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Vicky Foxcroft MP

Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford

Work & Pensions

Like many, I am horrified by instances of violence and abuse against emergency service workers – those paramedics, nurses, police, firefighters and more, who work hard to protect us all. We have seen this right here in Parliament, where PC Keith Palmer was tragically murdered earlier this year. We also witnessed two other cases of similar nature – whereby a British Transport police officer was stabbed when he faced the London Bridge Attackers, followed by a Met Officer, stabbed when he came to defend the public that same day, despite being off duty.

There have been far too many cases as such and it is incomprehensible that any of our emergency service workers should be subjected to any form of abuse.

Due to constituency commitments I was unable to attend the debate on Chris Bryant MP’s Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill on Friday 20th October, though plenty of my Labour colleagues were present. The bill was first introduce to Parliament last year by our colleague Holly Lynch, but sadly it did not progress due to time constraints. I have been very supportive of the bill form the beginning and am delighted that this time it passed its second reading and will now proceed to the committee stage.

At the debate, Chris Bryant rightfully stated that an attack on an emergency worker “is an attack on us all. And when we are all attacked, we all stand firm together.” I would like to reassure constituents that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to push for greater protections for our brave national heroes. 

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

Like many, I am horrified by instances of violence and abuse against emergency service workers – those paramedics, nurses, police, firefighters and more, who work hard to protect us all....

Many of my constituents have been in touch recently over waiting times for Universal Credit. I agree that the handling of this issue by the Government is unacceptable and is of great concern to many people in Lewisham Deptford.

As you will know, it currently takes five to six weeks for claimants to receive their first payment after applying for Universal Credit. The Government considers this waiting and assessment period as fundamental to its policy, designed to mirror the world of work and prevent welfare dependency. However, clearly, the design and management of the Universal Credit system is flawed and is having a disastrous impact.

I understand that waiting times are proving incredibly frustrating and problematic for people in practical terms. Figures from the Government itself show that nearly half of new Universal Credit claimants required an advance on their payment and nearly a quarter did not even receive their first payment in full and on time. Furthermore, they show that 49% of claimants in arrears said they fell behind in their payments after making their claim, highlighting waiting time as a key reason.

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The disastrous terms of the Government’s implantation of Universal Credit is proving counterproductive to its purpose by causing further problems. As stated by Citizens Advice, over half of those helped onto Universal Credit were forced to borrow money while waiting for their first payment. Advances available to those in need must also be paid back. I believe it is unacceptable for people to be unfairly pushed into additional debts in this way.

The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest foodbank network, has said that the waiting time is responsible for a rise in the demand for charity food. Our Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has condemned the “shambolic roll-out” of Universal Credit which is “pushing so many families into poverty”. Even some Government MPs have argued that the roll-out of Universal Credit must be halted, in order to stop the distress caused by the Government’s mishandling of this programme.

At the June 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto that committed to reforming and redesigning Universal Credit. I remain committed to calling for action on this issue and pressuring the Government to end the six week wait. 

 

Universal Credit

Many of my constituents have been in touch recently over waiting times for Universal Credit. I agree that the handling of this issue by the Government is unacceptable and is...

Many people have been in touch with me outraged with the Government’s changes to eligibility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and dozens have shared their stories of how they are personally affected by the changes. Constituents who already find themselves in difficult positions, have had their situations worsened after seeing significant changes to their income.  
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Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Many people have been in touch with me outraged with the Government’s changes to eligibility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and dozens have shared their stories of how they are... Read more

A number of people have been in touch recently regarding Ian Mearns MP’s Early Day Motion calling for a statutory maximum workplace temperature. As an opposition whip I am unable to sign EDMs but I wanted to share my thoughts on this issue.

I know that a number of organisations, including several trade unions, have campaigned on this issue for a number of years. As the Trades Union Congress has stated, high temperature is a significant health issue and can cause dizziness, fainting and heat cramps, as well as increasing the risk of heat stroke or collapse. It can also lead to loss of concentration and increased tiredness, making workers more likely to put themselves or others at risk. I therefore agree that this is an important issue.

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In 2009 the Labour government asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to review the case for a maximum workplace temperature. While the report that the HSE produced was inconclusive, the government at the time stated that it was still actively considering the issue of a maximum temperature. However, in the last Parliament the coalition government stated that it had no plans to set a maximum temperature and the current Conservative government continues to argue that existing legislation and guidance on this issue is sufficient.

Prior to the 2015 general election my shadow frontbench colleagues committed to a review of excessive workplace temperatures and I believe that the government should consider such a review. In the meantime, I note that employers have a duty under the current regulations to ensure that workplaces remain at a reasonable temperature and to consult with employees and their representatives to establish sensible measures to cope with hot weather.

Maximum Workplace Temperature

A number of people have been in touch recently regarding Ian Mearns MP’s Early Day Motion calling for a statutory maximum workplace temperature. As an opposition whip I am unable...

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