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Vicky Foxcroft MP

Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford

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Latest News


You can find out what I have been up to in Parliament and my work in Lewisham, or read my latest blog posts below.

Every Friday the South London Press invites an MP from south of the river to write a column based on a subject of their choosing. It was my turn this week and I wrote about my reaction to the budget and what it means for people in the run up to Christmas.

In the run up to Christmas I often find my mind turning to charity. Our voluntary sector in Lewisham Deptford is brilliant, with some amazing individuals and organisations working tirelessly to make a real difference to their local community. I recently attended the Mayor of Lewisham’s Awards for Voluntary Contribution where nearly one hundred Lewisham residents were commended for the volunteering they do locally, working for little or no recognition and often on top of full-time work or other commitments.

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The charities ranged from those working with young people to those providing benefits advice, caring for the elderly and providing mental health support and assistance to homeless people. It seemed especially apt to be attending this event so soon after the Chancellor’s November 22nd Budget announcement, in which too many of these areas were ignored, cut or underfunded yet again by a Government that keeps showing us just how out of touch with reality it is.

The Government has left the NHS drastically underfunded yet again, producing less than half of the £4 billion that NHS England has said it will need to look after patients properly next year. We are facing a social care crisis, with £6 billion cut since the Tories came to power. Yet the Chancellor failed to mention social care once in last week’s Budget. Mental health services have also been cut across the country, leaving charities to fill the gaps.

Since the roll out of Universal Credit, claimants have been waiting up to six weeks for their first payment, leaving many in mental distress, struggling to afford food for weeks and often at threat of eviction. Food bank use has increased in areas where Universal Credit is being rolled out, yet the Government ignores the evidence and has again refused to pause the roll out of Universal Credit until these problems are fixed.

After seven years of austerity, too many areas that were previously seen as statutory services are now left to the goodwill of individuals and charities to provide in their local areas. Councils across the UK are being pushed dangerously close to bankruptcy, as they delve into their reserves in attempts to fund frontline services. In Lewisham, we can be proud of our thriving voluntary sector and the fantastic individuals that give up their time to help others in need. But as a society, we should be outraged at a Government that fails to provide the basic services needed by the most vulnerable in our communities.

 

South London Press Column 1st December 2017

Every Friday the South London Press invites an MP from south of the river to write a column based on a subject of their choosing. It was my turn this...

Thank you to everyone who has emailed asking me to commit to supporting the continued legal recognition of animal sentience.

The Labour Party has a strong record on animal rights and we are not about to change that now. We have a moral duty to treat the animals we share our planet with in a humane and compassionate way and Brexit must not lead to any watering down of existing standards on animal welfare.

As many of you know, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union protects the legal status of animals as sentient beings. In its current form, the Draft European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will not ensure its preservation in UK law.

Last week (November 15th) I voted in favour of New Clause 30 which sought to amend the bill and retain the rights and obligations contained in Article 13. I also support Amendment 350, which has been tabled by the Official Opposition and will be debated over the coming weeks. This amendment would similarly ensure that the Government is held to the animal welfare standards enshrined in Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

Unfortunately, when New Clause 30 was pressed to a vote it was rejected by the Government and defeated. The Minister argued that animals are already recognised as sentient beings under domestic law and that this will continue to be the case. The Government has since said that it will ensure any necessary changes required to UK law are made to ensure animal sentience is recognised after we leave the EU. 

I believe this is inadequate and that the Government should reverse its decision and amend the Repeal Bill without further delay. I will therefore support Amendment 350 if it is pushed to a vote during the Bill's remaining stages.

I also intend to support amendments that aim to ensure there is no weakening of EU-derived rights - including on animal welfare standards - because of Brexit; and I can assure you that I will continue to press for existing standards on animal welfare to be transposed into British law and strengthened where necessary.

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Animal Sentience & Brexit

Thank you to everyone who has emailed asking me to commit to supporting the continued legal recognition of animal sentience. The Labour Party has a strong record on animal rights...

The Budget yesterday did nothing but paper over the glaring issues facing our country with insufficient policy pledges. The government continues to ignore the fact wages are falling, public services are failing and the economy is stagnating. As Jeremy Corbyn said to MPs yesterday, “the reality is, this is a government no longer fit for office”.

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Thoughts on the Budget: The Tories are out of touch and have no plan.

The Budget yesterday did nothing but paper over the glaring issues facing our country with insufficient policy pledges. The government continues to ignore the fact wages are falling, public services... Read more

Since the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returned to the Commons last week for its committee stage reading, I have received over 400 emails from constituents asking me to support various new clauses and amendments. As a whip I am not allowed to add my name to amendments, but I thought it would be helpful to summarise everything we have voted on so far.

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EU Withdrawal Bill: The story so far

Since the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returned to the Commons last week for its committee stage reading, I have received over 400 emails from constituents asking me to support various... Read more

There continues to be a high level of concern in Lewisham Deptford over the state of our health service as we approach the Autumn Budget.

