From Preet Kaur Gill MP <[email protected]>
Subject Here's your weekly update John
Date July 23, 2021 2:11 PM
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Dear John,

As England dispensed with legal restrictions this week, Government Covid
policy has been in disarray. With businesses closing, more than a million
children off school last week and half a million self-isolating, "freedom
day" was anything but for many of us.

In the space of a few days, government ministers contradicted each other on
their self-isolation policies. First the business minister said the NHS
Covid-19 app was an advisory tool only. Another then said the app is just
to allow people to make 'informed decisions'. Then the Prime Minister was
back to urging people to isolate when pinged, having tried to dodge
self-isolation himself, along with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, only that

People will rightly be dismayed at the Government's chaotic decision-making
which is causing confusion and uncertainty for businesses and public
services, and undermining public health measures to manage the virus, keep
the country moving and keep people safe.

With rumours that the Government is drawing up a list of 'critical workers'
who might be exempted from having to self-isolate provided they have
received both doses of the vaccine, I am keen to hear from constituents on
how the current rise in Covid cases in affecting them and how I can help.




This week I launched the Hidden Heroes campaign with Zehra Zaidi from We
Too Built Britain and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat. The Hidden Heroes
campaign calls for new statues of under-recognised and under-represented
figures from history to be installed across Britain.

Recent debates about statues have focused on the negative and been deeply
polarising. Instead of fighting over which of them to tear down, it is my
view that it is better to think about the people from our history who are
missing from that conversation and who deserve more recognition. This can
be an opportunity to celebrate all the people who have helped to shape our

Currently, fewer than 3 per cent of the statues in the UK are of ordinary,
non-royal women, with other categories such as ethnic minorities receiving
even worse representation.

The Hidden Heroes campaign is looking to celebrate British heroes that we
can all be inspired by. It is also calling on local people to nominate
those who deserve to be remembered with a statue. Some might be figures
that history has neglected; others might be local heroes whose stories
inspire their community.

My personal hero is Sophia Duleep Singh, the daughter of Maharaja Duleep
Singh (the last Maharaja of the Sikh empire) and a goddaughter of Queen
Victoria. She is a person for whom I am leading the call to have her statue
built and erected in a place of prominence so that all people can recognise
her achievements.

Amongst all the statues and memorials to suffragettes, there are no statues
of ethnic minority women. This is despite the presence of several Indian
suffragettes, most prominently Sophia.

The consequence of this lack of this lack of visibility is that there is
little public knowledge of the massive contribution she made to the fight
for equality or her role during the Second World War.

Earlier this week, I spoke to ITV Central about the campaign. You can watch
a clip by clicking the image above. I also joined with Tom to write about
the campaign in The Times at the link below.

If you would like to nominate an important figure that has inspired you,
please email me at [email protected].




Last week, two days of scheduled surgeries had to be cancelled at the Queen
Elizabeth Hospital, including cancer operations and liver transplants, due
to the rise of Covid admissions.

I have raised concerns about cancer care backlogs in Birmingham for a long
time. Particularly concerning is our local record on cancer surgeries.

The NHS target is for 94% of cancer patients to receive surgery within 31
days of a decision on how to treat them. In the latest batch of statistics,
Birmingham and Solihull had improved to 72.6%, up from 62.1% in April and
an unprecedented low of 44.3% in March.

While it is positive to see this improvement, I am concerned about what
increasing Covid admissions will mean for patients with other serious
illnesses at a time when national waiting lists are at an all-time high.

Moreover, I also have concerns about reports that a staggering 1,091 staff
absent from work at the QE, of which a quarter, 275, have been instructed
to isolate or are sick with Covid-19. Elsewhere in the country, exhausted
NHS staff are being told to cancel holidays.

It is my opinion that this is getting completely out of hand. That is why I
wrote to the new health secretary, Savid Javid, to chase a response to my
two previous letters to the Government about this crisis from March and

The health secretary said last week that “I do not believe that infection
rates will put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.” I think that
constituents who are already having vital surgeries cancelled would

I have asked the health secretary to share his projections for
hospitalisations in Birmingham over the summer so we can understand the
full impact on the NHS from Government Covid policy, reiterated my call for
support to address the staffing crisis, to get a handle on runaway
infection rates, and support our local hospitals to manage this new wave.




This week I spoke to the Overseas Development Institute to set out my
vision for global development with Labour.

Whether it be the pandemic, the climate crisis or rising poverty and
inequality, the challenges facing the world right now are vast.

Yet even as their scale often escapes comprehension, in the UK we recognise
our duty to tackle them – not only because they make us all less safe at
home and abroad, but because they mirror so many of the challenges our
families and communities know only too well.

I spoke to Sara Pantuliano from the ODI this week to talk about why I
believe we can build on this solidarity to achieve a sustainable world,
delivered locally (click the image above to watch the interview).

While Labour’s immediate focus will remain the health, economic and
social impacts of the Covid pandemic, over the next year I have committed
to set out a bold and positive policy platform focused on five longer-term
priorities to tackle the global problems facing us all: humanitarian
support; climate and nature; social protections and public services; gender
equality; and jobs and opportunities.




The weather this week has reached extraordinarily high temperatures leading
the Met Office to issue an extreme weather warning in our area. I hope
everyone is taking care of each other with some people being more
vulnerable to the heat.

I have also been speaking with Severn Trent who have provided an update on
water supplies. With the onset of the school holidays, more people at home
and the exceptionally high temperatures, demand for water in the Midlands
has increased sharply this week. We’ve seen a huge spike in usage with
people, on average, using up to 40 per cent more water each day.

While reservoir levels currently look healthy, Severn Trent is asking
everyone to play their part by reducing the amount of water they use for
the next few days and have shared some top tips:

* If you do use a paddling pool, try to cover it so you can use it again
the next day, and when finished, re-use the water in your garden.
* Don't worry about watering the lawn, they're great survivors and it'll
bounce back when it rains.
* Have a quick shower rather than a bath to cool down.
* Avoid washing the car if you can. If you need to, use a bucket and
sponge rather than a hose.
* Simply hang up the hose, jet washer or sprinkler for the rest of the
week as these high-volume devices can use up lots of water in a short space
of time.
* Turn off taps when not in use.


© 2020 Printed from an email sent by Preet Kaur Gill. Promoted by A.J Webb
on behalf of Preet Kaur Gill, both at 56 Wentworth Road, B17 9TA.
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