This week the Labour Party kicked off our local elections campaign where we
heard from the leader and deputy leader, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner as
well as other familiar faces from across the party.
In their speeches we heard about the incredible impact Labour Mayors like
Andy Burnham, Sadiq Khan and Dan Jarvis have all made on their regions, and
were reminded how the West Midlands is missing out. If elected as Labour
Mayor for the West Midlands on 6th May, Liam Byrne would work with us for a
better Birmingham, helping us to build back from a decade of Tory austerity
and provide real support for those who have lost livelihoods and loved ones
to the catastrophic past year of Covid.
We also heard more from Keir about how Labour will stand up for the 12,289
nurses in Birmingham who have put themselves in the firing line to protect
us. The Government recently announced that they would be thanked for this
outstanding year of public service with a real-terms pay cut. Labour would
ensure they are properly thanked for their dedication and given a proper
I joined with Birmingham City Council Leader, Ian Ward and all Labour MPs
across Birmingham to write to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to urge them to
reconsider their woefully inadequate offer to our NHS heroes.
READ THE LETTER
Celebrating International Women’s Day
I was very fortunate that this International Women’s Day I was very
privileged to meet with so many brilliant women and to discuss the
importance of being active in politics and the added pressures being placed
on women as part of lockdown.
And, the theme for this year couldn’t have been more apt, Choose to
Challenge. Recent research has found that the pandemic will plunge 47
million additional women into extreme poverty. This is happening at the
exact same time when the Government has decided to slash the aid budget.
I was shocked by the scale of the cuts, especially as no strategic plan for
deciding where the axe will fall has been published and I fear that it will
be women and girls who will suffer the most unless we challenge these cuts.
For example, on top of the 131 million out of school before the crisis, 20
million more secondary school-aged girls could be out of school after the
pandemic. That’s important as education is how you get them out of
poverty, that's how you build a workforce, that's how you create jobs.
As Shadow International Development Secretary, this week I launched a
consultation on how the UK can help achieve gender equality around the
world as it recovers from the COVID19 pandemic.
The world needs gender equality to ensure that everyone has the same rights
and protections and to ensure that our recovery from Covid19 builds toward
a fairer, environmentally sustainable world.
This consultation will seek views on specific measures that can be taken to
achieve real, sustainable change for women and girls around the world. We
know how important this work is to counter the worst impacts of the
pandemic and meet our commitment to achieve gender equality by 2030.
BE PART OF THE CONSULTATION
Census 2021 is coming
Soon, on Sunday the 21st of March, it will be Census Day and it’s vital
that everyone in Birmingham and Edgbaston takes part.
The census, which has been happening for over 200 years, will ask questions
about every household to build a picture of British society and it is our
chance to stand up and be counted so that our local communities get the
services that they need.
The census only takes place once every ten years and so an information pack
explaining how to complete the census will be posted to everyone’s home
address. Please ensure everyone in your house is listed.
For the first time, this census will be done digitally. All households will
get a letter in the post with an access code, which you can use to log into
the website. But, if digital doesn’t work for you, you can request a
Similarly, if you need language support, help is available by calling
freephone 0800 587 2021.
FOR FURTHER HELP AND SUPPORT WITH THE CENSUS
Free Jagtar Singh Johal
I’ve received many questions from constituents about Jagtar Singh Johal.
He is a British citizen that has now spent over three years in pre-trial
detention in India and is facing the death penalty. Given the sole piece of
evidence against him is a confession obtained under torture, I wrote again
to Dominc Raab MP, to ask what more evidence the UK Government needs to
step in and call for Jagtar’s release.
READ MY LETTER
Covid vaccine for carers
Carers are defined as citizens who are in receipt of carers allowance or,
may care for a friend or family member that wouldn’t be able to cope
without the support. These carers are sometimes known as hidden or informal
Carers, both those in receipt of carers allowance or informal carers, are
now eligible for a covid vaccination if they haven’t already been invited
to have one.
It is really important that if you are eligible that you have the vaccine
in order to protect you, yourself and those you care for. If you are unsure
if you are a carer, this link  can help you decide.
You can register as a carer online. This is the quickest and most efficient
method to register. Doing this will automatically ensure that your carer
status and eligibility is shared with Birmingham's local vaccination
roll-out programme that is managed and led by the NHS.