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NHS and the Autumn Statement

There continues to be a high level of concern in Lewisham Deptford over the state of our health service as we approach the Autumn Budget. Read more

Many constituents have contacted me recently urging the need for a London rent cap.

In recent times rents have risen to record levels – leading increasing numbers of families into temporary accommodation and exacerbating the homelessness crisis.

Due to a shortage of affordable housing in London, coinciding with work obligations, many landlords are exploiting the situation by charging high rents. Consequently, professionals are being pushed out of the capital and forced to make lengthy journeys to work each day. 

I firmly agree we must end insecurity for those renting in the private sector by controlling escalating rents and enhancing consumer rights for renters to create more secure tenancies.

At the 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto that pledged to cap rents in line with inflation, ban letting agency fees for tenants, as well as look into giving the Mayor greater power to provide additional security for London renters. We also pledged to reverse the cruel decision to abolish housing benefit for 18 to 21 year-olds, which risks putting more vulnerable young people on our streets.

I ensure I will keep up pressure on the Government to act on this issue and push for legislating a London rent cap. 

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London Rent Cap

Many constituents have contacted me recently urging the need for a London rent cap. In recent times rents have risen to record levels – leading increasing numbers of families into...

A number of constituents contacted me ahead of last Friday's debate on reducing the voting age to 16 (Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill), so I thought I would share my thoughts here.

This is an issue I am particularly passionate about. It is bewildering that 16-year-olds can marry, pay taxes and join the armed forces, yet are denied the most important form of participation in democracy – through the ballot box.  

At the 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto which committed to reduce the voting age to 16. I believe this would greatly help mobilise and engage young people in the political process from school age and therefore strengthen our democracy, opening it up to a new generation. This was exemplified with the Scottish Independence referendum which enjoyed a turnout of 75% among the 100,000 16 and 17 year olds who registered to vote.

When I was first elected as an MP in 2015 I was drawn for a Private Members Bill, which I chose to dedicate to extending the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds and to introducing compulsory political education in schools. Unfortunately, the Bill fell at its Second Reading.

It is also the case that while the European Union Referendum Bill was being considered during the last Parliament, the Government consistently opposed amendments which would have allowed 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the EU referendum.

I was very pleased that Jim McMahon was able to bring this issue back to the Commons on Friday 3rd November and I and my Labour colleagues fought hard in the debate. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the Tories blocked it and Jim’s Bill was, like mine, unable to proceed to the committee stage.

I assure you, however, that our determination does not end here!

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Votes at 16

A number of constituents contacted me ahead of last Friday's debate on reducing the voting age to 16 (Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill), so I...

Along with the Labour councillors for New Cross ward, I recently responded to the consultation on the closure of the Waldron Health Centre, the walk-in health centre in New Cross. I am firmly opposed to the decision, which would reduce access to primary healthcare in one of the most deprived areas of our borough (and London). Because the health centre is a walk-in, the closure would particularly impact homeless people and undocumented migrants. 

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Save New Cross Walk In Centre

Along with the Labour councillors for New Cross ward, I recently responded to the consultation on the closure of the Waldron Health Centre, the walk-in health centre in New Cross.... Read more

In Education Questions today I asked the Minister about the assessment of the effect of cuts to children's centres. Nearly 200,000 children in Britain have already fallen behind by the age of five, while one children’s centre closes every week. I asked the Minister to ring fence funding for Sure Start.

School Funding Cuts

In Education Questions today I asked the Minister about the assessment of the effect of cuts to children's centres. Nearly 200,000 children in Britain have already fallen behind by the... Read more

A large number of constituents contacted me ahead of Friday November 3rd's second reading of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill, which is also known as Seni’s Law. 
 
I was extremely saddened to hear of the case of Olaseni Lewis, who died after being restrained by eleven officers at Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham in August 2010. Mr Lewis had voluntarily admitted himself to the unit.

If it passes into law, this bill (introduced by Steve Reed MP as a private members' bill) will require hospitals to publish data on how and when physical force is used, and improve oversight and training to make staff aware of the risks of unconscious bias against minority groups, such as young black men. I fully support the bill and believe it would bring about much needed change and improvement in the way mentally ill patients are treated.
 
More widely, the Government has announced plans for an independent review of the mental health legislation under which people with severe mental illness can be detained for assessment and treatment. A final report containing detailed recommendations is expected by autumn 2018.
 
Though long overdue, I welcome the independent review of the Mental Health Act. The Government has confirmed it will consider issues including: looking at why rates of detention are increasing; examining the disproportionate number of those from certain ethnic backgrounds, in particular black people, who are detained under the act; and ensuring that those with ill mental health are treated fairly and protected from discrimination.
 
I was in the Commons for the debate and am very pleased to report that it passed its second reading and will now proceed to the committee stage. You can read the debate in full here.

Seni's Law (Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill)

A large number of constituents contacted me ahead of Friday November 3rd's second reading of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill, which is also known as Seni’s Law. ...

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