report into the adoption of the children of unmarried women in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. You can read our report here, and you can read more about the inquiry here.

Joint Committee on Human Rights: The Violation of Family Life: Adoption of Children of Unmarried Women 1949–1976

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), which I chair, has published its report into the adoption of the children of unmarried women in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. You...

 

 

You can read my June 2022 report here

Parliamentary Report June 2022

    You can read my June 2022 report here. 

You can read my April and May 2022 report here

Parliamentary April and May Report 2022

You can read my April and May 2022 report here. 

You can read my Spring 2022 report here

 

Parliamentary Spring Report 2022

You can read my Spring 2022 report here.   

You can read my December 2021 monthly report here

 

Parliamentary December Report 2021

You can read my December 2021 monthly report here.   

 

You can read my November 2021 monthly report here

Parliamentary November Report 2021

  You can read my November 2021 monthly report here

You can read my October 2021 monthly report here

Parliamentary October Report 2021

You can read my October 2021 monthly report here

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You can read my summer 2021 report here.

Parliamentary Summer Report 2021

You can read my summer 2021 report here.

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You can read my Parliamentary Special Report on the Afghanistan Crisis here.

Afghanistan Crisis - Parliamentary Special Report

You can read my Parliamentary Special Report on the Afghanistan Crisis here.

The Government must increase the 5,000 Afghanistan Resettlement Scheme cap – My question to the Foreign Secretary.

You can watch my speech here.

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The Government doesn't even know how many Afghans have asked to come to the UK under the scheme for those threatened by the Taliban.

My speech in full:

Ms Harriet Harman

(Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab)

I thank the Foreign Secretary for his statement. May I ask him about the number of requests the Government have already had in respect of Afghan citizens who do not qualify for the ARAP scheme as they did not work directly for us, but who want and need to flee here from Afghanistan and have already asked? I know that the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme is not yet open, but he must already know how many have, through Members of this House or other organisations, already asked to come here because of the Taliban. Can he tell us how many have done so? How will the Government decide who is going to get into the 5,000 cap? The criteria for the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme are yet to be announced, but we know that it is for those who are highly vulnerable to the Taliban because of what they have done in support of the values we and the previous regime were committed to, in particular, women and girls, equality, democracy and human rights. There are bound to be so many more than 5,000, so how will the Government in practice decide between those who will be the lucky 5,000 and be allowed to come here, and those who, although meeting the criteria, will, because of the 5,000 cap, be refused and face a terrible fate at the hands of the Taliban? The reality is that the unless the Government increase the 5,000 cap, the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme is going to end up as a lottery of life and death.

Dominic Raab

I know how passionate the right hon. and learned Lady is about this issue and how assiduous she has been on it. It is difficult to give a precise number of the applications and claims, not least because there is some duplication in the multiple emails and correspondence we have had. She is right to say—frankly, this would be true even if we doubled or tripled the quota—that the number of people who flee Afghanistan is going to outstrip what the UK would be able to take alone. That means that we need to look very carefully at the criteria, as the Home Secretary and I are doing across Government, to make sure that we prioritise the most vulnerable and those with a particular link to the UK, as well as co-ordinating with the United Nations. Further details will be set out by the Home Secretary.

As I mentioned earlier, the UK is doing our bit, alongside the aid we are providing, including to support third countries that take refugees. The UK will not be able to deal with the demand alone—of course we would not do so—but by taking action and showing leadership, we will help to corral and cajole other countries to follow suit. That is how we will have a comprehensive and effective response to the Afghanistan situation.

Afghanistan Statement - Foreign Secretary

The Government must increase the 5,000 Afghanistan Resettlement Scheme cap – My question to the Foreign Secretary. You can watch my speech here. The Government doesn't even know how many Afghans...

Today in Parliament I urged the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to do all that is possible to rescue UK nationals, including Camberwell and Peckham constituents stranded in Kabul.

The UK has a moral obligation to evacuate those who worked with and for us and called for a generous refugee resettlement. Read my speech in the Afghanistan debate below and click here to watch.

Courageous Afghan women are standing their ground. If the Foreign Secretary wants to help, don't just speak to men. Pick up the phone to those women, ask them what we can do and then do it!

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11.19am
Ms Harriet Harman 
(Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab)

It is an honour to follow the Father of the House.

