[20/05/2021 | No comment]

New figures published yesterday by the End Child Poverty Coalition show that there are over 30,000 children in Leicester living below the poverty line. That’s 6,000 more than there were in 2015. Leicester saw the biggest increase in child poverty in the East Midlands, and one of the highest in the country overall.

This is an appalling indictment of the Government over the last decade. Even before the pandemic hit, we were experiencing high levels of child poverty in the city. Since then, 2,500 more children in Leicester are claiming free school meals, the number of people claiming Universal Credit has doubled, and there has been a 300% increase in the number of people using foodbanks.

Child poverty does not just affect children while they’re growing up, it impacts them throughout their lives and affects us all. If children find it hard to study and work because they’ve gone to bed hungry, or live in overcrowded housing that makes it difficult for them to complete their homework, it makes it harder for them to achieve their full potential. And if they cannot achieve their full potential, then our country as a whole misses out on their talent, throughout their lives.

I chair Feeding Leicester, a partnership that aims to end hunger in the city, and we are doing our best – but we cannot reach everyone who needs help. We cannot build back a better country if children are still growing up in poverty. The Government needs to take action to tackle this serious issue.

[18/05/2021 | No comment]

Zoom screenshot of Liz and dementia carers

Yesterday, I joined a peer support group for carers who are looking after loved ones with dementia. Caring for someone with dementia can be especially difficult. Support groups like this one are crucial for giving carers the support they need. We discussed the challenges that families who provide care are facing, and the importance of putting people first in dementia care.

This week is also Dementia Action Week. This is a national event that aims to improve the lives of people affected by dementia. Nearly 1 million people in the UK with dementia, and their families, are struggling to get the support they need. If we are to help people and families who need support, we need to transform our social care system. It is not enough to simply ‘fix the crisis’.

Labour’s priority is to empower older and disabled people, including those with dementia, to live the life they choose. We will work with social care users and their families to achieve this, and make Britain the best country to grow old in. Thank you to the Alzheimer’s Society for organising this event – find out more about Dementia Action Week on their website.

[05/05/2021 | No comment]

Yesterday I joined Rights for Residents at their virtual petition hand-in on Parliament Square. I spoke to campaigners about their experiences of being unable to visit their loved ones in care homes, and how it has impacted on their lives. Rights for Residents have been campaigning tirelessly for the rights of people living in care homes. They have now reached almost a quarter of a million signatures on their petition.

It has been over fourteen months since care homes closed their doors to visitors. This has not only caused them terrible anguish, but harmed the physical and mental health of care home residents too. Even though government guidance now allows care home residents to receive up to two visitors, some care homes are yet to implement this.

Alongside campaign groups including Rights for Residents, Labour are supporting the rights of care home residents to see family to be enshrined in law, and know that family members are not ‘just’ visitors – they provide essential care.

Rights for Residents are calling for the Government to:

  • Pass emergency legislation that enshrines the right of an Essential Care Giver in law to provide emotional and well being support, regardless of outbreaks, tier restrictions, lockdowns or future variants.
  • Mandate the Care Home Visiting Guidance with clear penalties for those that refuse to follow it.
  • Remove the unnecessary 28 day quarantine period for care home residents following an outbreak – in line with the ten day requirement for the rest of the population.

Get involved and sign the Rights for Residents petition here.

[26/04/2021 | No comment]

I recently met with Alicia Kennedy, the Director of Generation Rent, an organisation that campaigns to make sure that the voices of private renters are heard by landlords, by policymakers, and by politicians.

I am really looking forward to a new awareness campaign, Renters Rights Awareness Week, which will run from the 14th – 19th June. Generation Rent will be using this campaign to raise awareness of renter’s rights to ensure people have as much information as possible, and can recognise when things are wrong. 

I will be working with Generation rent with the aim of improving rights for private renters – a huge issue both in Leicester and across country.

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