Harriet Harman

Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election and I am no longer an MP

Current News

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 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

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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

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Parliamentary October Report 2021

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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...

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