It has been an extraordinary year in politics in the UK, Europe and the USA. It is a continued privilege to be in Parliament at this crucial time for our country which is dominated by the issue of Brexit, but you will see in this newsletter that there are other issues which have taken up my attention.
In relation to Brexit I respect the referendum result and the requirement to leave the EU as soon as possible. I also respect the fact that there were a majority of my constituents who voted to remain. I am therefore committed to ensuring that the concerns of constituents are fed into Government. I will be holding another Brexit Forum so that we can unite around the purpose of getting the best Brexit deal possible. Please contact me if you want to be involved.
Save Our Southgate
Many thanks to all who submitted responses to the Boundary Commission’s Consultation in a bid to prevent the dismemberment of Enfield Southgate. Keeping Enfield Southgate together makes sense for transport, businesses, and communities. I hope that the Commission will see sense and rethink their plans to disperse our wards across 5 different constituencies. We will hear back from the Boundary Commission in April when it will publish the responses and move to a further phase of consultation before publishing revised plans.
For too long, my constituents have suffered poor performance from successive train operators along the route to and from Central London. Govia has now proposed reducing train frequency at Hadley Wood and Grange Park in a recently published consultation.
Last month I held a very well attended public meeting with representatives from Govia where I and constituents made the case that we don’t just need a continued service but an improved service for long suffering commuters.
Please look at my website for Govia’s response.
Low income families and homelessness
I have taken up the cause of low income families and vulnerable people like those who are homeless. After contributing to debates on the Government’s plans to cut work allowances under Universal Credit, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said in the Autumn Statement (Col 909) “I have considered very carefully the arguments made by my […] honourable friend the member for Enfield Southgate, […] and have concluded that from April we can reduce the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63%”. This reduction represents a tax cut worth £700 million a year for those on low incomes. The Government has committed to putting low income families first, and I will continue to hold them to that promise.
I have also taken a lead role in the Bill to reduce homelessness. I also slept rough in order to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people at a Charity Sleep-out. I am pleased local churches have again organised a Winter Night shelter scheme for local homeless people.
New Southgate Cemetery Bill
On 29th November, I sponsored the New Southgate Cemetery Bill which serves constituents of Enfield Southgate, particularly religious communities including the Greek Cypriot, Roman Catholic, Caribbean and Baha’i communities.
The Cemetery has only 1,700 available spaces and there is demand for 175 burials a year. In eight or nine years’ time, there will not be sufficient space in this cemetery to deal with the demand for loved ones to be buried locally. I managed to get support for this. The Bill allows for the re-use of areas of the cemetery where a burial has not taken place for at least 75 years.
I look forward to continuing to serve Enfield Southgate during 2017, and would like to take this opportunity to wish all my constituents a peaceful New Year!