OCTOBER 2021: News from your local MP

September 28 2021

Helping people escape persecution in Afghanistan

MANY of you have written to me about the horrific situation in Afghanistan.
My team and I are working seven days a week trying to help people escape persecution by the Taliban. The stories we are hearing are extremely distressing: relatives tortured or murdered, families separated, and children lost as people run for their lives.
We are doing everything we can to get people out. This includes UK citizens living in Bristol West and their relatives now trapped in this oppressive regime. Many of them are terrified of persecution for helping British forces over the last 20 years. Others fear for their lives because they were trying to build a fair democratic society, as journalists, members of the Afghan parliament or charity workers.
The government was slow to act when this situation became a crisis. My team and I will keep pushing them to do more.
For those Afghans who have managed to make it to the UK, life is far from easy. I am pushing ministers for better support for their new lives here.
Around 150 Afghan families are settling in Bristol. I know you will give these new neighbours the warm welcome that Bristol is famous for.

Cost of living going up rapidly

The costs of food and energy are rising rapidly and meanwhile the Tories keep raising the taxes which hurt people on the lowest pay the most. I raised this in Business Questions, the weekly session where I question my opposite number, Jacob Rees-Mogg, on the government agenda.
The Tories’ Universal Credit cut will mean millions of households lose over £1,000 a year, including more than 11,000 people here in Bristol West. On top of this, an increase to National Insurance will also cost working people hundreds of pounds a year. Although the government says it will go towards social care, local authorities like Bristol City Council (that pay for social care) won’t see a penny for several years, if ever.
The need to fix social care is urgent. But this should not happen at the expense of people on the lowest incomes. There are other ways of raising this money, including taxes on the sales of financial assets, stocks and shares. Unfortunately, while we have a Tory government, such progressive policies will never happen.

Why does it mean to be a feminist MP and why does it matter?

This was the subject of a speech I gave at the philosophy festival ‘How The Light Gets In’.
It’s better for men and women when there is a diversity of views and experiences in Parliament.  I was only the 408th woman ever to be a UK MP and we are still a long way from being a Parliament which truly represents the country.
The things I do to try to change this include:
• Be a voice for women who aren’t being heard
• Model gender equality
• Help more women get into politics
• Campaign on policies such as domestic violence or the pensions gap.

The full transcript of my speech is on my blog.