I strongly agree with what was said by the Leader of the Opposition and by the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), who speaks with the experience of having served as Prime Minister. I particularly agree with what she said about the threat of terrorism and the need fully to reinstate our aid budget, the issues for NATO and the proud legacy of our troops.

We have all looked on in horror as the events in Afghanistan have unfolded. I join everyone who is urging the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to do everything they can to help UK nationals, including my constituents, who are stranded and in hiding in Kabul, desperately needing to get back home to the UK. We urgently need to evacuate those who worked with us, who thereby feel that they are vulnerable and to whom we have a moral obligation. The Government are setting up a refugee resettlement programme. I urge them to make a realistic and generous assessment of the scale of the need and to work with all local authorities that want to play their part in giving a warm welcome to those who are fleeing. The Government also need to work, of course, with NATO countries and more widely on an international resettlement programme.

We need to think about those who cannot or do not want to leave, particularly women and girls. When the Taliban were last in control, there were literally no girls in school. Now—at least, up until the Taliban took over again—40% of schoolchildren are girls; over the last 20 years, there has been a whole generation of girls who have been educated, and a whole cohort of young women who have been able to work and want to continue to do so.

When the Taliban were last in control, there were no women in public life—no women to speak up for other women. Women were silenced. Now there are 69 women Afghan MPs. Indeed, three years ago, one of them—Elay Ershad—came to this Chamber to speak from the Front Bench while participating in our Women MPs of the World conference, and was welcomed by the former Prime Minister to No. 10 Downing Street. The President has fled but Elay is staying in Kabul with her daughters, in solidarity, she says, with her people. What courage. The Afghan army has retreated, but so many Afghan women are standing their ground. All those women politicians and activists are determined not to let the progress of the last two decades be crushed. They now face great jeopardy. I know that the whole House, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will express publicly our solidarity with and admiration for Afghan women MPs, who, as parliamentary pioneers—having stepped forward into public life to make a reality of democracy for that half of the population of Afghanistan who are women and girls—are now, in the face of such an uncertain future, determined to protect and defend those rights.

As to what we can do, I would say: do not just listen to the male leaders about what we need to do for women. I say to the Foreign Secretary, do not just speak to the men; pick up the phone to those women Afghan MPs, ask them what we can do to support women and girls in Afghanistan, and then do it.

Afghanistan debate - Recall of Parliament

Today in Parliament I urged the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to do all that is possible to rescue UK nationals, including Camberwell and Peckham...

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175 Westminster women MPs pledge support for the 69 Afghan women MPs. They are standing their ground and fighting for women and girls and democracy. Read my letter here.

Westminster women MPs pledge support for Afghan women MPs

175 Westminster women MPs pledge support for the 69 Afghan women MPs. They are standing their ground and fighting for women and girls and democracy. Read my letter here.

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You can read my 2020/2021 Parliamentary Annual Report here.

Parliamentary Annual Report 2020/2021

You can read my 2020/2021 Parliamentary Annual Report here.

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Read the 10 Point Plan To Get There.

The UK is a hugely important venue for EU artists. With world -famous music festivals, orchestras, and concert halls, to list just a few, the UK is a central destination not just for performers but also audiences. 12.6 million tourists are drawn to the UK every year for festivals and gigs during the course of which they spend £4.7bn, and sustain over 45,000 jobs in music tourism.

The restrictions in place upon EU musicians travelling and working effectively in the UK puts at risk the vibrancy of the UK music scene, as well as affecting all those who rely on the live music industry for their livelihoods. The visa requirements are bureaucratic and compared to those that EU musicians face elsewhere in Europe make travelling and performing here a much less appealing prospect.

By restricting those who can perform in the UK, inevitably what is on offer to audiences will be impoverished. Our arts and culture benefits from the cross fertilisation of the interaction between UK and EU artists, and EU artists enrich our own cultural environment. This is now at risk.

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Visa- and Permit-Free Access to the EU for Touring Musicians: A necessity for the UK’s music

Read the 10 Point Plan To Get There. The UK is a hugely important venue for EU artists. With world -famous music festivals, orchestras, and concert halls, to list just a...

Covid_11.jpgRead my eleventh Coronavirus Crisis Report here.

Coronavirus Crisis Parliamentary Report 11

Read my eleventh Coronavirus Crisis Report here.

Covid_10.jpg

Read my tenth Coronavirus Crisis Report here.

Coronavirus Crisis Parliamentary Report 10

Read my tenth Coronavirus Crisis Report here.

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