Harriet Harman

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

Current News

The world renowned artist and sculptor Anish Kapoor has worked in Camberwell for over 25 years. This morning I visited his studios and saw a number of interesting works in progress. We talked about how important it is that everyone - especially young people - has access to the arts, and the role schools can play in encouraging children to explore and develop their creativity.

Visit to Anish Kapoor's Camberwell Studios

The world renowned artist and sculptor Anish Kapoor has worked in Camberwell for over 25 years. This morning I visited his studios and saw a number of interesting works in progress. We talked...

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Sacred Heart secondary school in Camberwell has recently opened its new school building. This morning I visited the new school with Serge Cefai, the Head Teacher. I addressed the 6th form in their morning assembly and talked about the importance of young people engaging with the political process. I also had the opportunity to meet 6th form politics students who asked some very tough questions about the economy, gender equality, and democracy. Thanks to Tom Spreyer, Head of Politics, for arranging this event.

Visiting Sacred Heart School in Camberwell

Sacred Heart secondary school in Camberwell has recently opened its new school building. This morning I visited the new school with Serge Cefai, the Head Teacher. I addressed the 6th form...

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Today I attended the Trade Union Group’s Christmas reception, celebrating the work done by our Trade Union MPs and the Unions, as well as taking a look at the incredibly important year ahead. Speeches were made by Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, Paul Kenny, General Secretary of the GMB, Jo Stevens, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in Cardiff Central, and Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC. I spoke about the significance of trade unions to the Labour Party, and how important they are to millions of working people across the country. I also took the opportunity to thank Frank Doran MP, who is stepping down from Parliament in 2015, for his service to both the Labour Party and the trade union movement. The event was hosted by Ian Lavery MP, Chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs.

Speaking at Trade Union Group’s Christmas Reception

Today I attended the Trade Union Group’s Christmas reception, celebrating the work done by our Trade Union MPs and the Unions, as well as taking a look at the incredibly... Read more

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This afternoon I joined residents of the Walworth Estate for their Christmas lunch at St. Peter's Church in Walworth. Thanks to Henry and Margaret from the Tenants & Residents Association for organising a great event.

Christmas lunch with Walworth residents

This afternoon I joined residents of the Walworth Estate for their Christmas lunch at St. Peter's Church in Walworth. Thanks to Henry and Margaret from the Tenants & Residents Association...

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This morning I met with Dr. Jonty Heaversedge (Chair), Dr. Sian Howell (Clinical Lead for Primary Care Development) and Andrew Bland (Chief Officer) from Southwark CCG to discuss their plans for improving healthcare for people in Southwark. We talked about GP access, winter planning for A&E, and mental health services.

Improving healthcare in Southwark

This morning I met with Dr. Jonty Heaversedge (Chair), Dr. Sian Howell (Clinical Lead for Primary Care Development) and Andrew Bland (Chief Officer) from Southwark CCG to discuss their plans for improving...

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Please read my 2014 annual report here.

 

Annual Report 2014

Please read my 2014 annual report here.  

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This year’s Labour regional conference was held in Hammersmith and Fulham – a council won by Labour from the Tories in this year’s local elections.  Over 350 members, MPs, Parliamentary Candidates, Trade Unions, Councillors, Assembly members and MEPs joined at the town hall to discuss the forthcoming General Election, sharing how Labour is standing up for their communities in tough times and what we would do in Government to address the cost of living crisis and make a real difference to the lives of people in London.  I spoke about the policies a Labour Government would bring in including on childcare, energy prices, immigration and to protect the NHS. Labour has the policies, people and politics – next May’s General Election is one Labour can and must win.

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London Regional Conference in Hammersmith

This year’s Labour regional conference was held in Hammersmith and Fulham – a council won by Labour from the Tories in this year’s local elections.  Over 350 members, MPs, Parliamentary Candidates,... Read more

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Today I met with Councillor Victoria Mills, Southwark Council Cabinet Member for Children & Schools and Merrill Haeusler, Director of Children's Services. We talked about the Council's support for local schools in Camberwell and Peckham and how we can work to improve parental choice and the transition from primary to secondary.

Improving Local Schools

Today I met with Councillor Victoria Mills, Southwark Council Cabinet Member for Children & Schools and Merrill Haeusler, Director of Children's Services. We talked about the Council's support for local schools in Camberwell and...

