My priorities

My PrioritiesAs your local MP, there are many Labour policies I will fight for in Parliament.

In my conversations with local residents, some topics come up again and again. These are my highest priority concerns.

This section of the website captures a few of these priorities – there is a lot more detail behind each of these. If you have any specific questions or ideas, please do get in touch.

You can also see more detail about Labour’s policies on the main site.

To read about my background and experience, as well as why I got into politics, please visit the About Me page. Here are the priorities I focus on in this section:

 


A stronger NHS

The NHS matters and NHS staff in Hampstead and Kilburn tell me the Tories are not helping. Labour have pledged an extra £2.5 billion, 36,000 more staff and better services for the public. Along with reforms to roll back privatisation, integrate health and social care, focus on early intervention and provide more funding for mental health conditions, we will see an NHS that has Time to Care. On mental health in particular, I am campaigning on Labour’s pledge to increase the proportion of spending for children’s mental health and to provide training to teachers to identify issues early. More immediately, hiring extra GPs will help people get a GP appointment within 48 hours and reduce the pressure on A&E, which is leading to significant extra cost throughout the system.

 

Decent affordable housing

About 50% fewer houses are now being built a year than under Labour and the Tories have overseen a redefinition of “affordable” housing to being 80% of market rent. In London’s dysfunctional housing market, this is not right. Labour want to tackle the root cause of this problem: changing legislation that limits councils investing in housing and negotiating on an even-playing field with developers. We will also introduce new rules that mean developers who are just speculating, i.e. who do not build on their land, will lose the land to someone who will actually use it.

 

Protection for private renters

In my surgeries, I often hear about abusive landlords and poor housing quality. Although I am sure many landlords take their work seriously, I also know that there is no meaningful way of identifying and punishing poor behaviour. Some local councils have excellent pilot programs in creating landlord registers and I would like to see these rolled out further. As a starting point, a national register of landlords will enable bad behaviour to be recorded and challenged. Tenants will also be able to choose three-year tenancies with caps on rent increases, where it suits their circumstances. We will also ban lettings agent fees as charged to tenants, since it is meant to be landlords covering these fees.

 

Childcare and school places

While many local schools perform very well, we are short of school places and many families struggle with the cost of childcare. I am campaigning to increase free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds to 25 hours a week and expand school places, particularly for children under 8 years old, where there has been a large increase in the number of children taught in classes of over 30 children. Labour will revive Sure Start Children’s Centres and make childcare available 8am-6pm through local primary schools – better childcare helps skilled people get back to work and boosts the economy.

 

Tackling climate change

Climate change is the single greatest long-term threat to our way of life. I am proud that Labour in Government passed the world’s first binding legislation to reduce carbon emissions. We are committed to continuing this progress by completely decarbonising electricity generation by 2030, subsidising home insulation on a large scale to make homes more energy efficient and creating green jobs in alternative energy by capitalising a Green Investment Bank, overseen by the Government. I am ashamed that, under the Conservatives, Britain had a climate change sceptic as the Environment Minister (Owen Paterson) – this needs to change.

 

Support for Businesses

When I talk with local businesses, they speak of two major concerns. The first is strategic – Britain needs to remain in the EU. This is about access to the world’s largest single market and being in a strong negotiating position to reform and reduce the regulatory burden the EU currently places on businesses. The second is pragamatic – we need to reform the banking system. Too many businesses complain that the banks are not willing to lend and that the sector is not competitive enough. Business lending is down by some £50 billion since 2010. Labour will encourage two new challenger banks on the High Street and create a regional banking sector, supported with a properly-capitalised state-supported investment bank, similar to the system in Germany. To make things easier in the short-term, Labour will also reduce business rates for small businesses.

 

Helping young people get into work

We will create thousands more apprenticeships, leveraging public sector contracts and organisations. We will also help businesses take on more apprentices by giving them more control over the apprenticeships they offer, provided these schemes last for at least two years. Labour will also make it easier to gain decent qualifications – lowering university tuition fees by £3,000 a year and creating new technical degrees that lead directly to skilled jobs.

 

Fair pay

Residents on zero-hours contracts have complained to me personally about how hard it is to plan ahead and balance their budgets without secure income. Labour would ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, while raising the minimum wage to £8 and incentivising the living wage. I am proud that the two Labour-run councils in this area, Camden and Brent, are both accredited living wage councils. Fairer wages help drive spending and stimulate the economy – it is all part of building the kind of balanced economic recovery that the last few years have failed to produce. We also plan to cut taxes for 24 million people on middle and lower incomes by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax.


 

All of these policies need to be implemented and paid for fairly. We will increase the levy on banks and tobacco companies, and ask those at the very top to pay a little more. Financial sector bonuses and those earning over £150,000 or holding very expensive property will be asked to pay higher taxes. More broadly, I believe our taxation system has become unjust, regressive and overly complicated after decades of tinkering. I am glad Labour is pledging to review and get rid of tax loopholes. By making the taxation system fairer and keeping a close eye on Government spending, Labour’s plans will clear the Government deficit at a sensible pace by 2020, without the same cuts to public services or reduced investment in infrastructure and housing that the Conservative plan requires.

Social and income inequality between the top fifth and the bottom fifth has got worse in the last five years. Britain, as one of the richest countries in the world, should not be a country where there are more foodbanks each year than the year before. I believe we can do better.