Around 3.9 million people on waiting lists
1.8 million people wait four hours or more in A&E
One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see their GP
Help us #CarefortheNHS
Walthamstow Labour Party will be holding a campaigning workshop this Saturday 26th November in central Walthamstow at 12.30pm as part of Labour’s national day of action to safeguard the future of our NHS.
A powerful report by an independent think tank makes clear that our local healthcare services are in crisis - by 2020/21 they are forecasting a deficit of 398m just to maintain our current service levels. It also shows many staff in our NHS are on low incomes, the impact of PFI debt on our local hospital and the shortage of doctors working in our community as well as the demographic changes in East London. With patients already struggling to get appointments to see our local doctors, concerns growing over mental health services and a lack of transparency about decision making, urgent change is required.
On Saturday we will be joined by Cllr Ahsan Khan who leads on healthcare service planning for Waltham Forest Council, as well as members of local patient involvement groups. We will discuss how we can challenge this Government as they underfund and understaff our NHS, and how you can become involved in our local HealthyE17 campaign to ensure as the NHS changes to meet the 21st Century it puts patients, not profits, first.
To book your place on this free workshop please click here
This workshop is being organised by Walthamstow Labour Party. It will last no longer than 90 minutes and is open to all Walthamstow residents to join us – to help us plan for the logistics of this event please RSVP for full details including the venue and let us know if you plan to bring other residents.
The following is a speech given in parliament as part of a debate on social mobility on Tuesday 22nd November 2016:
The question that we are all trying to answer today is, “If you are talented, can you succeed in modern Britain? And why does it matter if you can’t?” We should be unashamedly selfish about social mobility. Living in a country where more people can achieve their potential means that they are more likely to do things which help us all, whether they invent new forms of energy or become doctors, entertainers or even MPs. When brains, not birth, form the basis of achievement, we all benefit. That is why it matters that social mobility is stuck in Britain. It is wasting the potential to change the world.
In my short contribution today, I want to take up the challenge posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford South (Judith Cummins), who spoke about the repetition in this debate, and offer the challenge that focusing on schools and education is not enough. We also have to address the divisions in access to finance and networks, which continue to hold back too many in our country. Bluntly, we have to address the fact that it is the bank of mum and dad—and all that it offers in terms of cash and connections—that increasingly makes a difference to social mobility in our modern world, and that we miss a trick if we do not think about those things.
We should make no mistake: education too often drives outcomes, and money and privilege have a big hand in that, as many Members have already set out. That is not just about academic talent; it is also about creative talent, and the same patterns are clear in acting and sport, although with the possible exception of music. Surely, however, our answer to young, bright children cannot be that we think they should go on “The X Factor”—we know they have the X factor.
Instead, we have to understand the barriers they face in this post-Brexit, low-growth world, where constant, disruptive technological change means they will hold seven different jobs in their lifetime—two of which have not yet been invented. If we do not address those barriers, too many children will not get those opportunities. It is in that environment that we need to understand how access to finance makes a difference. Housing has come to dominate not just catchment areas, but families’ options for subsidising their children, whether that is remortgaging and starting up a business or being able to help their children go to university.
This is also about understanding how, in today’s disruptive world, the bank of mum and dad can be the difference in terms of taking the leap between one career and the next. With half of all today’s students chasing careers that will be made obsolete by technology and automation, we cannot afford to ignore this challenge.
Where previous generations fought to ensure that their children could advance up the career ladder, the next generation will thrive only if it can access multiple livelihoods. Many ladders are being taken away just as they are being created. Our new elite will be those with not just the money to start again, but the contacts and the confidence to get their foot in many doors.
In the face of such uncertainty about traditional career paths, one great hope for us should be the entrepreneurship among our young adults. However, what do we have to offer those young entrepreneurs? Whether someone is educated at university or wants to start a new business or to go into further education, the bank of mum and dad offers not just money but contacts and networks, in a world where access to internships and unpaid experience all too often defines outcomes.
That is why it is time for us to think again. It is time to ask how we ensure that not just 50% but 100% of all 18-year-olds can take out a loan for the pathway they want to take. It is time to ask how we can make sure every child can access that educational work experience or internship opportunity, not just those with the parents who can get them in the door or who can pay for them do that work. It is time to ask why on earth the last Government got rid of the child trust fund and to bring it back in time to help the next generation of children to move forward.
Michael Young talked about a meritocracy. That is why grammar schools are such an outmoded way of thinking. The future will be about the many different doors we want children to be able to walk through and about making sure that the bank of mum and dad is open to every single young person, not just the few.
For the last three years in Walthamstow, the HealthyE17 campaign has been helping encourage local residents to join their Patient Involvement Group in their GP practice to ensure their voices are heard in decisions about healthcare in our community. We've made real progress and still have several practices where we are seeking to support involvement. If you are a patient at any of the below surgeries and would like to be part of helping patients be involved in local healthcare decisions please do email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bailey Practice (Shernhall Street)
- Brunner Road Medical Centre
- Claremont Medical Centre
- Ecclesbourne Practice
- Forest Surgery
- Grove Road Surgery
- Higham Hill Medical Centre
- Queens Road Medical Centre
- Sinnot Road Surgery
- Wood Street Health Centre
Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.