Gordon Brown will be remembered as one of the political giants of his generation. He was pivotal - along with Tony Blair - in bringing Labour out of the wilderness of 18 years of opposition.  History will also recognise his global leadership as the developed world quaked in the face of the global financial crisis.  Gordon Brown's leadership ensured that the USA and Europe - as well as the UK - took the action necessary to back up the banks and prevent the crisis turning into a crash.  He brought the issue of tackling global poverty in to the centre of our political agenda and put public resources into the increases in childcare and maternity pay that working women need. He inspired passionate support in the Labour Party - not least in Scotland - and I wish him well for a future which will undoubtedly see him continue to use his global stature to support progressive causes.

Gordon Brown - One of the political giants of his generation

Gordon Brown will be remembered as one of the political giants of his generation. He was pivotal - along with Tony Blair - in bringing Labour out of the wilderness of...

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Joining many people on sunny Camberwell Green in support of bringing the Tube to Camberwell and Peckham.

Rally for the Bakerloo Line in Camberwell and Peckham

  Joining many people on sunny Camberwell Green in support of bringing the Tube to Camberwell and Peckham.

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Joining local Labour Party members and councillors to talk to residents in Livesey about the issues they are concerned about.

Campaigning in Livesey

  Joining local Labour Party members and councillors to talk to residents in Livesey about the issues they are concerned about.

If you look at a tube map of London there’s a massive hole in the middle that is Camberwell and Peckham. North of the river and central London is peppered with tube stations, and some areas miles away from the centre have tube stations too.

Camberwell and Peckham is unique in that we have been poorly served by public transport for years. We have a Camberwell Station Road that has no station! Trains don’t stop here anymore because they only serve commuters from the outer areas of London. Thanks to Ken Livingstone our bus services have improved and we also have overland trains. But there’s nothing like a tube station.

I’m glad that Transport for London has agreed to consult on bringing the tube to Camberwell and Peckham. They are looking at extending the Bakerloo line into South East London from its current end point at the Elephant and Castle. It’s long overdue and a positive sign that they are taking the issue seriously. We would not have a tube until 2030 but we need to plan now.

I strongly support extending the Bakerloo Line to Camberwell and Peckham on both routes proposed – via Camberwell and Peckham Rye and Old Kent Road. It would create jobs and support development and regeneration in the area, and improve transport connections between South and Central London helping to reduce local traffic congestion especially along Walworth Road and Old Kent Road.

Local people are campaigning for a tube. Residents, businesses and voluntary organisations want to see better access for people who live and work locally. Camberwell and Peckham is home to several nationally important institutions including Kings College Hospital, Camberwell College of Art and the Maudsley Hospital, which have thousands of staff, visitors and students passing through every day. The tube would relieve pressure on our slow, overcrowded buses and trains, and provide quicker, direct and less crowded journeys into central London.

Camberwell and Peckham in particular are growth areas attracting new residents and new housing. Fundamental to the regeneration of this part of London is having a new efficient transport system through the area and across the river to major transport hubs in the north of the city. When Londoners are benefitting from the investment in transport projects such as Thameslink, the underground upgrades and Crossrail, we must ensure that residents in Camberwell and Peckham also benefit from investment.

Please show your support for bringing the tube to come to Camberwell and Peckham by attending the rally on Saturday 29th November on Camberwell Green. The TfL consultation is at www.tfl.gov.uk/bakerloo-extension and is due to finish on December 9.

South London Press column - We need the Tube in Camberwell and Peckham

If you look at a tube map of London there’s a massive hole in the middle that is Camberwell and Peckham. North of the river and central London is peppered...

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The West Yorkshire playhouse kindly hosted a Labour Arts Alliance roundtable to which all the leading arts organisations in Leeds and West Yorkshire were invited to. It was a great turnout and we had a very constructive conversation on the importance of the arts in the regions.

Arts Roundtable at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

The West Yorkshire playhouse kindly hosted a Labour Arts Alliance roundtable to which all the leading arts organisations in Leeds and West Yorkshire were invited to. It was a great... Read more

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It was great to meet up in Elmet & Rothwell with Parliamentary Prospective Candidate Veronica King to do some local campaigning ahead of the General Election. We got to meet local people on their doorsteps to listen about the issues that are affecting them in their area and we were also joined by Rachel Reeves MP.

Elmet & Rothwell, West Yorkshire Campaigning

  It was great to meet up in Elmet & Rothwell with Parliamentary Prospective Candidate Veronica King to do some local campaigning ahead of the General Election. We got to...

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During a visit to Leeds Carnegie Stadium today Rachel Reeves I met with Gary Etherington, Chief Executive of Leeds Carnegie Rugby and the Chairman Sir Ian McGeechan to talk about the upcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup and also about the great work they do in the local community.

