From Preet Kaur Gill MP <[email protected]>
Subject Here's your weekly update John
Date September 3, 2021 4:26 PM
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Dear John,

This week (and next) my children alongside all those across Edgbaston
constituency are beginning a new school year. As they return, I sincerely
hope that the Government learns from its mistakes of the last 18 months so
that young people can have the year of uninterrupted education they

However, this comes as new information has come to light showing that the
UK has had longer school closures than any European country other than
Italy. Since January 2020, shortly before Covid hit, UK children have been
out of their classrooms on nearly half (44%) of days.

But, that didn’t need to be the case. Government scientific advisors
warned that the removal of Covid safety measures could see rates spiral as
schools return and that is exactly what happened. The Government has
treated schools, children and parents with the same disregard throughout
the pandemic.

When Marcus Rashford warned about what was needed to support children with
free school meals, 24 million children missed out on meals this summer as
the education secretary’s holiday programme failed to get food to

The Government were advised what measures were needed to support children
who had been out of school so far. However, their plan was severely lacking
causing their own advisor to resign and describe the Government’s plan to
support children as, “too small, too narrow and too slow”.

As children return to school, having missed so much already, I worry that
spending on each pupil in England will still be lower in 2022 than it was
in 2009 when Labour was last in Government. We need to ensure young people
are properly supported.

Labour set out a comprehensive children’s recovery plan that would
deliver the learning and extracurricular opportunities every child needs to
recover from the pandemic and reach their full potential. It includes:

Breakfast clubs and activities for every child
Quality mental health support in every school
Small group tutoring for all who need it
Targeted extra investment from early years to further education to support
young people who struggled most with learning in lockdown

In my opinion, the Conservatives need to step up and match Labour’s
ambition for children’s learning and futures.


Today, my monthly advice surgeries returned to their usual service with one
surgery in each ward. For the first time, the surgery in North Edgbaston
was hosted at St Germain’s Church. It was fantastic to meet face-to-face
with residents however, I was blown away by the incredible work being
undertaken at the church.

Working with the Junk Food Project to ensure that there is a café and food
hub that is open at the church twice a week. The café uses donated food
from 17 co-operative stores to make delicious food for the whole community
to enjoy. Working on a “pay as you feel” policy, the volunteers are
hoping for people from all walks of life to make use of the space, help to
tackle isolation and loneliness and breakdown social barriers.

Today I was fortunate to meet a few of the volunteers, many of who come
from amazing backgrounds, from the Michelin-star chef who is training a
local volunteer in the kitchen to incredible community leaders and

The work that’s taking place at St Germain’s is truly everything a
social enterprise should be with a counselling and listening service
available, a food bank, a benefit advisor who is joining the team on a
Monday and Friday and keep fit sessions that are looking to be soon

Projects like this are a huge asset to our communities but they rely on the
volunteers and donations available to them. So, if you are in the area,
please make sure you drop in for some fantastic food and company.



Following the Foreign and Development Secretary, Dominic Raab’s poor
Select Committee performance earlier this week, I demanded clarifications
from the Government over how it will ensure humanitarian support is
provided to the Afghan people to prevent more lives being lost.

I called on the Foreign Secretary to immediately take action to do three
1) Provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people through the UN and
trusted partners to prevent the country falling into further chaos, risking
lives and the risk of it becoming a haven for terror.
2) Support Internally Displaced People and refugees including working with
neighbouring countries to keep their borders open and support refugees.
3) Protect human rights of the Afghan people who remain by working with a
broad coalition of countries including the G20 to establish mechanisms for
holding those who infringe on fundamental human rights to account.

Over the past 18 months, the Foreign Secretary not only failed to prepare
for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but his actions have contributed to
the chaos we have seen in the last two weeks.

The retreat from the world stage under his tenure allowed for a drastic cut
to life saving programmes which were supporting the Afghan people in the
run up to the US withdrawal and weakened Britain’s role in the world.
These actions were short-sighted and can be seen in the foreign
secretary’s recent U-turn decision to return to 2019 levels for

Watch my interview on the situation in Afghanistan in Sky News.



This week I continued my campaign to ensure that residents in Harborne have
the option of in-person banking. While Santander and NatWest have chosen to
abandon their customers, I was encouraged to speak with Halifax who remain
on the High Street with a full service.

I also met with the local director for HSBC this week to discuss the future
of the branch and possible additional measures that could be introduced to
ensure it remains. While HSBC has announced that it will be removing its
counter service and changing to a digital branch, I was reassured to hear
that staff will still be present in-store to support customers with any
questions or help they may need.

I was also pleased to hear of some of the upcoming programmes HSBC were
keen to be part of in the community to better support residents. As details
of this programme becomes available, I will keep you updated.



Over the last 18 months, it has unfortunately not been possible to keep you
updated of the work I have been undertaking on your behalf using my usual
channels of communication. This has meant that the leaflet I would send to
all constituents has not been shared as the fantastic supporters that
deliver the leaflet haven’t been allowed to go door-to-door due to Covid.

I am thrilled to say that in the coming days you should be receiving my
first leaflet since the pandemic began. Included in my Summer newsletter is
an update on exempt accommodation, the cladding crisis, Labour’s plan for
jobs and how we’ll tackle crime locally.

If however, you can’t wait for it to be delivered, you can find the
online version in the link below.


© 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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