William Wordsworth, 1806
Walthamstow is full of great places to find gifts and treats - that's why in the run up to Christmas, Hannukah and Eid 2016 we want to tell the world about them! To help promote our Walthamstow traders and shops we plan to produce a map of where you can find fantastic gifts around our community that we will be distributing for for free as well as online from early December onwards.
Please complete this short survey!
This project is part of our We17 campaign to help support our local economy, following the impact of the Brexit vote, and is being created in partnership with the Wood Street Walls . There will also be a poster you can display to support this 'shop local' initiative too.
Please encourage anyone in Walthamstow who makes or sells gifts and treats to fill in this survey to help influence this project.
Please complete this short survey!
We will be in touch with those who have expressed interest in being part of this initiative to let them know the next steps - please note completing this survey does not commit any business to participation or guarantee a spot on this map and it will only cover the Walthamstow constituency area. The deadline for completion is Friday 11th November.
On Wednesday 2nd November 2016 Stella Creasy MP and Peter Kyle MP met with the French Ambassador to the UK to discuss the welfare of the children in Calais.
This week the Government have confirmed they accept our call to extend safeguarding to refugee children in Europe. This follows the principles of the “Dubs II” amendment and includes commitments to both those children covered by the Dublin regulations and Dubs children too.
However there is much to do to help children still stuck in France and elsewhere. And our ability to do this is at risk because of the vote to leave the European Union. This is because the Dublin regulations are part of European, not UK, legislation.
Please help ensure the Government explicitly includes cooperation to help refugees in their Brexit negotiations and commits to writing the Dublin regulations into UK law. You can write to the Prime Minister using this link and there is a suggested text below.
Please feel free to share this email with others who would like to support this request and encourage them to write too.
Thank you to all those who supported our call to safeguard child refugees and helped us to win this policy- together we can ensure refugees are treated with dignity and fairness by Britain.
Letter to send to the Prime Minister- Please click here to email her.
Dear Prime Minister,
Thank you for listening to our calls to extend Britain’s safeguarding procedures to child refugees in Europe. I know that this involved working with the French authorities as well as UK local Government and the Children's Commissioner.
Yet I am concerned that the success of this strategy may be at risk because it refers to the Dublin regulations which are part of European Union law. That is why I am asking you to ensure the management of requests for sanctuary from those fleeing persecution are part of our plans for Britain’s discussions about leaving the European Union. In particular, please commit to explicitly retaining Britain’s participation in the Dublin regulations as part of any Brexit negotiations.
I am proud that Britain has been part of this process and I hope we can continue to be proud to play our part in treating refugees with dignity and fairness. I look forward to your response.
Les Enfants du Calais: Please Write to The French Government to Help Get All the Children in Calais to Safety
Please help us get the children left in the Calais refugee camp to safety by sending the letter via the links below to urge the French Government to act.
All this week bulldozers and police have moved into the camp to evict the people there. It is chaos. Voluntary organisations are desperately trying to help the children eligible to come to Britain safely and legally - whether because they have family in the UK or they qualify under the Dubs amendment.
Yet they and the British officials now working with them have faced persistent difficulties ensuring the children are registered by the French and so in safe locations – resulting in many being put at risk or taken out of Calais to unknown destinations. Without action more could go missing and last night many slept rough in the dangerous remains of the camp.
Please join me writing to the French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve to ask him to work with us to safeguard them and show the British public supports these children. Below is a suggested text to use – in both French and English- and you can write to him online using this link. You can also contact him on twitter here.
Letter to send to the Minister for the French Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve - French and English translation.
Cher Monsieur Cazeneuve,
Je vous écris en tant que citoyenne Britannique afin de solliciter votre aide pour nous assurer que les mineurs réfugiés à Calais – qui sont les bienvenus dans notre pays – ne sont pas oubliés ou mis en danger.
Je voudrais vous faire savoir qu’un grand nombre d’entre nous ici en Angleterre sont désireux d’accueillir dans notre pays ces enfants actuellement à Calais. Nous savons que beaucoup d’entre eux ont soit de la famille ici en Angleterre, soit besoin d’une nouvelle maison car leurs pays sont détruits par les guerres et les conflits. Cependant, nous sommes très préoccupés par la situation actuelle de démantèlement du camp, ainsi que par le sort des enfants qui n’ont pas pu faire enregistrer leurs demandes d’asile.
En particulier certains qui, n’ayant pas pu être enregistrés auprès des autorités, dorment désormais à ciel ouvert dans les débris d’un camp en proie aux flammes ; ainsi que d’autres auxquels il a été demandé de monter dans des bus en direction de diverses villes françaises et par conséquent de partir loin des bénévoles et des organisations qui les ont aidés jusqu’à maintenant et craignent de perdre contact avec eux. Le gouvernement Britannique nous a annoncé qu’il ne pouvait pas aider ces mineurs sans votre permission ; or, nous savons que beaucoup sont anxieux et vulnérables, n’ayant aucune idée de ce que pourra être leur futur désormais.
