Green Party mailing
Parliament is now in recess for the summer, but it was a busy last few
days. This is what I have been doing as your MP.
A FAIR DEAL FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED
I've been urging the Chancellor for months to close the gaps in the Covid
self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) which have left millions with
no financial support. Last week, I helped the campaign group ExcludedUK
take their campaign to the Treasury, where they presented a number of
petitions representing some of those excluded from support.
Among them are sole traders who pay themselves via dividends, PAYE
freelancers, people who changed jobs at the wrong moment so don't qualify
for the scheme, and those who've not been in business long enough.
I was delighted that we were joined by the founder of MoneySavingExpert,
Martin Lewis, as well MPs from across the House. It's deeply unjust that
people have been left with no support because of the way the rules have
been written, and it's been heart-breaking to hear how small businesses
which people have put their passion and love into, are now disintegrating
because of the Covid crisis. There was coverage of the campaign in the
MY OPPOSITION TO THE TRADE BILL
The critically important Trade Bill has passed through the Commons, with
none of the guarantees I sought to protect our cherished NHS, or ensure
environmental and social protections in any future trade deal. I had backed
an amendment to protect the NHS from being subject to any form of control
outside the UK in any future trade deal, drawing clear red lines in any
trade negotiations and spoke several times  in the debate. But the large
Conservative majority ensured that the amendment was defeated and the bill
went through exactly as the Government wanted. So Parliament - unlike MEPs
or the US Congress - will have very little say over future trade
negotiations or deals, whatever the impact on our NHS, or food and
The crucial function of Parliament is to scrutinise legislation and hold
ministers to account. I wrote about the worrying lack of scrutiny in my
column in Metro - you can read it here .
TALKING ABOUT RESET
As co-chair of the parliamentary group on a Green New Deal, I've been
working on an exciting initiative to develop policies for a fairer, greener
and more prosperous future, involving members of the public in creating
those policies. We have already begun the process of taking evidence from
expert witnesses including Nigel Topping, Hilary Cottam and Sir Michael
We also released initial results from a national survey which showed huge
support for a green recovery from Covid, and an overwhelming rejection of
the Government's climate-wrecking £27 billion roadbuilding programme.
Last week, I was joined by the parliamentary group's other co-chair, Labour
MP Clive Lewis, and Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse in a live Zoom event
'in front of' an audience of about 3,000. We talked about how to bring
about a green recovery, the importance of community involvement and the
role of cross-party co-operation to achieve this.
There's more information about Reset on the website [link removed]
RAISING ISSUES AROUND COVID
I continue to press ministers on the response to Covid-19. I questioned the
health secretary  in the Commons on Monday about data protection in the
test and trace system. There have been worrying reports about people's data
being shared on social media by contact tracers, which undermines public
confidence in the system and risks deterring people from volunteering their
own details and information about people they've had contact with. The
minister's response that he would not be held back by bureaucracy was not
reassuring. There needs to be public trust for this system to work
With reports of home testing being quietly dropped, and the huge sums paid
to some private companies for testing which have not delivered the promised
results, the case for a full independent public inquiry grows by the day.
One has been promised by the prime minister, but with no date set. If there
is a second wave of Covid this winter, as seems highly likely, we need to
learn lessons as soon as possible.
COVID AND HOMELESSNESS
I had a (virtual) meeting with the DWP minister, Will Quince, about better
protection for homeless young people and those leaving care. Earlier this
year, I'd written to the Chancellor about the anomalies and shortcomings in
the support for care leavers, and how young people under the age of 25 are
denied sufficient housing benefit to find a place to live. (You can read
that letter here ).
The Government agreed to make the necessary changes, but not for three
years. I urged the minister to bring this forward, especially in the light
of Covid which has driven a 50% increase in calls from young people facing
homelessness. There are huge welfare changes going on at the moment because
of the economic impact of Covid: this one mustn't get pushed to the back of
MEETING THE MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN
I had a meeting (online) with members of the Muslim Council of Britain
where we discussed the disproportionate impact of Covid on Muslim
communities and how institutional racism is exacerbating this. We talked
too about the need to continue tackling Islamophobia in all its forms.
RELATIONS WITH CHINA
The reports coming out of Xinjiang about Chinese treatment of the Uighurs
are deeply disturbing. The Government is taking steps against China in
response to the repressive new security law in Hong Kong, which I welcome.
But it needs to do more to send a clear signal about the persecution of the
Uighurs. In particular, I urged the foreign secretary to accelerate
sanctions against Chinese officials, and review the investment in Britain's
nuclear programme by the state-owned CGN. My intervention during Foreign
Office question time is here .
THE RUSSIAN REPORT
We finally saw the Intelligence and Security Committee's Russia Report
which the prime minister has sat on for the last nine months. It was
utterly damning of the nonchalance and complacency of successive prime
ministers in the face of interference by the Kremlin in the UK, which the
report said is "the new normal". It's not only our democratic processes
that are being undermined. The UK has become a sanctuary for Russian money,
regardless of where it came from or the influence it bought. When some of
it is flowing into Conservative party coffers, is it surprising that
Conservative prime ministers didn't want to investigate this issue too
OTHER ISSUES RAISED WITH MINISTERS
I continue to press ministers on a wide range of issues. In recent weeks,
I've asked about pay rises for staff across the NHS, and for care workers;
who will pay for deep cleaning of schools when they re-open; the financial
viability of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project; when legislation will be
introduced to require rail companies to offer part-time season tickets; the
use of public money via export finance credits to support a fossil fuel
project in Mozambique; the role of private companies in providing PPE or
test and trace operations, and whether they are delivering value for money;
and many more. You can find details of these questions, and ministers'
answers, on my website here .
PARLIAMENT IN RECESS
The parliamentary session has now ended for the summer - surely one of the
most unusual in its history with the mixture of remote and in-person
debates. I'll be continuing with my work on Reset over the next few weeks
and following up on constituency casework, as well as pushing government
ministers on the response to the on-going coronavirus crisis and on how we
ensure a green recovery.
If you are able to take a break this summer, I wish you a restful holiday.
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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