It was a very different climate lobby of Parliament this year. Instead of
meeting constituents in person around Westminster, MPs were lobbied instead
via a series of video calls. But the commitment of those lobbying their MPs
was undimmed and the message from the organisers, the Climate Coalition,
that "The Time is Now" was exactly the right one. With our country at a
turning point as we build back from coronavirus, we have an ideal
opportunity to rebuild in a way that is fairer, greener and more
sustainable. Thank you to the many thousands who took part in the lobby.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The annual report of the Government's independent advisers, the Committee
on Climate Change, was a stark reminder of how much there is still to do if
we are to meeting the target of net zero emissions by 2050 - a date which I
believe needs to be brought forward 20 years, in line with what the science
is telling us. I gave live interviews to both Sky News and BBC Radio's The
World at One in response to the report. You can hear the radio interview
I spoke on a similar theme at the virtual launch of the CPRE's
Post-coronavirus Countryside Regeneration manifesto. I talked about the
need for a new right to a healthy natural environment - lockdown has
brought home to us how vital this is for our physical and mental health.
And for the need to transition to a wellbeing economy, where the indicators
of success are not GDP growth but ecological health and human wellbeing.
GOVERNMENT’S “STIMULUS PACKAGE” FOR THE ECONOMY
We heard the Chancellor's much-heralded plans for a "green recovery" this
week, which fell well short of what's needed to tackle the accelerating
climate emergency, and barely merited being called green. While I welcome
the home insulation plan, it barely scratches the surface of what's needed.
The cut in VAT in the hospitality and tourism sector is good news for
Brighton and Hove's economy - indeed it's something I've been campaigning
for over a number a years - but it should be made permanent. My speech in
the debate on the Chancellor's statement is here. 
Earlier in the week, I presented the Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy
Bill to Parliament - the first attempt in the UK to legislate for a green
new deal. If the Chancellor's looking for a plan for a green recovery
worthy of the name, it's a good place to start.
THE LIFTING OF LOCKDOWN
The crowds on some of our most popular beaches during the warm weather were
a reminder of how vulnerable Brighton and Hove is to a potential local
outbreak of coronavirus. That could bring about the need to re-impose a
lockdown, as has happened in Leicester, with disastrous impacts for the
local economy which has already been so badly hit.
I wrote to the health and communities ministers about the particular
challenges facing cities like ours in maintaining social distancing when it
is so popular with visitors. We need to be able to protect public health,
and the city needs the resources to do that. I'm concerned that early
promises of Government support for local authorities have not been
delivered on, leaving many like Brighton and Hove City Council facing a
huge funding shortfall. My letters to the ministers is on my website here
BRIGHTON’S CULTURAL AND ARTS SECTOR
I was pleased to hear the Chancellor announce a £1.5 billion package for
the UK's arts and cultural sector which is still facing a huge crisis as a
result of the lockdown and social distancing measures. I spoke in
Parliament during the debate on the Finance Bill about the cliff-edge being
faced by many venues in Brighton and Hove when the furlough scheme ends,
and how many in the sector who work on a freelance basis have fallen
through the cracks of the Government's support scheme. You can read news
coverage about my speech here .
After the announcement of the funding package, I raised the plight of live
music venues in Brighton with the arts minister, urging her to ensure that
these venues get their fair share of the emergency funds. The minister told
me she'd been to many of Brighton's music venues herself, so I hope that
she will deliver on her assurances. You can see our exchange here .
I was glad to become a Co-Chair of a new All Party Parliamentary Group
which will work with those excluded from the Government's current financial
support mechanisms, like so many of the self-employed, to try to achieve
EAST SUSSEX FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE
I spoke with the Chief Fire Officer of East Sussex Fire and Rescue to
discuss concerns about the timing of the current consultation for the
integrated risk management plan (IRMP) and worries that it could lead to
reduced services. This was my letter  to Fire Authority members. We also
discussed other issues in the constituency related to fire safety, such as
building safety in Brighton and the Pankhurst Avenue fire.
It's since been confirmed by both ESFRS and the Fire Brigades Union that
the Fire Authority is rewriting a number of proposed changes to how the
service will operate in the future.
SEND MEETING WITH BHCC
I'm very concerned about the additional pressures that the Covid-19
lockdown has placed on children with special educational needs and
disabilities and their families. I had a video call with officers from
Brighton and Hove City Council to discuss the gap between respite care
available in the city, what is actually needed and - crucially - what it
would cost to close the gap.
Last month I tabled an Early Day Motion  calling for increased funding
for respite care, a living wage for carers rather than Carer's Allowance,
and for respite carers to be treated as skilled professionals.
I joined the heads of the City's Colleges and Sixth Forms for the annual
meeting with MPs. We talked about the impact of Covid on the sector and the
Association of College's 'REBUILD' plan which is calling for more
Government support to allow colleges to develop timely and effective
responses to any local outbreak of the virus, and to minimise long term
BRIGHTON STUDENT RETROFIT PROJECT: WHAT NEXT AFTER COVID-19
On Friday, I joined an exciting new group which is looking at retrofitting
student properties in Brighton. UK homes are some of the leakiest in
Europe, more than 10% of households live in fuel poverty and people are
having to choose between staying warm or putting food on the table. We
spoke about what a grassroots campaign on this could look like and how the
city's MPs and Brighton and Hove City Council can support this agenda. I'm
looking forward to working with this group over the coming months on this
BBC RADIO’S ANY QUESTIONS
I was one of the panellists on Radio 4's Any Questions on July 3rd - though
answering questions from my home, rather than in front of a live audience.
The questions from around the country covered the lifting of lockdown, the
changes to quarantine regulations, the prospects of a green recovery and
China's actions in Hong Kong. You can listen to the programme on the BBC
Sounds website .
Like thousands of you around the country, I joined in the applause for the
NHS on its 72nd birthday on July 5th, to say thank you for all those years
of caring, never more so than in the past few months. It was a thank you
too, to everyone who's come together to help us get through Covid, not just
key workers but every person who's volunteered to help those in need and
shown what society really means.
If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]
You can also keep up to date with my news on:
My Website: www.carolinelucas.com
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