Je vous invite donc à vous assurer que tous les enfants à Calais soient placés en sécurité dans la ville même de Calais, accompagnés de bénévoles et d’organisations britanniques. Ces organisations en effet peuvent aider à garantir que le gouvernement Britannique d’une part remplit l’engagement qu’il a pris d’aider ces mineurs à atteindre l’Angleterre, et d’autre part traite leurs demandes d’asile rapidement et efficacement. Je respecte pleinement le droit qu’a le gouvernement Français de gérer cette situation et j’espère que vous interviendrez pour vous assurer qu’aucun enfant ne sera oublié, seul, dans le froid, ou éloigné du réseau de soutien qui l’accompagne.
Merci beaucoup de l’attention que vous portez à cette requête, pour votre aide et pour ce que vous apportez à ces enfants.
In particular I understand some who have not been able to register with your authorities are now sleeping in the open in the remains of the camp which are on fire, and others have been asked to go onto buses to other parts of France and so away from the voluntary organisations who have been helping them who are concerned about losing contact with them. The British Government has told us that they cannot help these children without your permission, and we know many are frightened and vulnerable with no idea of what their future will be at present.
Her Government has known about these children since July 2016- please join us asking her to track down these children and protect all those remaining in the refugee camp who have the right to be in Britain as the French begin demolishing the camp.
I have written to the Prime Minister to offer her the details of these missing children to help identify them. Delays in acting to process the asylum claims by these children and help transfer them to the UK mean that they are still stuck in Calais. Fears are growing that efforts to fast track the processing of these children before the camp is demolished will be too late, so it is critical that we act to challenge this situation now.
Please help raise awareness of these missing children by sharing details of them on social media, and ask the Prime Minister to help find these children and safeguard the unaccompanied child refugees in Calais as the evictions begin. Time is running out - with your help we can ensure our Government fulfils the pledge made by the British parliament in the Dubs amendment.
Under UK law unaccompanied refugee children are entitled to come to the UK, either to be reunited with their families or to be taken into care by local authorities. However, despite their legal and humanitarian obligations the Government has not yet resettled a single child to the UK from France, Greece or Italy. That's why we are pressing the Government to take action now and tabling a Parliamentary amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill 2016, which would force the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the safeguarding of unaccompanied refugee children in Europe.
The makeshift Calais camp is home to more than 10,000 people. Among them are over 1,000 unaccompanied children who are forced to share tents with strangers because there are no facilities or resources to properly care for them. Between August and September 2016, there has been a 51% increase in children arriving at the camp, with eleven being identified every day. These children, like others in Europe, are fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries such as Eritrea, Afghanistan, and the Sudan. When French authorities evicted part of the Calais camp earlier in 2016, 129 children went missing. They are all at risk of human trafficking, violence and abuse and of falling into crime.
Some unaccompanied refugee children have the right to come to the UK under a rule known as the Dublin III regulation, because of their close family links here. Others are eligible to come under an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 put forward by Labour Peer, Alf Dubs, and agreed by Parliament in March 2016. This requires the government to arrange for the transfer to the UK and support of unaccompanied refugee children from Europe. As yet the government has yet to transfer a single child under this provision and has not set out how children can access this protection.
The French Government have now confirmed their intention to evict the Calais camp- including the Children's Centre- by the 31st October 2016. Reports from the camp speak of increasing unrest and violence in response to this deadline. The Home Office now has the paperwork for 387 children who volunteers believe have the right to be in the UK legally under either international law or the Dubs amendment but are in the camp in Calais. As yet no action for these children has been taken.
Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy is working with colleagues in Parliament, to secure a cross-party amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill 2016, which is going through Parliament this autumn. The amendment would force the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for safeguarding unaccompanied refugee children in Europe and how they can access the protection of the original Dubs amendment. This new law is being called the "Dubs II" amendment. The aim is to ensure that all unaccompanied refugee children in Calais, and elsewhere in Europe, are brought to the UK under the Dublin III regulation and Dubs amendment. Once in the UK they would be assessed by local authorities under their child safeguarding duties.
By supporting this amendment, MPs and Lords can help force the Government to do the right thing- you can find out more about how to help this campaign here.
The French Government have confirmed their intention to evict the Calais camp- including the Children's Centre- by the 31st October 2016. There is an urgent need to act to protect many vulnerable people including over 1000 children. Reports from the camp speak of increasing unrest and violence in response to this deadline. The Home Office now has the paperwork for 387 children who volunteers believe have the right to be in the UK legally but are in the camp in Calais. Yet still our Government refuses to act.
We are campaigning to change that and safeguard these children. Working across political parties we are proposing the Dub II law - an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill which will force the Government to act. Here are four actions you can take to help us make this law and help the children in the Calais camp today:
- Please consider making a donation to pay for mobile phone credit so we can keep in touch with them if they are evicted, and buy suitcases with wheels so they can try to keep any belongings they have. You can do so online here.
- Please ask your MP to support the Dubs II amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill. You can find a suggested text below to use and if you get a positive or negative response please let us know!
- Please contact members of the House of Lords online to ask them to support Dubs II amendment - you can find a list here
- Please share this email with family and friends around the country to ask them to join us acting to help child refugees.