Harriet Harman

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

Current News

You can read my monthly newsletter for December 2014 to January 2015 here.

Monthly Newsletter - December 2014 - January 2015

You can read my monthly newsletter for December 2014 to January 2015 here.

Kris Hopkins MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Department for Communities and Local Government

Eland House, Bressenden Place

London SW1E 5DU

 

22nd January 2015

 

 

Dear Kris,

 

Fairer funding for Southwark Council

 

I am writing to you in regard to the provisional local government funding settlement figures for the London Borough of Southwark, which includes my constituency. I’m concerned to hear that Southwark Council stands to lose £21.2m of spending power in 2015-16 and faces a budget gap of over £30m, which is about 10% of its budget.

 

While I appreciate that many areas of public spending are being cut, I am concerned about the unfair nature of the distribution of the proposed cuts amongst local authorities. Southwark will suffer the third highest spending power reduction in the country despite its high levels of deprivation and social housing. And after five consecutive years of local government spending cuts, it may be the case that some council services will have to be reduced or stopped altogether.

 

The Government has hit the communities with the most need the hardest and frontline services that residents rely on are bearing the brunt. There should be a fairer funding settlement and I would therefore ask you to reconsider the proposed settlement for Southwark to ensure it receives a fairer share of resources. 

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Best wishes,

 

Harriet Harman

Fairer funding for Southwark Council - Letter to Minister for Local Government

Kris Hopkins MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Communities and Local Government Eland House, Bressenden Place London SW1E 5DU   22nd January 2015     Dear Kris,  ...

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This morning I met with the Leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Peter John. We discussed the campaign to extend the Bakerloo line through Southwark, local government funding for Southwark, leaseholder policy and the council's adoption of the 'Ethical Care Charter' committing the council to better employment conditions for staff.

Meeting Southwark Council Leader Peter John

This morning I met with the Leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Peter John. We discussed the campaign to extend the Bakerloo line through Southwark, local government funding for Southwark, leaseholder policy...

Brunswick_Park_door_knock3_17.01.15.jpg

Joining our great local campaign team of members and councillors to talk to residents on the Southampton Way estate in Camberwell.

Campaigning in Brunswick Park, Camberwell

Joining our great local campaign team of members and councillors to talk to residents on the Southampton Way estate in Camberwell.

You can read my quarterly casework report for October to December 2014 here.

Quarterly Casework Report - October-December 2014

You can read my quarterly casework report for October to December 2014 here.

Peckham_door_knock_10.1.15.jpg

Joining local Labour Party members and councillors on a windy, rainy Saturday for campaigning on the Willowbrook Estate in Peckham. We also helped to clear a hoarding that had blown down and was blocking the road!

Campaigning in Peckham

Joining local Labour Party members and councillors on a windy, rainy Saturday for campaigning on the Willowbrook Estate in Peckham. We also helped to clear a hoarding that had blown... Read more

Most of us have experienced first-hand the excellent care given by Kings

College Hospital.  Kings has one of the busiest and best A&E departments in

London. And they do an excellent job with the resources they have. But the

challenges it faces are significant. The cracks are beginning to show and the

problems that we feared are beginning to become very clear.

 

I’m extremely concerned by the latest figures on A&E waiting times. In December 2014,

11% of people attending A&E waited more than 4 hours before being admitted or

discharged. Since the 1st January 2015 this has risen to 15%.

 
With people finding it harder to get to see their GP and home care services for

the elderly over stretched, more people go to A&E. And the stretch on home

care services means that some elderly patients stay longer in hospital than they

need or want. And that means queues build up as patients in A&E can’t be

found a bed.

 
The NHS is not safe in the Tories’ hands. Over the years I’ve fought hard

alongside my South London colleagues for Kings to be improved, not be pulled

back. My worry is that with the Tories and Lib Dems wasting billions of

pounds on NHS reorganisation, we are slipping back to the dark days before

Labour invested in hospitals like Kings to modernise the NHS and raise

standards.

 
The next Labour government will rescue the NHS with a £2.5 billion a year ‘Time to Care’

fund - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund new staff, including 8,000 more GPs. We will

also guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours or on the same day if you need it.

 

 
Ends

Press Release: Increase in waiting times at Kings College Hopsital A&E

Most of us have experienced first-hand the excellent care given by Kings College Hospital.  Kings has one of the busiest and best A&E departments in London. And they do an...

House_of_Praise_3_19.12.14.jpg

Joining local congregations to celebrate Christmas at the House of Praise in Camberwell and Apostolic Faith Mission in Peckham.

Celebrating Christmas in Camberwell & Peckham

Joining local congregations to celebrate Christmas at the House of Praise in Camberwell and Apostolic Faith Mission in Peckham. Read more

For thousands of people in Southwark, Christmas Day will not be about feasting and having presents, it will be a struggle to put food on the table. The Southwark Food Bank in Peckham, run by Pecan, has helped over 3,000 people this year and half of these are families with children. Pecan is also giving 100 families a Christmas meal they can cook at home, providing some welcome cheer at this festive time of year.

I really pay tribute to all the people who donate food to food banks and all the volunteers who run food banks. But in this day and age, to have so many people in Southwark – in one of the richest cities in the world - having to turn to a food bank to go and get free food is shocking and totally unacceptable.

The problem is not the fault of the people who go to the food bank. The problem is the fault of a system which leaves people at the end of the week, let alone at the end of the month, with not enough money to live on. 

Many of the people who go to food banks are working. One in five of people who go out to work don’t earn enough to live on in Britain. And low pay comes at a huge cost. Working in a job that pays low wages is forcing people to make impossible choices such as between buying food and paying the rent. The consequence of not paying the rent is eviction which is why so many people choose to go without food and end up having to go to a food bank.

A recent Parliamentary report on food banks showed that more than half the demand at food banks was caused by problems in the benefits system. At Southwark Food Bank, 40% of people seeking assistance do so because of benefit changes or delays.

Benefits sanctions - cutting people off from their benefits, often at very short notice, for example for missing an appointment - means people having to wait a long time before they can get back into the system and receive the benefits they are entitled to.

Really long Government delays in administering Personal Independence Payments has created unnecessary uncertainty, stress and financial costs for sick and disabled people and their families. And the Bedroom Tax has made 3,500 families in Southwark worse off and put many of them in debt and rent arrears for the first time.

The people who go to food banks are not on a budget; they’re people who’ve run out of money to buy food because rent and energy bills are going up, or their benefits have been stopped because of problems with the system. That’s why the next Labour government will help reduce the demand for food banks by tackling the problem of low pay and the cost of living crisis. We will raise the Minimum Wage, introduce a Living Wage, end the abuse of zero-hours contracts, freeze energy bills, and abolish the unfair Bedroom Tax.

*The print version of this article is slightly shorter.

Southwark News column - Food banks in a rich city

For thousands of people in Southwark, Christmas Day will not be about feasting and having presents, it will be a struggle to put food on the table. The Southwark Food...

Southwark_Womens_Charter2_16.12.14.jpg

The Women's Safety Charter is a pioneering initiative by Southwark Council to tackle the problem of sexual harassment, part of a long term plan to cultivate a culture that ensures women of all ages and backgrounds grow up in a borough that is safe to live, work and travel in.

Launching Southwark Women's Safety Charter

The Women's Safety Charter is a pioneering initiative by Southwark Council to tackle the problem of sexual harassment, part of a long term plan to cultivate a culture that ensures... Read more

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