Leeds Carnegie

During a visit to Leeds Carnegie Stadium today Rachel Reeves I met with Gary Etherington, Chief Executive of Leeds Carnegie Rugby and the Chairman Sir Ian McGeechan to talk about... Read more

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In Ipswich over 200 Labour members, Councillors, MPs, MEPs and Parliamentary candidates gathered for the Eastern Region Conference ahead of the General Election in May 2015.

Eastern Region Conference – Ipswich

  In Ipswich over 200 Labour members, Councillors, MPs, MEPs and Parliamentary candidates gathered for the Eastern Region Conference ahead of the General Election in May 2015. Read more

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Last night I joined local party members and councillors for the annual Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party gala dinner. We were delighted to have Dennis Skinner MP as our guest speaker.

Camberwell & Peckham Labour Party Annual Gala Dinner

Last night I joined local party members and councillors for the annual Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party gala dinner. We were delighted to have Dennis Skinner MP as our guest speaker.... Read more

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On a visit to Pinewood Studios I met with CEO Ivan Dunleavy and Communications Director Andrew Smith to talk about the creative industries and to get an update on the progress of their £200m long-term scheme to address the increasing global demand for production facilities in the UK.

Pinewood Studios

On a visit to Pinewood Studios I met with CEO Ivan Dunleavy and Communications Director Andrew Smith to talk about the creative industries and to get an update on the... Read more

When I hear government ministers talking about welfare reform and benefits they often talk as if there are two different sorts of people  – those who are dependent, don’t work and claim benefits and those who work, are independent and don't claim. But the reality of the people I meet is very much more complicated than that.

Most people want to be fully independent. But if they are low paid and their rent is high then they have to claim housing benefit - not because they want to but because otherwise they would get into arrears.  And if someone is working and then finds the place where they work is closed down and they lose their job, they will need to claim to keep going while they find another job.  

Most people want to stand on their own feet and don't want to claim but if a problem hits them then they have to. That doesn't mean they are "a problem family". It means they have been hit by a problem and that is what the system is for - everyday people who find that they need extra help. Perhaps for a long period of time if, for example, they are disabled or perhaps just for a short time, if they are ill.

All sorts of different people in all different circumstances can find themselves having to claim benefits. Here are just two examples of people who’ve asked for my help when they find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

A nurse who lives in Camberwell with her 16 year old son got into rent arrears in her private flat when she was unable to work for a few months because she was ill. She did not receive her usual salary during this time because she works as an agency nurse and is not paid for the days she doesn’t work. She was receiving housing benefit but it wasn’t enough to cover the rent. When she recovered, she returned to work and managed to pay off the arrears but the landlord still evicted her. The Council found her temporary accommodation but later ruled that she had made herself intentionally homeless because she had failed to pay her rent. She now has to find new private rented accommodation but with an income of £1300 a month and the average monthly rent of a two bedroom flat in Southwark costing £1500, she and her son will have to move out of the area where they have lived and leave their friends and neighbours.  

Mr D lives in a two bedroom flat and shares custody of his 7 month old daughter who stays with him regularly. He was unemployed and receiving £1000 a month housing benefit to help him pay the rent which was £1,100 per month. Although this left him with a £100 shortfall every month, he had never missed a rent payment. But when he was hit by the Bedroom Tax, his housing benefit was reduced by £300 a month.  He soon fell into rent arrears and when they built up to £3000 his landlord gave him notice to quit.  He contacted me before the eviction took place and the Council awarded him a discretionary payment of £3000 to stop the eviction.

Too many people in Southwark are struggling to keep their heads above water, finding themselves in debt and rent arrears for the first time. Instead of helping people who get into difficulties, this Government is making things worse for people on low incomes by cutting benefits and 3,497 households in Southwark have been hit by the  Bedroom Tax costing them each, on average £1,058 per year. The Government should scrap the Bedroom Tax, freeze fuel bills, and invest more in childcare. Labour will do that if we get into government next year. That would give some help with the Cost of Living Crisis that so many people are facing.

*The print version of this article is shorter and does not include all of the above examples

Southwark News column - For hardworking families in Southwark benefits are a lifeline not a lifestyle choice

When I hear government ministers talking about welfare reform and benefits they often talk as if there are two different sorts of people  – those who are dependent, don’t work...

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This morning I visited The Charter School in East Dulwich and met the Head Girl and Head Boy. I also met Christian Hicks, the Headteacher and Betsan Williams, Deputy Head, along with Manny Amadi and Yvonne Wilcox to discuss their bid for a new secondary school in East Dulwich.

Visit to The Charter School in East Dulwich

This morning I visited The Charter School in East Dulwich and met the Head Girl and Head Boy. I also met Christian Hicks, the Headteacher and Betsan Williams, Deputy Head,... Read more

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